One of our family favorites for dinner is chicken enchiladas. I've been making a tried-and-true recipe for years, but decided to give this recipe I found on Mel's Kitchen Cafe a whirl. The reviews ranged from "best enchiladas you've made" to absolutely no leftovers. The filling is a hard to resist combo of chicken, cream cheese and black beans. Topped with Jack cheese and cilantro, this recipe includes several of my favorite ingredients.
I served this dish with a fun couscous dish that has a Mexican flair. Jake wasn't crazy about that, but what 15 year old boy loves couscous?
Cream Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas
adapted slightly from: Mel's Kitchen Cafe
3 cups cooked, chopped chicken* (about 3 breast halves)
1 (4 oz.) can of green chilies, lightly drained
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese**, cubed
1 can white or black beans, rinsed and drained or small white beans
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can (7 ounce) green chili enchilada sauce
½ cup sour cream**
8-10 ounces (about 2-3 cups) Monterey jack cheese, shredded
8 medium (soft taco size) flour tortillas
chopped fresh cilantro, tomatoes, olives for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and green chiles. Mix well. Add the chicken and black beans. Mix to combine. Set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk. As you whisk and the mixture cooks, the flour will get less lumpy around the onions and the mixture will become smooth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is bubbling and has thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the enchilada sauce and sour cream.
Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the dish. Fill each tortilla with about ½ cup of the chicken/cream cheese filling. Top with a small handful of shredded cheese, a couple tablespoonfuls for each enchilada. Save at least 1/2 cup cheese for the top of the enchiladas. Roll the tortillas up and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Continue filling enchiladas until the dish is full (I can easily fit 8 enchiladas in one pan).
Pour the sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the enchiladas are bubbling, hot and lightly browned. Just before serving, top with fresh chopped cilantro, tomatoes, olives, etc.
-*You may cook chicken as you usually do for recipes that call for cooked chicken, here is my method: Place 4-6 boneless, skinless, trimmed chicken breast halves into the crock pot for about 4 hours on low. Add about 1/4 cup water, an undrained 4 oz can of chopped green chilies, garlic salt , pepper and a half of a chopped onion. Or if I'm in a hurry, I season the chicken and dump some prepared green chili salsa over the top (about 1 cup). If you are using frozen chicken, use the same method, and cook for about 5-6 hours on low. Every crock pot is different, mine cooks at a higher temperature than most, so I adjust the time on the lower side. I have also used this method cooking in the oven at about 275 for 4 hours. When the chicken is done, shred with fork and add to recipe. I add a little of the juice as well. If you don't use the whole amount of chicken you have cooked, place in Ziplock bags, label and freeze for later use.
-**On the second go around, I tried this dish using low fat sour cream and low fat cream cheese. The taste result was notably different. The texture of the dish did not change much. I would recommend using both regular sour cream and cream cheese in this dish.
-Great make ahead dish- Make the filling and sauce the day before or assemble up to two days in advance. Cover dish with foil that has been sprayed with non stick spray on the side facing the enchiladas. Refrigerate. When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator. Bake for about 30 minutes at 375 covered, then remove foil and cook for additional 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbly.