Easy Chicken Enchiladas

enchiladas made with flour tortillas

Ingredients:

2 cups, loosely packed leftover shredded beef or chicken (or 1 pound raw ground beef)
1 t olive oil if your meat is already cooked
1 (4 oz) can Hatch Green Chilis, drained – hot or mild
1/2 t chili powder
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t Mexican oregano
1/8 t ground black pepper
1 cup torn spinach, packed
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 large can (19 oz) Old El Paso red enchilada sauce, divided use, yes a canned sauce, see below
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided use (more if you love cheese)
8 corn tortillas, or use medium sized flour tortillas
16 sprays of Pam

Spoon Mage™ Note:

Why Old El Paso enchilada sauce? Because I have a Mexican friend that makes wonderful food and I asked for her secret. She said it was in the sauce, then she admitted that the sauce was Old El Paso enchilada sauce! If she’s tried all the options and says this is the best, then it is. If I haven’t yet, I’ll post homemade enchilada sauce and you can make that instead. But for now – #OldElPaso

If you choose to start with raw ground or shredded meat, cook it first with the onions, drain, and proceed to adding the chilis, seasonings, spinach, 1/2 cup sauce, and 1/4 – 1/2 cup of cheese or so – then roll.

Make this recipe vegetarian by using your favorite drained beans – pinto or black beans work very well. Slightly smash them so they hold together but still retain some texture.

A great hint for smaller households is to make the entire batch of meat, but only make four enchiladas in a 2 quart casserole dish. Save the rest to make easy peasy tacos on another day. You’ll only use about 2 cups of the Old El Paso when you make four enchiladas, so save the leftover sauce for whatever sort of Tex-Mex thing you like to make.

For the baking dish, choose 7×11 for four enchiladas or 11×13 for 8-10 enchiladas.

Yes, you can use flour tortillas. Flour tortillas are softer so you shouldn’t need to soften them like one does with corn. If they are a little old and not so flexible, place them on a plate and cover them with a paper towel that has been lightly sprinkled with water. Microwave for 20 seconds or until they are just warm.

Directions:

In a medium sized pot, heat the leftover cooked meat with 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the Hatch chilis, chili powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, and ground black pepper. Stir for 2 minutes.

Add the spinach, stir until it wilts.

Stir in about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce and a little cheese so it glumps to maintain some shape in the tortilla, but don’t cheese it up until it is stiff and dry.

Keep the mixture over very low heat while you warm the corn tortillas. Warming the tortillas is easy, fast, and necessary so that your enchiladas don’t tear when you roll them.

Set a skillet over medium low heat. Wait for the skillet to get very warm. Then, one at a time, spritz a tortilla with non-stick spray. Set the tortilla in the skillet and let it cook for about 20 seconds or until you see the texture change a bit,, the tortilla begins to bubble. This is a sign that the tortilla is softening. If you let it continue to cook, it will crisp – a great thing for tostadas but not for enchiladas.

Using a spatula, carefully flip the warming tortilla over and let the other side heat up for just a few more seconds, 10 should do nicely.

If your tortillas tear when flipped, raise the temperature a little bit, but not much. You may need to experiment with this the first time, but don’t worry – you will soon get good at it. Buy a pack of 10 just in case. As the tortillas finish in the pan, set them on plate between paper towels so they can cool for easy handling.

Lightly cover bottom of a baking dish or casserole with 2/3 cup Old El Paso enchilada sauce.

Lay the tortillas out on a work surface and divide the meat mixture in the middle of each. Depending upon your measurements, this could be anywhere from 2 tablespoons of meat to 1/4 cup. Don’t fuss it. If there’s extra save it or sprinkle it on top before adding the sauce.

Carefully roll each tortilla and lay it in your casserole. The corn tortillas are a bit sensitive to tearing, so if they do, just cover the flaws with more cheese and sauce!

Set the rolled enchiladas in the pan, seam side down, and cover them with the remaining Old El Paso. Spread sauce over every bit of the tortillas as uncovered tortillas will harden as they cook. Enchiladas need to be soft.

Now top with the sharp cheddar cheese – and do not skimp. If you have more than 8 oz and want to use it, please do. It’s tasty that way.

Bake at 350°F until the cheese melts and it’s all bubbly, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately with frijoles and a nice salad of avocado and lettuce.

 

 

 

 

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