Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas and Fresh Pico De Gallo Salsa

 

Chicken Enchiladas (half a tray) & Fresh Pico De Gallo
Chicken Enchiladas (half a tray) before being baked & Fresh Pico De Gallo

This recipe is one of my absolute favorites in terms of the time it takes to make the meal vs. the amount of food and flavor it yields. It’s totally worth the reasonable amount of time it takes to make this hearty, flavorful, and plentiful dish.

As is typical in my kitchen, my recipes come from one of two places: my mother, and The Pioneer Woman. In this particular case, I learned to make the enchilada sauce and prepare the enchiladas from The Pioneer Woman. The simple chicken recipe I learned from anxiously and haphazardly experimenting until I got it right (I cook meat like a person caring for a baby for the first time – doubtful and scared as hell). 

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 4.43.06 PM
Click the photo to see a Food Network video of The Pioneer Woman preparing enchilada sauce & folding the enchiladas

Ingredients & Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas

Yields: 8 Enchiladas
Serving Size: Usually 2 per person, so this is perfect for two meals. I love this recipe because you can easily increase the ingredients (and put in the same amount of time) & have more enchiladas.

Chicken

  • 1 lb chicken
  • 2 tablespoons garlic granules or 2 tablespoons bottled minced garlic (or 1 tablespoon of each)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 teaspoon cumin
  • Sprinkle of sea salt or salt (about 1/3 teaspoon flat)
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil (I used Canola)

Other Ingredients

  • 1 cup of rice
  • 8 tortillas
  • 1 cup (8oz) shredded cheese
  • 2 cans of red enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons of white flour
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil

Optional Ingredients

  • 1 small can of diced green chilis
  • More canola oil in a frying pan if you choose to lightly fry the tortillas.

Tools

  • Bowl for marinating chicken
  • Kitchen scissors or knife
  • Saucepan for enchilada sauce
  • Baking pan – I usually use a 9 x 9 inch square pan
  • Can opener
  • Plate or tray for folding/preparing enchiladas
Half of a tray of chicken enchiladas once baked.
Half of a tray of chicken enchiladas once baked.

Recipe

  1. Chicken
    – In a bowl, chop the chicken into 1 inch pieces, smaller if you want it to cook faster
    – Sprinkle the garlic granules (and/or minced garlic), cayenne pepper, black pepper, cumin, and sea salt onto the chicken and mix until evenly coated
    – Let it marinate for 20 minutes in the fridge. I have cooked it without marinating before when I was in a hurry and it was fine
    – Heat 4 tablespoons of canola oil in a large pan over medium heat
    – Pour in chicken and stir fry until cooked
  2. Rice
    – Prepare white rice on stove or in rice cooker
  3. Enchilada Sauce
    – Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a pot
    – Add flour and stir so that it becomes a paste
    – Pour in red enchilada sauce and vegetable broth
    – Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes or so
  4. Tortillas (Optional Step)
    – If you choose to, you can lightly fry the tortillas. It makes for a leaner meal if you choose not to. I found that there is no noticable difference in the flavor so I stopped frying the tortillas, mostly because I decided I didn’t want to go through the added step
  5. Preparing the Enchiladas
    – Pour enough enchilada sauce in the bottom of the baking pan
    – Lay out tortilla (one on a plate or you can lay them all out at once on a tray!)
    – Add 3 tablespoons of rice (or if you want to get technical, 1/8 of the prepared rice)
    – Add 4-5 pieces of chicken (or if you want to get technical, 1/8 of the prepared chicken)
    – Optional: Add in a teaspoon of diced green chilis
    – Roll and place in pan with fold downwards
    – Once all enchiladas are in the pan, pour enough enchilada sauce on top of the enchiladas until they are covered in sauce. It’s okay to have extra because some of the sauce will evaporate so its nice to have some to pour on top when serving
    – Sprinkle on cheese
    – Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and as brown as you prefer
  6. Enjoy!

Tips

  • I usually use frozen chicken (I buy fresh chicken once a month) and I leave it on the counter to thaw for a few hours before I want to start cooking
  • I never used kitchen scissors to cut chicken and consequently, never cooked chicken, until my friend introduced me to this simple gadget. I have found cooking to be a desirable activity since that day.
  • I like to throw the rice in a rice cooker before I start doing anything so the rice is ready by the time the chicken is cooked
  • For the enchilada sauce, I like to use a pot that is twice as big as 2 cans of sauce so once the sauce is boiling, it doesn’t splash everywhere
  • Immediately rinse your cooking dishes the second you’re done with them. I find myself enjoying cooking infinitely more since there’s no more cleanup afterwards.

Ingredients & Recipe: Fresh Pico De Gallo Salsa 

This makes a perfect tasty condiment for enchiladas, and a bonus snack if you have tortilla chips lying around.

Yields: 1 bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes (preferably vine-ripened but any works)
  • 2 cloves of garlic or 1 teaspoon of bottled minced garlic
  • 1 lemon or 3 tablespoons of bottled lemonjuice
  • 1 jalapeno (if you like spicy, otherwise, ditch it)
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized red onion or white onion
  • Cilantro (I have no idea how to give a measurement here… a handful?)
  • 1/3 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black papper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder

Recipe

There’s two ways to do this…

  1. Chop all of the ingredients as finely as you can, mix, and done; or
  2. Throw it all in a chopper (like a Ninja), blend, and done

Really depends on how much time you have. When I have the time, I prefer to chop everything as I like the texture, but sometimes, it’s like… who cares.

Tip

  • If you choose to chop the ingredients by hand, start with the tomatos first. Once the tomatoes are in a bowl, use a spoon to mash them a bit so that they are softer and release juice. I learned this tip from watching my friend who makes amazing salsa!

Hope these recipes serve you as well as they’ve served me!

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