Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Do you need a dish to feed a hungry crowd? Or to take to a potluck? Or to help out a family who could use a dinner, they didn't have to make themselves? This just might be what you're looking for.

Creamy chicken enchiladas is comfort food at it's best and will fill up hungry tummies. This recipe is from "Love, Welcome, Serve", a cookbook by Amy Hannon, and only one of many of her wonderful recipes that have made it into my recipe binder.

Because this makes a lot of enchiladas, I only make it when I have company or am taking food to a friend. Then I can save a few for us, and send the rest out the door. As much as I enjoy them, let's face it, creamy is code for indulgent and that means moderation. I haven't tried to freeze them, but that might be an option if you want to have a few for dinner and portion the rest in freezer containers.

So, let's get on with the goodness that is creamy chicken enchiladas. The first thing that you need to do is cook your chicken. The recipe calls for 3 boneless, skinless breasts, cooked gently in a saucepan of water for about 30 minutes. You want them to be fork tender. If you have any other cut of chicken, you can certainly use it as well. You just need some cooked, shredded, or chopped chicken. White or dark meat will work fine. You can even use chicken from a rotisserie bird that you've picked up in the grocery store.

While your chicken is cooking, you can get all of your other ingredients together. You will need a block of cream cheese, that you've cut into chunks. It doesn't have to be at room temperature, as you will add it to a skillet shortly.

Grate some cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack. If you like spicy enchiladas, you could use some Pepper Jack. These enchiladas are quite mild. I would encourage you to grate your own cheese, if you have the time. It will taste better than the bagged varieties, I promise, and it doesn't take long to do.

Dice some onion and put it into a large skillet with a little butter and vegetable oil. You will want to sauté it over medium heat until it is translucent.

Lower the heat a bit, and to the skillet, you will add 2 cans of chopped green chilis, and the cream cheese. Stir occasionally until the cream cheese is melted.

Stir in the chicken, a little salt and 2 t. cumin and gently stir. Next you will add the cheese you shredded, reserving some to sprinkle over the top of your enchiladas.

Now you have your filling ready to roll up some enchiladas. You will need at least 10, but probably 15 flour tortillas. I use the taco size, but you could use the larger ones, if you want. Spread each tortilla with the chicken-cheese mixture, roll them, and line them up in a baking dish, that you've sprayed with cooking spray. You can squeeze them in tightly, and if you have leftover filling, use your imagination as to how to use it. It's mighty tasty!

When you have your dish filled with your rolled tortillas, you will pour heavy cream over the top of all it, and then sprinkle with more cheese. See what I mean? Deliciously indulgent.

(This picture reveals that I need to take a scouring pad to my casserole dish. Oh well, keeping it real on this blog.)

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Turn up the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 10 more minutes to brown the top. You should let it stand for 10 minutes before diving in. Serve with shredded lettuce and tomato and a good salsa. Add a little chopped cilantro for color and taste, if that's your thing. Enjoy!

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 t. salt, plus more for seasoning

1 T. unsalted butter

1 t. vegetable oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 (4.5 oz.) cans chopped green chilis

1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese

2 t. ground cumin

3 T. juice from jarred jalapeños (optional)

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

10 - 15 flour tortillas

2 cups heavy cream

Place chicken breasts in a singer layer in a saucepan and pour enough water to just cover them. Season the water with several heavy pinches of salt. Bring the water just to a boil, then cover with a lid and reduce to a low simmer. Allow the chicken to simmer on low for about 30 minutes. When the chicken is done, it should shred easily with two forks. After shredding, set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking dish.

In a large skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the green chilis with their juice and sauté for a minute or two. Turn the heat down to medium-low; add the cream cheese and stir until melted. Stir in the shredded chicken.

Add the cumin, 1/2 t. salt and jalapeño juice (if using). Stir well. Add cheeses, reserving some for sprinkling on top. Stir well to combine.

Spread each tortilla with the chicken-cheese mixture, roll up, and line them up in the prepared baking dish. You will need to cram them in to fit them all. Pour the heavy cram over the enchiladas, sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Turn up the heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 10 minus or so, until bubbly and beginning to brown on top. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving with your favorite toppings.

* Recipe courtesy of Love, Welcome, Serve cookbook.

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