Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

I originally found the inspiration for this recipe from a low-fat cookbook I bought many, many years ago…pre-Chefpickykid times.  I liked the essence of the original recipe, but it was pretty bland.  Not a whole lot of flavor, and it used fat free cheddar cheese.

Warning: I’m about to head off on a tangent-just want you to be prepared.

My apologies to fat free cheese lovers, but I’m not a big fan of fat free cheese. I know we’re all trying to cut back on calories and fat, but let’s be honest, fat free cheese just doesn’t have a lot of flavor, and when it melts it is similar to the consistency of cement.  I probably shouldn’t be so hard on fat free cheese.  Many people like it and I’m sure it has its uses; it’s just not for me.

Sorry,  I got a little off track.  I guess I’m just passionate when it comes to cheese. I’m good with many other fat-free alternatives to food (many of them are used in this recipe and take nothing away from the overall flavor),  but I’m of the opinion that if I’m gonna use cheese, I’m gonna do it right.  I’m a big believer in the term “all things in moderation”.  Besides, I’ve found that if I use sharper or more flavorful cheeses, I can use less cheese; essentially I get more bang for my buck.

Back to the recipe….since I was a little disappointed in the original recipe, I’ve been working on a tastier alternative to this recipe for many years.  I think I’ve come up with a pretty good one, and even though it doesn’t use fat free cheese, it’s still a relatively healthy recipe.  I’m still experimenting with ways to make it a little spicier (keep in mind I’m a big fan of super duper spicy food), but I like this recipe; it’s tasty and easy to make.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Small yellow onion, chopped

2 Cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped

1 16 Oz can green chile enchilada sauce

1 Cup shredded pepper jack cheese

1 Cup shredded cheddar

1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup (I use the 98% fat free for this one…I don’t have a passion for soup. 🙂 )

1 Cup of sour cream (I also use light sour cream for this one)

1 Can of diced green chilies (7 oz can)

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Flour tortillas-this recipe should make 10-12 enchiladas depending on how fat you stuff them.  You can also use corn tortillas if you prefer.  See my recipe for Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas for tips on using corn tortillas.

Pre-Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the oil is heated, add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion becomes translucent; about 5-7 minutes.  Add the enchilada sauce and bring to a boil.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the boiling sauce.  Cover the skillet and allow it to simmer until the chicken is cooked through-this should take about 20-25 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the creamy enchilada sauce.  Mix together the sour cream, cream of chicken and diced green chilies  Set the sauce aside for now.

When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the skillet and allow it to cool enough to handle.  Don’t throw away the sauce yet!  Once the chicken has cooled, shred it with two forks and place it in a large bowl.  Add the pepper jack cheese and half  the enchilada sauce and stir to combine.  Season with a little more salt and pepper, if you’d like.

Now it’s time to prepare the enchiladas! Spray a 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Place a tortilla on a plate and fill it with about 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture and roll up tightly.  I prefer to leave the ends open on my enchiladas, but you can also fold each end first, then roll up the tortilla to keep the ends closed. 

Place the enchiladas close together in the baking dish, and when they’re all packed in, top your enchiladas with the creamy green chili sauce you prepared.  Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top of the enchiladas, cover and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  I didn’t do it this time, but I also like to sprinkle a little chopped green onion or cilantro on top before I bake to add a little extra flavor and color.

By the way, these also make great leftovers! I even like to eat them cold the next day!  Confession- I love cold leftovers, so I’ll eat just about any leftover food cold! 🙂

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