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! 🙂


Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

So before I begin to talk about this recipe, I have to share with all of you that I finally got the fancy camera I’ve been longing for!  You have no idea how excited I am!  Now I can finally start taking some respectable pictures of my recipes…now I just need to figure out how to work the fancy camera.  🙂  A big thank you to Mom and Dad for helping to make my dreams come true with an early birthday gift!

Anyway, on to the topic at hand.  Everyone loves crock pot recipes…what’s not to love?  Nothing is better than throwing a few items into a crock pot in the morning before you go to work, and knowing that you will have an effort-free meal waiting for you when you get home.  Crock pot recipes also seem to be one of the most popular recipes on my blog, and since Pinterest is loaded with tons of great recipes, I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration for new crock pot recipes.

I found this recipe on Pinterest (have I mentioned lately how much I love Pinterest?  It has literally changed my life!), and changed it up just a bit because I like to use my own spices, rather than taco seasoning.  It turned out super tasty and made great leftovers too!

Wanna see the picture I took with my fancy new camera?  I’m obviously still learning the ins and outs of the camera as well as general photography techniques, but it’s a heck of a lot better than my point and shoot digital.  Wow!  What a difference it makes!

What do you think?? Not too bad huh?

Anyway, enough about the camera and onto the recipe.  The best thing about this one is that you probably have all of the ingredients in your kitchen right now!  Here’s the recipe for Crock Pot Chicken Tacos:

Inspired by the recipe Crock Pot Chicken Tacos by Chocolate Therapy

6 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

1 16 Oz jar of salsa, whatever kind you like

2 Tablespoons chili powder

1 Tablespoon cumin

1 Teaspoon garlic powder

1 Teaspoon onion powder

1/2 Teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 Teaspoon black pepper, plus extra for seasoning the chicken

Salt, to taste

Heat a large skillet  with one tablespoon of olive oil (about one turn of the pan)over medium-high heat until the pan is super hot and the oil is smoking.  While the skillet heats, season the chicken with salt and pepper.  When the pan is hot enough, add the chicken to the skillet and brown on both sides; this shouldn’t take more than 3 minutes per side.  You aren’t cooking the chicken through, just cooking enough to brown.  You don’t necessarily need to do this step if you’re short on time-you can just throw everything in the crock pot and be on your way, but I like to brown meat first when I’m making crock pot recipes; I find that the meat comes out more flavorful and tender (rather than mushy) when I brown it first.

Once the chicken is browned, place it in the crock pot and add the remaining ingredients.  Cook the chicken in the crock pot for 5-6 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high.  Once you’re ready to serve the chicken, remove it from the crock pot and shred it with two forks; the meat will be very tender so it won’t require much effort.

You can serve these tacos with just about anything, and they’re great with either corn or flour tortillas.  When I made them, I served them with lettuce, tomato, cheese, green onion, cilantro, and sour cream.  I also served these with Spicy Spanish Rice.

I’m off to take more photos now…I think I’m going to have to make every recipe on my blog again so I can take new photos.  🙂


Spicy Chicken Tortilla Roll Ups

Let me just start by saying, these things are A-MAZING!  One of the tastiest appetizers I’ve had since discovering Buffalo Chicken Dip!  I made this for two holiday gatherings this week, everyone loved them and they were gone in a flash!

Here’s a link to the original recipe I found on Pinterest: Spicy Chicken Tortilla Roll-Ups.  These were super easy to make and I pretty much followed the recipe exactly.  When I made it a second time, I decided to add corn (the picture of this recipe is from the first time I made them and doesn’t have corn).  I’m thinking about adding black beans to the recipe the next time I make it (black beans might be a great substitute for chicken if you’d like to make a meat-free version).  Pepper Jack cheese might also be a great addition as well…this is such a simple and versatile recipe that I think there’s tons of variations possible.  No matter what, it’s fantastic and I will be making this recipe again and again!!

Here’s the recipe for Spicy Chicken Tortilla Roll-Ups: 


1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes, drained

1 large container of softened cream cheese (13.5 oz size)-you could probably use light cream cheese if you’d like to lighten it up a bit; I don’t think you’d lose any flavor.

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 clove garlic, minced or grated

3 teaspoons chili powder, divided

2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Salt, to taste

1/4 cup chopped cilantro, about a small handful

6 scallions, white and green parts, chopped

About 3/4 cup canned corn, drained.  I used about 3/4 of the can of corn

6-8 large flour tortillas-I used spinach tortillas and jalapeno cheddar tortillas;  I think the jalapeno cheddar tasted best but having the different colored tortillas looked nice for presentation.  I would recommend using flavored tortillas if you can; I think plain tortillas would take away from the flavor and presentation.

Season the chicken breasts with salt, one teaspoon of cumin, and one teaspoon of chili powder.  Place the chicken in a skillet and add one cup of water.  Cover and cook on medium-high heat until cooked through; this took about 15-20 minutes.  Keep an eye on the chicken while it cooks; if the water cooksout of the pan you may need to add a little extra.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan.  Allow the meat to cool until it is cool enough to handle, and shred it with two forks.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, drained Ro-Tel tomatoes, cheese, 2 teaspoons of chili powder, one teaspoon of cumin, garlic salt, cayenne pepper, garlic, cilantro, onion and corn and combine until mixed well.  Add the chicken to the cheese mixture and stir to combine.

Spread the filling out evenly among the center of the tortillas.  Be sure to spread a thin layer and leave the edges clean. Roll the tortillas up tightly, but do not fold the ends of the tortilla as you would when preparing a burrito, just leave the ends free.   Using a sharp knife, slice the tortillas into one inch slices and transfer to a serving platter.  You won’t be able to use the ends of the tortilla, so the best part is that you’ll have to just eat them!

If you are making these ahead of time, you can refrigerate the filling until you are ready to prepare the roll ups.  I wouldn’t prepare the roll ups the night before as this could make the tortillas dry or soften.  I made the filling the night before, and the roll ups an hour or so before serving.


Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich

“Buffalo Style” seems to be a hot trend for recipes lately!  I’m finding a lot of recipes that make just about everything you can imagine Buffalo Style…casseroles, enchiladas, dip, sandwiches, you name it!  Which is okay with me because anything made Buffalo Style is sure to be a hit!!

I found the recipe for Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on Pinterest, and prepared it pretty much according to the recipe with just a few slight changes.  This sandwich turned out AWESOME!!   This is a great week-night recipe; it’s quick, easy to make, and oh so tasty!!

When I make Buffalo Chicken Dip, I use mozzarella cheese.  I think the next time I make this sandwich I’ll add mozzarella in addition to the cheddar cheese.

Here’s the recipe for Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwiches; this recipe made four large sandwiches.

Shredded chicken-I used 3 medium sized chicken breasts.

2 tablespoons Buffalo Wing Sauce-I like Texas Pete’s Buffalo Wing Sauce.  I use this instead of regular hot sauce because it’s a little thicker, but if you don’t have anything on hand regular hot sauce will work as well.

1/2 tablespoon blue cheese dressing

1/2 carrot, peeled and shredded

1/2 stalk of celery, finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion; I didn’t measure this out, but I used about a handful.

Approximately 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, room temperature.  I may have used a little more than 1/2 cup total; just be sure you have enough to sprinkle cheese evenly on each sandwich.

8 peices of bread-I used sourdough, but any kind of bread you like will work.

1-2 tablespoons of butter, room temperature.

Cook the chicken completely; I just poached the chicken in boiling water for about 10 minutes or until it was cooked through.  Once it’s cool enough to handle (but not cold, you’ll want the chicken to be warm for the sandwiches), shred the chicken with 2 forks.

Mix together the shredded chicken, buffalo wing sauce, blue cheese dressing, carrots, celery and onion.

Butter one side of each slice of bread.  Place the chicken mix on one slice of bread (the side without the butter) and sprinkle cheese evenly on top of the chicken mixture (you really can’t go wrong with cheese, so put as much as you like. 🙂 )   Top with another slice of bread (butter on top), and grill in a heated skillet for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the bread is grilled and toasty and the cheese has melted.


Chicken Enchiladas

Earlier this week I had a craving for Mexican food.   Oh man, did I ever satisfy my craving this weekend!  It’s Sunday night, and I just realized that I have eaten mexican food  every day since Thursday!!

Thursday night was the first night of Mexican Food Mania, and on the menu was a dish inspired by a recipe for Shredded Chicken Enchiladas  I found on A Sweet Pea Chef’s blog.  I like this recipe because it’s really easy to make, and not too terribly bad for ChefPickyKid and the family.   The only “not quite so healthy” item on the recipe is cheese, but what are enchiladas without cheese?! But, I use extra sharp cheese so I don’t have to use as much while still getting that cheesy flavor I’m looking for!

Just like the recipe that inspired it, I used pre-made enchilada sauce.  But, I added a few things to give it a little extra flavor.  And to be honest, if it tastes good, who cares if it came from a can, right?!  Plus, it takes about 1/3 the amount of time to make, and on a busy Thursday night, the quicker I can make dinner, the happier I will be.

Here’s what you’ll need for Chicken Enchiladas:

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped or minced

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 cups of canned enchilada sauce ( I buy the large can, but I don’t use it all because it’s a little more than 2 cups)

2 diced chipotles in adobo with sauce

1 cup sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided

1 cup jack cheese, divided

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped plus 2 extra tablespoons

4 Scallions, chopped

12 6 inch corn tortillas

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Directions for Chicken Enchiladas:

Pre-heat oven to 425

In a large, deep skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, and saute until onion is soft and translucent; this should take about 5-7 minutes.  Add the enchilada sauce and chipotles to the onion and garlic and heat to boiling.  Sprinkle the chicken with kosher salt and pepper, and place them into the sauce.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the sauce and set aside to cool.  Remove the sauce  from the heat and allow to cool.

Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it with two forks or just shred with your hands.  Transfer the chicken to a large bowl.  Add half the enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup of each of the Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses and the 1/2 cup of cilantro to the chicken and stir to combine.

Spray a 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat.  When skillet is heated, cook the tortillas just until warmed.  You aren’t frying the tortillas, and you don’t want them to be crispy. Warming the tortillas will make them more pliable and less likely to break when you’re handling them.   The olive oil is added just to keep the tortillas from sticking to the pan.  Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture in the middle of the tortilla, roll immediately after heating and place in the baking dish.  I had my husband help me with heating the tortillas, so we made it like an assembly line; he heated a tortilla and I rolled it.  If you don’t have a kitchen helper, I would suggest heating the tortilla and rolling it with the chicken before heating the next.  If you wait too long after heating them, the tortillas will become stiff and hard to handle.

After the tortillas are rolled and placed in the baking dish, pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas.  Top the enchiladas with the remaining 1/2 cup of jack and cheddar cheeses, and sprinkle the cilantro and scallions on top.  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is golden.

I sprinkled a little extra cilantro on top for garnish.

Stay tuned for more recipes from Mexican Food Mania weekend!!

Teriyaki Pulled Chicken

I love cooking with my crock pot.  It’s great for work nights; I can take a few minutes in the morning to put a dish in the crock pot, and when I come home in the evening, I have dinner ready and waiting for me!

Crock pots are also great for cooking for a large group.  I recently made pulled pork in the crock pot for a BBQ with friends.  The pulled pork was easy to make, and I didn’t have to spend time away from my guests while I was cooking.

I created this pulled chicken recipe to accompany the Asian Slaw recipe.  I think the flavors of the pulled chicken really complement the slaw. You’ll also notice that the sauce is similar to the sauce in the Teriyaki Chicken Wings.  I absolutely love this teriyaki sauce, because it’s not too sweet, not too spicy, but has great flavor and a hint of garlic.

My initial thought was to make this a recipe with pulled pork, but when I think teriyaki, I think chicken.  But I’m sure this would still taste great with pork. I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs because I like the mixture of light and dark meat in the pulled chicken, and using the skinless chicken makes it a little more figure friendly.  The meat will pull apart easily because it’s extremely tender, so you’ll definitely want to use boneless meat when making it in the crock pot, otherwise you may get bones mixed in with the meat. Trust me, the meat will still be tender with the boneless, skinless meat.

Here’s the recipe for Teriyaki Pulled Chicken:

3-4 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts and Thighs

1 Vidalia or Walla Walla Onion, Chopped

**I like to use these sweeter onions to give a milder flavor to the sauce, but you can use regular yellow onion if you’d prefer.

2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped

1 Cup Soy Sauce

1 Cup Sugar

1/3 Cup White Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Honey

1 Teaspoon (a small handful) Garlic Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper (for the teriyaki)

Salt and Pepper to Season the Chicken

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and onion and saute until onion is soft and translucent, about five minutes.  Remove onion and garlic from the skillet with a slotted spoon and transfer to a crock pot.

Place the skillet back on the stove over medium high heat.  You might need to add another tablespoon of olive oil if there isn’t much liquid left in the skillet.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and cook in the skillet until chicken is golden brown on both sides, about 8-10 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking on the skillet, prepare the teriyaki sauce in the crock pot.  To the sauteed onions and garlic, add the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, honey, garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.  Stir to combine in the crock pot.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and add to the crock pot.  Cook in the crock pot for at least 6 hours on low, or 4 hours on high.  Remove the chicken from the crock pot and transfer to a cutting board. Don’t throw away the teriyaki, you’ll add the meat back to the sauce.  Once the chicken has cooled enough to handle, shred it by pulling it apart with two forks, or you can even use your hands to shred it.

Once the meat is shredded, return it to the teriyaki and stir the meat in the sauce.

Serve the pulled chicken on good quality kaiser rolls or hamburger buns.  You can top the chicken with the Asian Slaw or even a classic cole slaw.  You can even have it without any toppings because it tastes so good!!