Chicken Enchiladas are a perfect way to use some left over roasted chicken that is hanging out in your fridge. It is also a great addition to any dinner table on Cinco de Mayo. Everyone in my family speaks Spanish, so we love May 5. I am making a lot of wonderful dishes to get ready.
The truth is I could eat Mexican food every day of the week. I love the combination of red sauce or green sauce with chicken, pork, steak or shrimp. Anything with melted cheese on it calls my name. This is a quick and easy dish if you already have cooked chicken. If you don’t, there are lots of quick and easy ways to get it. Is is too early to be thinking about Cinco de Mayo? I don’t think so!
How to Make Chicken Enchiladas
1. You need some cooked and shredded chicken. One of my favorite quick ways to get cooked and shredded chicken is to purchase it at Costco. They have chicken vacuumed packed in the deli section next to the meat counter.
Did you know Costco loses money on their roasted chickens? They continue to keep the price low because it draws so many people into Costco. Have you noticed it is at the very back of the store? You have to pass a million different items to get there. Have you gone into Costco just to buy a roasted chicken and then picked up more items on the way? Brilliant marketing if you ask me.
So many ways to get cooked, shredded chicken.
2. You can put frozen chicken breasts in your crockpot in the morning and cook them all day on low. No water, just chicken breasts. Of course, you can season it with salt and pepper which I suggest doing. Salt tenderizes chicken no matter how you cook it.
3. Boiling chicken in water is another way. Put chicken breasts in a sauce pan and pour water into the pan until there is about one inch in the bottom. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt over the chicken. I know it sounds like a lot, but it really makes the chicken tender and moist. You will also pour a lot of the salt out because you will drain the water before shredding.
Put a lid on the saucepan and bring the water to a boil. The lid creates a mini Instapot. Once the water is boiling, and the lid is on, cook the chicken for 20-30 minutes. When the chicken is done, shred it with two forks or use your hand mixer.
Place the chicken in a deep bowl and put the beaters in the mixer and then push them into the chicken. Turn the mixer on and before you know it you have shredded chicken.
Onions make everything taste better.
4. Chop the onion into small pieces. I love using my food processor to cut my onions. It takes two seconds and I don’t cry when I do it. If you don’t have a food processor, chop the top and bottom of the onion off. Then slice the onion in half and place the flat side down on the cutting board. Curl your fingers as you slice the onion into thin slices. Turn the onions a quarter turn and cut across the thin slices. Now you have finely chopped pieces.
5. Place the butter in a fry pan and bring to medium heat. Place the chopped onions in the pan and stir occasionally. You know they are done when they turn translucent. They lose their white color and become more clear looking. Set this aside.
6. Place the cooked chicken in another fry pan and add the water and taco seasoning. Bring this to a boil and then turn the heat down. Simmer the chicken for 15 minutes. If you have purchased taco seasoning in a packet, you will need two. If you buy taco seasoning in large container, like I do, use six tablespoons. Stir occasionally and add more water if the water starts to evaporate before the 15 minutes is up.
7. Add the onions to this chicken and turn the heat off. Now you are ready to assemble your enchiladas.
8. Grate some cheddar cheese. Or if you want to be really adventurous, try a combination of different cheeses. Maybe pepper jack, or Monterey jack. My husband loves habeñero jack cheese.
Line up everything to create an assembly station.
9. Get everything ready to assemble the enchiladas. Spray a 13 x 9 cooking dish with vegetable spray. Preheat the oven to 350°. Pour 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the 13 x 9 pan and then pour the rest of the red enchilada sauce into a bowl that has a wide top. You will be dipping the enchiladas in this.
10. Dip a corn tortilla in the enchilada sauce. Place it on a cutting board and then fill it with about two tablespoons of the chicken and onion mixture. Then sprinkle on one or two tablespoons of cheese. Using your fingers roll the corn tortilla until everything is inside and then place it seam side down in the 13 x 9 pan.
11. Continue to roll all the corn tortillas until the pan is full. You might have to be creative as you fill the pan. I always seem to have a two inch strip at the end. I fill and roll two more corn tortillas and squish them into the last space.
12. Pour the rest of the red enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas and then cover with cheese. Place in the 350° oven and cook for 30- 40 minutes until everything is hot and bubbling.
13. When done, take out of the oven and garnish with chopped cilantro or sour cream.
- 3 Cups Chicken cooked, shredded
- 2 pkg. Taco Seasoning or 6 Tablespoons from a larger container
- 1 1/2 Cups Water
- 1 Onion chopped
- 2 Tbsp. Butter
- 2 28 oz. Cans Red Enchilada Sauce
- 3-4 Cups Cheddar Cheese grated
- 14-16 Corn Tortillas
- 2 Tbsp. Cilantro chopped
- Chop onion into small pieces.
- Place butter in a fry pan and cook the onion.
- Place shredded chicken in a large sauce pan and pour taco seasoning over the top.
- Pour water over chicken and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat to a simmer and cook chicken, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
- Add the onions to chicken.
- Get your assembly station ready.
- a. 13 x 9 sprayed with vegetable spray.
- b. Pour 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce in 13 x 9.
- c. Bowl with red enchilada sauce for dipping.
- d. Bowl of cheddar cheese.
- e. Bowl of chicken and onions.
- f. Stack of Corn Tortillas
- Dip a tortilla in the enchilada sauce.
- Fill with 2 tablespoons of chicken and onions.
- Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of cheese on top of the chicken.
- Roll tortilla and place seam side down in the pan.
- Repeat with each corn tortilla until all the chicken has been used or 13 x 9 pan is full.
- Pour the left over red enchilada sauce over everything.
- Sprinkle cheese on top. Grate more cheese if wanted.
- Cook in 350° oven until everything is hot and bubbly about 30-40 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro.