These past few weeks have been an interesting journey in relying on family and friends and learning new ways of accomplishing the most common routines. With my writing hand in a big splint following surgery my activities as well as my writing have been limited. Luckily I have been blessed with an understanding family and generous friends. One of those friends (who made an earlier contribution on My Own Sweet Thyme with his recipe for Swedish Pancakes) even offered not only to bring my family a wonderful meal but to write a guest post about it too....
Hi. Just so there is no confusion out there, I am not Lisa. She has been indisposed recently and unable to blog or cook, so my wife and I have occasionally been filling in on the cooking front, and after my last effort I was invited to share the results with you too.
One of the things that I enjoy cooking are enchiladas. They are a filling dish, flavorful, and one that is easy to share with others; just the perfect recipe for a friend in need. As I thought about making them, I imagined that my wife's Crock Pot Chicken would make a wonderful starting point. Chicken that is cooked all day in an Italian salad dressing marinade is tender, and very tasty. My mouth waters just thinking about it. The rest of the ingredients I could cull from the pantry and a few other recipes. The result was well worth sharing. I hope you'll agree!
Part 1: The Chicken
1-1/2 lbs of frozen chicken breast (About 3 large pieces)
1 bottle Italian salad dressing
First thing in the morning put the chicken in the crock pot and pour the contents of the salad dressing over them. Turn the crock pot on "Medium" and go on about your day. (Hint: The chicken will be absolutely wonderful all by itself. You can shred it, or slice it; the texture will be perfect. It is so good you might find yourself wanting a sandwich out of it the next day. If there is room in the pot for an extra piece of chicken I would recommend tossing one in. You'll find something to do with it even if it is just nibbling on it as an appetizer while you put the rest of dinner together.)
Part 2: The Filling
When the aromas emanating from the crock pot fills the house, it is time to make the filing. Take the chicken out of the crock pot and set it aside on some paper towels to cool. While the chicken is cooling, collect the rest of the supplies needed for the filling.
1 small can of chopped olives
1 small can of chopped green chili peppers
1 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
3 small peppers, various colors
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 can of diced tomatoes
Chop and saute the onion in a frying pan. While it is cooking, dice the multi-colored peppers and toss those in the frying pan, too. Add the chopped olives. Finely chop the sun dried tomatoes and mix those in with the onion as well. When the mixture has been cooked the way you like it, transfer the onions, et al, to a large mixing bowl.
Now would be a good time to shred or chop the chicken up into bite-size bits. I prefer it chopped. (For the engineers in the crowd, a 'bite size bit' specs out as a cube 0.375 inches per side, +/- 0.015 inches.) Toss the chopped chicken into the mixing bowl as well.
Blend the chicken and sautéed ingredients. Add the diced tomatoes, and the green chili peppers. Add about 3/4 of the grated mozzarella (approximately 3 cups). Mix again.
The filling is now ready!
Part 3: Assembly
We are now ready to add the final ingredients and assemble into a delicious meal.
1 bag tortillas, corn or flour
1 can enchilada sauce (pick your heat; mild, medium or hot)
Preheat the oven to 350.
Back to the stove, sprinkle some oil in the frying pan and turn the heat on medium-low. Place a tortilla in the pan to warm. Open the can of enchilada sauce, and then lifting the tortilla in the pan, place another one underneath it. Splash a dash of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a baking dish (about 9" x 12" or thereabouts). Lift both tortillas and add a third underneath to warm. Prepare a dinner plate with another splash of enchilada sauce in the middle. Add a fourth tortilla to the pan to warm.
When you have a stack of four tortillas warming in the frying pan (you will have to add oil every now and then), take the top one off, add another on the bottom of the stack, and put the hot tortilla on the plate with the enchilada sauce on it. Now flip it over so that it is coated on both sides, and scoop out about 1/3 cup (well rounded!) of filling and place it on the tortilla. Roll the tortilla up like a big home made cigar and gently transfer it to the baking dish, seam side down. Repeat as needed until the baking dish is full of stuffed tortillas. Depending on how you make them, you'll get 8 or 9 to fit in the dish.
Ladle out the rest of the enchilada sauce over the stuffed tortillas and sprinkle the whole lot with the rest of the grated cheese (approximately 1 cup).
Part 4: Cooking
Put the baking dish in the oven and bake at 350F until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese nicely melted. 20 to 30 minutes should do it. If you like your enchiladas tender, cover the baking dish with foil for the first 10 to 15 minutes. Uncover for the remainder of the cooking time.
Part 5: Presentation
After the kitchen is mostly cleaned up, and before the enchiladas come out of the oven, take a handful of cilantro, and wash and chop it up for a garnish. Having some sour cream on hand also makes a nice topping. Serve with a salad, chips and salsa, or Spanish rice and beans if you like. Yum!
After you try these, you will understand why I called them "enchi-lottas." I'm pretty sure you won't want to eat just one. You'll want a-lotta!
Care for a bite?