Recipes, products and tasty morsels that move me.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Healthy Enchilada - it's not an oxymoron!

I love Mexican food. I mean. I really love Mexican food. I could eat it everyday of the week, and probably have at some point. I blame my Mom. She says she was always craving it when she was pregnant with me. So either I already favored tacos in the womb or my Mom's eating habits heavily influenced me. That's a story for another day, though. I actually plan trips home to my parent's house around whether or not I can hit Ellensburg during a time when my favorite taco truck is open.

For years I have tried to recreate enchiladas like you get at a standard Mexican restaurant. Mine never taste the same. For one thing, it's hard to find large corn tortillas. Another problem is that enchilada sauce available at the grocery store does not taste like the stuff you get at a restaurant. I've tried making my own sauce many times and it never turns out very well - until now.

I had a hankering for chicken enchilada's this week. But, I am also trying to eat healthier and cut down my calories. What's a girl to do? Well, turns out it's not that hard to make delicious and fairly nutritious enchiladas.

First, the sauce. I looked up a few different sauce recipes and decided to go with one from Emeril Lagasse. Now, say what you want about Emeril - I have made several of his recipes and they always turn out delicious. I don't like to watch his show but I trust his recipes to turn out. Here is the recipe I used:

I had almost all the ingredients for this sauce on hand. Of course, I tweaked it a bit. Instead of chicken broth I poached chicken tenders for my enchilada filling and used some of the water from that. I added two teaspoons of a sodium free chicken stock powder for flavoring. I also added some garlic powder and red pepper flakes to give it more of a kick. I only used 6 oz of tomato paste and found that to be plenty. Finally, I did thin it out with more water before pouring it on the enchiladas.

Now, for the filling. I usually use chunked up chicken breast that I've browned in a skillet with some oil. I saved the calories from the oil and just poached about 1 lb of chicken tenders in water. Then I just shredded the tenders with my fingers after they had been cooled off with cold water.

Finally, with some searching, I was able to find 8" diameter corn tortillas. I can't recommend highly enough that you search for these. They taste much more authentic, and are much better for you, than flour tortillas.

So, here's the final recipe. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. I ate the leftovers today and was in heaven!

Chicken Enchiladas

For the sauce:

Follow Emeril's recipe and add or alter:

2 cups water from poached chicken

1 teaspoon garlic powder or minced garlic

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons dry chicken stock

For the filling:

1 lb poached chicken tenders cooled and shredded

1 can black beans, drained

Additional Ingredients:

7 corn tortillas, 8" diameter

1.5 cups shredded cheese, I used a Mexi-Blend

Intsructions: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Poach Chicken, be sure to reserve 2 or more cups of the water when draining. While chicken cools make sauce (follow link above for recipe). Shred chicken. Wrap 7 corn tortillas in moist paper towels, microwave for 30 seconds then flip over and microwave 30 more seconds. What you're trying to achieve is getting the tortillas pliable enough so they don't split when you fill and roll them.

Set up a station with tortillas, chicken and black beans. Pour about 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 13x9 pan. Fill each tortilla with some chicken and black beans, careful not to overfill. Roll the tortilla and place them in your pan. You should be able to fit about 7 filled tortillas. When the pan is full pour the remaining sauce evenly over the enchiladas. Top with the cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Eat and enjoy!