Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mmmmmm White Chicken Enchiladas!

Hi all!

The first week of school went fantastically!  (Knocks on wood.)  Pezza likes her class and her teacher.  She even likes SCHOOL FOOD!?!?!  WTF????  Kid throws a fit about everything I serve her here at home and comes back with these glowing reports of cafeteria food - whatever.  It may wear off eventually.  I am not overly thrilled with her eating cafeteria food - not sure I am convinced of it's quality and nutritional value but.....I can't fight EVERY battle.  For now it means less work for me right?  I had an interesting experience at the us stop too.  I am Cuban - my dad was born and raised in Cuba.  My mom is Cajun so I guess really I am half Cuban to be exact. My dad was sent here right about when Castro took over - my grandparents finally made it out sometime after that and they lost everything.  The details are fuzzy as it was not something open for discussion with my dad.  Anyway, I have never met another Cuban other than family members.  We didn't live in Miami and I guess I haven't actively searched them out or anything. So I am hangin' at the bus stop one morning with my coffee - in my fave great big Cuba mug - and a couple comes up and asks me if I am Cuban.  Turns out they came here about 10 years ago so I thought that was really neat!  And their daughter is in 1st grade just like Pezza!

UNfortunately I WILL be spending my freedom tomorrow sitting in urgent care as I have been sick for a month and just can't kick it.  Now I have been running a fever all weekend SO I guess I am not going to get out of it.  I have some hideously bad allergies, especially this time of year.  Couple that with some scented garbage bags I bought on accident and tried to use anyway because I didn't want to waste the money and yea - I am hurtin'

BUT before I head up to the easy chair I have been sleeping in for weeks because I can't lay flat I wanted to throw up another cooking post with some time saving ideas.  Last week I told y'all how I do my seasoning veggie prep and chicken stock.  So let's do some cooking with it!

I made white chicken enchiladas.  NOW if you used a whole chicken in the stock like I did you can then turn around and de-bone it for the enchiladas OR you can grab a rotisserie chicken like I did OR just bake chicken for dinner one night and make extra, then the next night make enchiladas.

Here is my stack of ingredients - yes it looks like a lot BUT you will make three meals HOME MADE - so that's less work later, tastes better and it's better for you!  I have:

  • Chicken
  • Seasoning vegie mix
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Poblano pepper
  • Cubanelle Pepper (add in hotter peppers if your family likes it hotter!)
  • Spices - Cumin, Chili Powder, Paprika, Nutmeg (yes- nutmeg is fantastic when paired with chicken!)
  • Flour
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Cream Cheese (I use low fat)
  • Green Chilis
  • Corn
  • Cilantro
  • Tortillas (I prefer four but you can use corn if you like the traditional style)
  • Colby Jack Cheese
  • Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Green chili sauce/ green enchilada sauce  (some prefer red sauce)
  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Lime
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa mix (I will tell you how to do that and prep it ahead of time at the end)
 This actually goes together pretty easily since you have done the seasoning vegies all chopped!  Start by putting butter and olive oil in the bottom of a large pot and heating it on medium or so.  Now I should warn y'all I cook like I live - by the seat of my pants!  So that means I don't measure anything but I will try to give you a close estimate.  I would say 1 1/1 - 2 tbl each of butter and oil - enough to saute AND make a roux to thicken your sauce.  While that warms up chop up your peppers.  Once the oil is ready throw in two good handfuls of your frozen chopped seasoning vegie mix and your peppers.  Saute until onions are clear.  Then sprinkle in enough flour to cover the bottom of the pan (about 3-4 Tbl) and cook this mixture, stirring, until it has browned slightly.  Now slowly add the broth while stirring so your mixture thickens.  Shake on your seasonings - go light on the nutmeg and heaviest on the cumin.  If you are unsure if you have added enough of a certain seasoning taste it, add a bit ore and notice how the flavor changes.  This way you start getting a feel for how each one changes the flavor.  Heat for a few minutes and then add 3/4 of the block of cream cheese.  Stir occasionally on medium low until the cream cheese is melted. 

Now add the chicken, corn and green chilis and heat through.  Throw in the Cilantro last and cook a bit longer - 5-10 minutes.  I used half a bunch of cilantro - just leaves - chopped up.

You're ready for assembly!  See how quick that was?  Here is how I set up for assembly.  Tortillas, filling, two cheeses all nice and dhredded in my food processor I just treated myself too :), and a pan.  SHRED YOUR CHEESE YOURSELF.  It tastes SO much better!  Now pans - if you look in the pan section in Target or Walmart you will find foil pans with lids - these are AWESOME for preparing meals ahead!  you may need bigger ones if you are feeding more people - these will hold 5 enchiladas (they are a little over-stuffed in my house!)  lay out a tortilla, a spoon or two of filling, some cheese, roll it and stick it in the pan.  I make a pan for now, a pan for later and still have enough filling for a third round which I freeze too (because I get tired of rolling them up.)  You now have 3 meals - 1 for now, 1 super easy re-heat for later and 1 pretty quick slight-assembly-needed one for later. 

Once they are all in the pan you need sauce - I like green sauce.  I used to buy Old El Paso in a can but at Harris Teeter I discovered this one:

And after reading the ingredients and the nutritional facts I decided it looked MUCH better - and it tastes better too!  So look for it or get the can if you can't find it.  Either works.

Pour on the sauce and top it with more cheeses.  Now Pezza won't eat the sauce or the pepper jack cheese so I make hers with colby jack only and then I leave off the sauce.  Pop it in the oven on 350 - you are really only melting the cheese since the inside is warm.

While they cook make up some salsa.  This is another item I prep ahead.  The container on the right was pulled out of the freezer - I just chop up some tomatoes and throw them in.  So what goes in it?  Jalapeno peppers, green onions, red onions, salt, lime juice, cumin, chili powder and cilantro.

Boom - instant salsa! 


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