Friday, March 13, 2015

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Being raised in Southern California, I was raised on real Authentic Mexican cooking.  I don't mean Tex-Mex.  This is not fast food.  These Enchiladas take hours to cook, and they are made with the same loving care as an abuelita would make for the familia.  I mean real Baja California cooking just like they do in Rosarita and Tijuana.  I could tell you all day, but once you bite down, I think you would know just by the freshness of flavor and the texture and composure of the enchilada.  There is no short cutting this recipe.  If you're going to cook, plan on taking half your day preparing these.  It takes 2 hours of cooking time.

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

2 lbs of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 package of Corn Tortillas (I used gluten free for this.  I think regular corn tortillas hold together better.  Gluten free are a little flaky around the ends.  Gluten free would be better for making tortilla chips.)
1 block of Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 bag of Mozzarella Cheese
1 can of favorite Enchilada sauce
Sour cream
2 avocados
1 tomato
1 small can of diced  olives

 Set out a pan of water and put the stove top on HI.

Rinse the chicken.  Once the water is boiling, carefully drop the boneless skinless chicken breasts into the water.

Let the chicken breasts boil, and turn them often so that both sides are cooked all the way through.

Cut the chicken breasts open to see what color the middle is.  If the color is pink, and the chicken is raw, continue to cook.  When the center of the chicken breast is white, the chicken has been fully cooked and is ready to be removed from the heat.

Remove the chicken and set it in a deep dish.  Give it a few minutes to cool.  The next step is to shred the chicken.  You're going to want to wait until the chicken is cool so you don't burn your fingers pulling the chicken apart.

Here I am shredding the chicken.  Nicole was teasing me.  She was saying, "Rip, rip, rip..." I try to work as quickly as possible, and she was teasing me.  It takes a very long time to make enchiladas right.  I've got hungry kids to feed so I'm working away.  It starts with the bowl just a few shreds of chicken, and then by the time I'm done shredding, the bowl will be filled with shredded chicken.

Now, I'm moving onto the Sharp Cheddar Cheese.  I cut open the plastic cover, and pull it back.  I'm only going to use about 1/3 block of cheese.  Depending on how many enchiladas you are making, and how much cheese you prefer, that's how much cheese you need to grate.  I'm only going to use about 1/3 of this block of cheese for mine.

I have 1/3 of a block of cheese separated.  I get out my grater and prepare myself for more labor of grating the cheese.  It's always nice to have help in the kitchen.  If you have a helper, one of you can shred the chicken while the other one is grating the cheese.  It's a one woman show here, I take a little break from shredding, and then start grating.

Isn't that freshly grated cheese beautiful?  I warm up my pan again.  I'm just going to warm up the corn tortillas.  It's a little trick, if you warm up the corn tortillas, they fold easier.  Some people use the microwave to do this, but I think that's a mistake.  Never use the microwave to warm up corn tortillas.  You just set the corn tortillas on a pan over the stove top at MED LO and flip them over, they warm up just fine.  I use my hands to flip them.  It's really not too difficult, and it keeps the corn tortillas in reach for when you go to set them up and roll them.

Just to save time, I put at least two or three corn tortillas in the pan for warming.  I started rolling the enchiladas three at a time.  You can do whatever works for you.  This is what works for me.

Those three warmed up corn tortillas rolled into three enchiladas.  Usually with the standard corn tortilla it doesn't fall apart so easy as these gluten free corn tortillas.  I like gluten free because I like the idea of eating healthier, but I think that the regular corn tortillas roll better.  There have been some studies on gluten free that question the health benefits of eating gluten free.  I'm not sure what to think of it.  All I know is that when it rolls, it comes apart, and whatever bonds it is not quite as good as regular corn tortillas.  In my opinion, regular corn tortillas work best for this recipe.

I used my hands to pick up, turn, and move corn tortillas.  As soon as they feel warm enough, I start to roll them with the chicken shreds and the cheddar cheese.

Here I've placed the chicken into the corn tortilla.  I like to load mine up.  I put as much as the roll can handle.  If the chicken shreds fall out a little, I pack it back in.

Now I added the grated sharp cheddar cheese.  I cover the chicken almost completely with the cheese.  I push the cheese down to pack them into the enchilada.  When everything is pushed and packed down, I roll the enchilada.  The enchilada should be completely full.

I have a row of enchiladas rolled.  I also use the sides of the glass pan, and make sure that every single empty space is filled with an enchilada.  They should be packed neatly together.

I warm the oven up to 350 degrees right before I roll the last few enchiladas so there is just enough time for the oven to heat before I bake the enchiladas.

These are the enchiladas I have rolled.  I have completely filled the pan.  Now I need to pour enchilada sauce over the top.

I use a Medium red enchilada sauce.  I have tried Mild, but it's flavorless.  Medium has a good amount of flavor, and it's not too spicy.  Some kids have bad reactions to spicy, and in my level of spicy, this Medium is a Mild.  The kids prefer Medium so that's what I cook for them.

Once the enchilada sauce is poured over the top, in the oven they go for 30 minutes.  I do not put cheese on them at this point.  I add the Mozzarella cheese over the top the last 10 minutes of cook time.

The last 10 minutes of the cook time, I placed the Mozzarella cheese over the top.  The Mozzarella cheese melted and coated the enchiladas. This is the final result of our cheesy enchilada goodness.  

Nicole ate two enchiladas with no toppings, just plain.  She doesn't like veggies, and nothing else in particular.  I like a little bit of everything.  I decked mine out.  I like mine with a tiny bit of sour cream on top, and all of the fixings on the side.  I like raw foods.  I just leave it natural.  I sliced fresh avocado, and sliced some fresh tomato.  I put some sliced olives on the side.  I thought it would be too late to eat something this filling.  Let me tell you, it's never too late for cheesy enchiladas.  These were definitely worth the wait.

Try these sometime.  They are really delicious.  Though it takes a long time to make enchiladas, taste them, and you will see,  it will be well worth all of your hard work and effort.

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