A couple weekends ago my in-laws decided to come to Charlotte to get our whole family together. Todd has an older brother who is married, a younger brother who is in college in Charlotte, and a younger sister in high school. Most of us live here, besides his parents and his sister. All of our schedules are pretty different, so it is quite a feat to get us all in one place at the same time!
This is all of us last Easter.
The youngest in his family is his sister, Abbie. Her birthday is February 29th (leap year baby!), so we wanted to celebrate the first weekend in March. She LOVES Mexican food, so when Todd’s mom told us they were coming to town, I knew I should make that for dinner!
I love cooking Mexican food, and enjoy making it more upscale, from scratch (mostly), healthy, and also just adding variety. For this meal, I knew that most of it needed to be made ahead, so tacos wouldn’t be the best option. I decided to go with enchiladas 2 ways. This post will show the first recipe: Chicken and Spinach!
These can be prepped and made ahead, then cooked right before serving. The filling could be done the day before. They can be filled and rolled and kept in the refrigerator for several hours before heating for a meal.
After that long introduction, here is the recipe:
Chicken & Spinach Enchiladas
- 3 boneless chicken breasts
- Chili Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 c. baby spinach
- 1 lime, juiced
- Enchilada Sauce (I used 1 bottle of Trader Joe’s, but you could use another brand or make your own)
- 2 c. cheese, shredded (I used some cheddar, colby, monterrey jack – any type you prefer works!)
- 10 flour tortillas (medium size)
- Nonstick cooking spray
Season the chicken breasts with the dry spices and herbs listed above (no exact amount). Let the chicken breasts sit, seasoned, at room temperature for a few minutes. Heat an oven safe nonstick pan, and add the butter and olive oil. Add the chicken breasts, and cook until they are evenly browned on both sides. At this point, if they are not yet cooked through, finish cooking in a 350 degree oven.*
Once the chicken has cooked and cooled, slice or shred into small pieces and set aside.
Chop the spinach and the cilantro into fine pieces and put into a mixing bowl with the chicken. Add a few Tbsp of the enchilada sauce, the lime juice, another teaspoon of cumin, and 1/2 c. of shredded cheese. Toss all of this together. This is the enchilada filling.
Broil (or grill) the tortillas until just browned.
Spray the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish.** Spread a few tablespoons of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan.
Fill each tortilla with some of the filling, roll up tightly, and lay, seam side down, in the casserole dish. The enchiladas can seem squished in the pan – that is okay. Once the pan is full, pour more enchilada sauce on top until mostly covered. Sprinkle the top with the rest of the cheese. (At this point they can be refrigerated for several hours if needed).
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is somewhat bubbly.
As shown above, I served them with black beans, brown rice cooked with diced tomatoes and spices, and lettuce, tomato, avocado, salsa, and sour cream for topping.
*You can easily boil chicken and shred it, or use a store-bought rotisserie chicken to make it simpler.
**My 9×13 casserole dish was already in use for the other type of enchiladas, so I used two square pans (they’re 8×8 I think).