Growing up I never liked Mexican food. Yet, for some reason every Sunday after church my parents would drag the whole family to Ninfa’s, a local Mexican food restaurant. I’d throw my fit, roll my eyes and pout, but it made no difference to them. The rest of the family liked Mexican food and soon enough I would have to give in. Secretly, I did give in, but being the stubborn child that I was, I did not let them in on this tidbit of information. I gradually moved from ordering queso to ordering the queso puff. Then to soft chicken tacos, then to tacos with queso on them, and finally I began to like enchiladas. Enchiladas day was a momentous occasion. It was the official transition from halfway Mexican food to full-fledged Mexicano. No longer could I deny my preference of Mexican food. My barely tolerance had hatched and become a desire, nay, a love for the foreign food.
So why am I sharing this? Because since my conversion, I have on a couple of occasions transferred my kitchen into a cocina and produced a Mexican dish or two. My favorite? Chicken enchiladas. Or should I say, enchiladas de pollo.
Surprisingly, enchiladas can be very simple to make and are a great dish for a party or dinner if you are having guests over. They are cheap and take no time to cook, (about 10 minutes to prepare, then about 30 minutes of waiting while they cook in the oven). I always distract myself with a good book or a painting project while I wait, as patience is not one of my strong suits.
Also, you can take the basic recipe and make alterations to suit your taste. Instead of using the traditional corn tortillas, you can try flour, or even wheat. If you don’t want chicken, use cheese, beef, or another filler. Switch up the toppings in the recipe, add vegetables, try different types of cheese, whatever fits your budget and gets your creative juices flowing.
For this dish, you will need:
• 2 C cooked & shredded chicken
• ½ C sour cream
• ½ C cream cheese, softened
• ½ C green salsa
• ½ C fresh chopped jalapenos
• 1 C Monterey Jack shredded cheese
• 1 ½ C white queso dip
• 6 flour (or corn) tortillas
• 2 T fresh chopped cilantro
• ½ C shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat your oven to 375° F and prepare a glass dish (8x8) by spraying it with cooking spray or lightly coating it in olive oil. In a large bowl, blend together cream cheese, sour cream and green salsa. Then, fold in chicken, jalapenos and Monterey Jack cheese. Spread a thin layer of white queso dip on the bottom of the glass dish. Divide the filling in the large bowl into the 6 tortillas, rolling them up and placing them into the glass dish as you go. Pour the remaining white queso dip evenly over the top. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly over the top of the dish, then sprinkle the cilantro over it. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and cook for 25 minutes. Uncover and cook for 5 minutes longer or until all cheese is melted.
Let it cool for about 10 minutes before you dive in and devour this delicious dish!