KJ’s Chicken Enchiladas

Well, it was another “work from home” day for me, the temp this morning was -13° F with the windchill at about -40.  Right now it’s a balmy 1° so I’ve got my bikini on and we’re making chicken enchiladas!  Jason keeps talking about going to get some coronas, he’s so crazy.  

This recipe for enchiladas goes wayyyy back, all the way to “The Woods of the Winding Creek.”  No, that’s not a soap opera (although it could have been), it’s actually where I grew up.  “The Woods” as we called it was pretty cool back then and obviously still is because it has its own facebook page, I’m not making this up.

Anyway, I can’t take full credit for this AMAZING enchilada recipe, it came from the recipe box of the one and only Mrs. Karen Johnson.  The Johnson’s lived down the hill from us in “The Woods”.  Karen’s daughter Mary and I were good friends, we were around the same age and I could walk to her house from my house…these are pretty much the only two prerequisites for forming a friendship when you’re 7.  My mom was really good friends with Karen too because every time I or one of my siblings did something totally weird or stupid, Karen was there to reassure my mom that we probably weren’t going to end up in prison someday…and she also saved my life one time so my mom liked that about her too.

I’ve tweeked the recipe over the years (I can’t help myself) but the truth is, there would be no enchiladas in my recipe box if it weren’t for KJ.  Let’s go over the ingredients shall we…

3 – poached chicken breasts
4 cups – chicken broth to poach the chicken in
8 oz. – shredded cheese
4 oz. – cream cheese or neufchatel (softened)
1 15 oz. can – enchilada sauce
1 – diced red pepper
2 – diced green onions (about a 1/2 cup)
1 tsp – cumin 
8 – Tortillas 

Start heating the chicken broth in a pot, while this is happening, dice up the red pepper and green onions.

Ok, I know what you’re all thinking…why is that green onion so big?!  But a few of you may also be wondering how I suddenly became so good at taking photos with my iphone.  Actually I remembered that even though I don’t have a good camera, my father does and even though I completely SUCK at taking photos, my nanny Ariel doesn’t suck at it in the slightest.  So while I was “working” and Ariel was dutifully watching my kids, we somehow also managed to do this (yes, we are wizards).

Now combine the diced pepper and green onion with 4 oz. of the shredded cheese and all of the cream cheese.  For the shredded cheese I use a reduced fat mexican blend or colby jack but you can use whatever you want and as much or as little as you want, cheese is a very personal decision and I respect that.  For the cream cheese I use neufchatel because it’s basically just reduced fat cream cheese.  This lower fat version of cream cheese originated in the city of Neufchatel, France…hence the name.  I know this fact because I’m a genius, and because I know how to use google.  Here is a close up of your ingredients in the bowl…

Add the cumin and stir everything together.  You should have put your chicken breasts in the boiling chicken broth by now, and it takes about 10-15 minutes to cook the chicken through.  Once it’s cooked, take the chicken out and start shreddin’ baby!  Shredding chicken is not my favorite thing to do but if you have good technique then it gets done a lot faster.  I use two forks, steadying the chicken breast with one fork and then using the other to scrape the meat away, like this…

Look at that action shot!  Kudos to Ariel on this one…
Now it’s time to add the shredded chicken to the bowl of ingredients, so go ahead and do that.  Next comes the enchilada sauce, I use this brand that I found at Whole Foods…

I may or may not have eaten this right out of the can on previous occasions.  You can use any brand you like obviously.  Pour half the can over the mixture and stir the bowl some more.

Now it’s time to roll em’ up, this part is so fun.  You need a 9X13 dish, put a small amount of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the dish…

Place a decent amount of the mixture down on the tortilla near one end…

Now roll up the tortilla and place it seam side down in the dish, eight enchiladas should fit quite nicely…

Now top the enchiladas with the remaining sauce and cheese and throw it in the oven at 350°F for about 30 minutes.
I don’t cover them when they bake because I like the top to get a little crispy, but it’s totally up to you…that’s called free will.  The finished product should look something like this…

I always eat my enchiladas with a side of shredded lettuce topped with sour cream because that’s just how I roll…yikes!

My days in “The Woods” are long gone but I will never forget Mrs. Johnson because I have this recipe…and because she saved my life that one time.

Oh, you want to hear it?  Okay fine, I will tell you really quick…I was riding my bike to Mary’s one day and like I said earlier, she lived at the bottom of the hill.  It was a beautiful summer day so naturally I was carrying an open umbrella while riding.  For some insane reason the umbrella turned inside out when I was en route so of course I was looking back at it in amazement wondering how on earth this could have happened.  Well, next thing I knew I was on the hood of a parked car and I wasn’t feeling so hot.  I pretty much made direct contact with the windshield, I tried to scream but turns out that’s REALLY hard to do when you’ve gotten the wind knocked out of you.  Well good ole’ KJ saw the whole thing and she came running to save me.  Now looking back, I still don’t understand why someone would park their car on the side of the street when there was a perfectly good driveway that they could have parked in and that I clearly remember was not occupied by any cars…some people just don’t pay attention and do stupid things, what can you do…

Okay, so maybe she didn’t literally save my life, but in that moment when I was hurt and scared and thought I was dying,  she came runnin’ and I will never forget the relief I felt when I saw her…so thanks Mrs. Johnson.
And you will all be thanking Mrs. Johnson if you make these enchiladas, they are freaking amazing.

The Good Cooker

Photo Credit: Ariel Slabach

6 thoughts on “KJ’s Chicken Enchiladas

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