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  • Writer's pictureNicole Kuhn

Red Chili Enchiladas

Do you ever just stare into your fridge, gazing at all of the ingredients and leftovers, and decide that it's time to play Chopped? I do. Today's dish was the product of leftover shredded chicken and some corn tortillas that were nearing their expiration date. With a little help from a few other ingredients, these leftovers came together to form some pretty heckin' good enchiladas.

I stuffed a few of the enchiladas with the leftover chicken that I had, and once I ran out, I stuffed the rest with cheese- both were great. I'm sure no matter what you use to stuff these, whether it be some leftover beef, peppers, corn, or potatoes, they will be just as good. Don't be afraid to experiment!




PREP: 15 min. COOK: 35 min. YIELD: 4 servings



For the enchiladas:

  • Extra virgin olive oil, corn oil, or peanut oil

  • 12 corn tortillas

  • 3 cups homemade enchilada sauce

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped

  • 2 cups grated cheese (about 1/3 pound, I used a mixture of extra sharp cheddar and Colby & Monterrey Jack)

For the homemade enchilada sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 5 tablespoons chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne

  • 1/2 cup tomato paste

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • corn starch slurry (1 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp. water)


for the enchilada sauce:

  • Heat the oil in a sauce pan on medium high heat.

  • Stir in the chili powder and cayenne. Let cook only for about 30 seconds (you don't want the chili to burn). Next, add the water and tomato paste. Whisk until smooth.

  • Then, add the garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and cornstarch slurry. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.

  • Taste the sauce. You might need/want to adjust the spice level of the sauce, as you want it on the spicier side, considering that the tortillas and chicken will absorb a lot of the heat. I recommend adding extra chili powder and cayenne to increase the spice level and keep the sauce balanced.

for the enchiladas:

  • Mix about 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce with your chicken. Set aside.

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small sauce pan to coat the pan.

  • Place a tortilla in the skillet and heat for a few seconds, until the tortilla begin to show some air bubbles. Keep adding them wherever there seems to be some excess oil. The idea is to heat and soften them using only the minimum amount of oil.When you find you need more oil in the pan, add it.

  • As the tortillas become soft and heated, remove them and place on a paper towel to soak up excess oil.

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  • One by one, dip a tortilla in the enchilada sauce and place in a 9x13 Pyrex baking dish.

  • Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of chopped chicken in each tortilla and sprinkle with a little cheese.

  • Roll up the tortilla and place the rolled side down in the baking dish to prevent opening.

  • Repeat until all dozen of your tortillas are neatly placed in rows in the casserole dish.

  • Pour the remaining sauce over the tops of the enchiladas and sprinkle remaining cheese over them.

  • Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese becomes nice and bubbly.

  • Serve with your favorite sides and topped with your favorite garnishes. Enjoy!

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