Easy Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

Easy Chicken Enchiladas are the best make-ahead meal for a busy week! | themillennialmenu.com

These Easy Chicken Enchiladas have become my go-to Sunday meal prep recipe. There's nothing like a full batch of enchiladas ready to go when I get home from work on Monday - 20 minutes in the oven and boom. Dinner is served. I ate these for a week straight the first time I made them. The smoky chipotle chicken and bean filling is blanketed in cheese and homemade enchilada sauce that bubbles as you take them out of the oven. So much yes.

For some reason enchiladas seemed like a dish reserved for ordering out at a restaurant. They're actually super easy to make at home, and very easy to put your own twist on (try making them vegetarian by adding more beans!). Turns out, the secret to good enchiladas is the sauce. I knew you could buy enchilada sauce at the store, but making it at home takes less than 10 minutes. Plus, you probably (at least, you should) have everything you need to make it already in your pantry. 

The recipe is written for about 8-9 enchiladas - but it's perfect for leftovers, bringing for lunch, or sharing with friends. I also freeze them for later. If you're freezing, stop at Step 8 (before pouring on the enchilada sauce and baking) and freeze your enchiladas before you bake them. Store the enchilada sauce on the side in the freezer (a plastic baggie works fine). When you're ready to eat, defrost the enchiladas & sauce and resume with Step 9. They'll taste like you made them fresh that day. 



Easy Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

Makes 8 servings*
Other Millennial Menu Recipes With These Ingredients: Chicken: Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken// Shredded cheese: Easy BBQ chicken Pizza // Cilantro:  Shortcut Shakshuka or Crispy Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce // Sour cream: Freezer Friendly Mexican Stuffed Peppers
Prep Time:  25 minutes
Cook Time:  20 minutes
Total Time:  45 minutes

*Note: I make a big batch of this recipe and freeze the rest (see instructions for freezing above). You can take some for lunch for the week or share with friends, too! Otherwise, just halve the recipe.

Ingredients:

For the enchiladas:

  • 1 package tortillas
  • 3 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 bag shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, to taste Optional
  • Cilantro Optional
  • Sour cream Optional

For the homemade enchilada sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons oil (such as canola or olive)
  • 3 tablespoons flour (any type works)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground chili powder, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Olive or canola oil, for sautéing




Dietary Substitutions:
Dairy Free: Leave out the cheese or choose a dairy free option.
Vegetarian Friendly: Add extra black beans or quinoa instead of the chicken and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth in the enchilada sauce.
Gluten Free Friendly: Use gluten free tortillas or corn tortillas without gluten AND make sure to use a gluten free flour in the enchilada sauce, if you're making yours from scratch.

Directions:

MAKE THE SAUCE

1. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl (2-3 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon oregano, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt)
2. Add 3 tablespoons oil to a saucepan on medium heat.
3. Once the oil is heated, whisk in the dry ingredients.
4. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
5. Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste and stir.
6. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, whisking to remove any lumps.
7. Simmer the mixture on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes, then reduce heat to a low simmer for 5-7 minutes, whisking occasionally. 
8. The sauce is done when it has thickened slightly. Set aside.

MAKE THE ENCHILADAS

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
3. Dice 1 small yellow onion and add to the pan. Stir.
4. Dice 3 chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Add to the sauté pan with the onions and stir.
5. Dice 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and add to the pan, stirring to distribute evenly.
6. Cook over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through.
 

ASSEMBLE THE ENCHILADAS
7. Lay out your tortilla flat. Add a dash of enchilada sauce, a scoop of the chicken mixture, a scoop of black beans, and a handful of cheese. Roll the enchilada up tightly, and place it seam side down in a baking dish (I use a 9 x 13 pan, so the enchiladas fit together nicely and don't fall apart).
8. Repeat for the remaining ingredients, filling as many tortillas as you have filling for. I usually get about 8-9 enchiladas out of my medium tortillas. 
9. Pour approximately 1 cup enchilada sauce over the top of the tortillas, and more if you'd like.
10. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°F.
11. Take out the pan and sprinkle shredded cheese and cilantro over the top.
12. Bake for another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
13. Serve with a side of sour cream and extra enchilada sauce, if desired.

Yum.


Lunch Tomorrow, Storing, & Extra Ingredients

LUNCH TOMORROW - Like I said, I could eat these all week, so this recipe might just be the perfect lunchbox treat for you at work this week. Keep the sour cream on the side, heat up in the microwave, and enjoy. 

STORING - Store in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy within 3-5 days.

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - If you have extra Mexican cheese, please just let yourself indulge in a plate of late night nachos. Or, use the cheese to whip up a quick quesadilla with any leftover tortillas. Store any extra chipotle peppers in the freezer, 1 per baggie, for use in future recipes. Cilantro is delicious on top of Shortcut Shakshuka or Crispy Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce, and I can't eat my Freezer Friendly Mexican Stuffed Peppers without sour cream. If you can buy a larger pack of chicken breasts on sale (buying in bulk is cheaper!), freeze the rest or try out my Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken. As for all of the spices, keep those on hand for future dishes. It's important to have a well-stocked spice cabinet!