Monday, October 11, 2010

Grilled Chicken Potato Enchiladas

Today was my mom's birthday (or I guess yesterday was, since it's now after midnight). As you all know, on your birthday, you get to choose any meal you like and the people who love you will cook it for you! She had never had the grilled chicken and potato enchiladas I like to make, so that's what we had for dinner tonight. 

I'm going to try doing something a little different with this post as well, which should make a lot of you happy. I'm going to attempt to write down a passable recipe that you can follow so that you can duplicate these yourselves. I'm not much of a recipe-follower-type person. In fact, I don't think I've ever really followed a recipe to the letter before. 

I own and collect cookbooks like any good foodie, but I usually just use recipes as jumping off points and wing it most of the way. I can't help it. I'm one of those creative sorts that doesn't know how to follow directions, but seems to manage pretty well anyway. I just eyeball everything and magically come out with the right amounts and more or less exactly the flavors I wanted. It's how I roll. If you follow this, let me know how it turns out so I can assess how I did at recipe writing.

  • 1 lb white meat chicken (we used tenderloins, but breasts would be fine, too)
  • 1 medium-sized sweet red onion
  • 2 medium-sized jalapeno peppers
  • 5 new potatoes (any color you want, but we used a mixture of red, white, and blue)
  • 6 fajita size flour tortillas (or you can use white corn if you prefer)
  • 1 20 oz can of mild Rosarita enchilada sauce
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (or whatever you normally use to season taco meat)
  • Garlic salt
  • A bottle of Frank's sweet chili hot sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Fresh cilantro
You'll also need a large baking dish that's at least a couple of inches deep and long enough to hold the six tortillas with filling side by side. If you don't have a dish that big, you can always split the recipe between two smaller square baking dishes.


- Pre-grilling the chicken for this dish over charcoal really makes a difference in how it tastes. We barbecue a lot, so we pre-cooked the chicken in advance along with the sliders we had the other night and set it aside for these enchiladas. Then we chopped it into 1/2-inch pieces like you see above. You don't need to get out a ruler and measure or anything. Just chop it so the pieces aren't too big, but don't make mincemeat out of it either. Then set it aside.

- Next, prep your veggies -- onion, jalapenos, and potatoes. Slice your onion, but dice your jalapenos. If you want mild enchildas, take the ribs and seeds out of the jalapenos before dicing. If you want more heat though, feel free to include them. (We left the ribs in one of the peppers but not the other.) Then dice up your potatoes, too. 

- Once you've got a pan with hot oil in it ready to go, go ahead and drop all your veggies in. Add half your taco seasoning, as well as a pinch or two or the garlic salt. Pour in the 1/3 cup of water. Then lower your heat to medium, cover, and allow mixture to simmer until the potatoes are tender. 

- Once your potatoes are tender and your veggies are cooked, add your chicken, the rest of your taco seasoning, and a few tablespoons of the sweet chili sauce. You can add more (or less) if you prefer. Cover it again and let it simmer until the chicken is heated through. You should preheat your oven to 400 now as well.

- When your filling is done, you can turn the heat off and let it cool down a bit if you want. I personally don't like to. I like to get everything going in the oven right away and am blessed with invincible Bobby Flay asbestos hands, so I just go ahead and start rolling tortillas immediately. 

Prep your baking dish by coating the bottom with a small amount of the enchilada sauce, just enough to coat it nicely. Then divide your filling among the six tortillas, roll them, and add them to the dish side by side. Pour the rest of your sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle Cheddar cheese over the top to your liking. If you're a cheese lover, you can include a little extra in each tortilla as you prepare them as well. (We did!)

- Bake until heated through (uncovered), sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted. Chop or tear cilantro and sprinkle over the top as garnish... like so. Then nom your little hearts out.

These really turned out wonderfully. They go great with refried beans, rice, or both. Actually, Seth and I both agreed these were pretty much the best enchiladas we'd ever made or eaten anywhere. My mom was also very pleased with these as her birthday dinner as well. Feel free to substitute your own favorites as far as ingredients, too. This is a very simple dish, so it's a good one to play around with even if you're not used to cooking.

And because this is a birthday post, I'm sure you'd like to see what kind of cake we got my mom. We didn't make this ourselves, but it is seriously one of our favorites. It's a chocolate peanut butter ice cream cake from Safeway and it's amazing. If you like ice cream cake and have any kind of access to a Safeway, you really need to try this sometime or else your life just can't be called complete. 
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