Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chicken & Spinach Enchiladas

Adam and I have been going back and forth for years about the presence of "red sauce" on enchiladas. I'm not a fan. He is. I'll let you take a guess which way they're typically made.

(Er, well, actually they're not really made all that often if I'm being honest here.)

I can't quite put a finger on why exactly I'm not a fan of the red sauce. Too tomato-y? To liquid-y? Maybe because my mom never made them that way? All of the above?

When my friends started raving about a delicious enchilada dish they had just made, of course, I wanted the recipe. Completely forgetting that enchiladas usually come with a red sauce. Oops. Well, time to make a convert out of me.

I was skeptical at first, but after smelling the sauce simmering away on the stove I knew it was going to be fantastic. The depth of the flavor of the sauce is far more than I typically associate with red sauce -- it's definitely bolder and richer. And the filling? Just the right amount of creaminess mixed with just the right amount of crunch from the corn. And that spinach? What spinach? You don't notice it at all.

Chicken and Spinach Enchilada
Adapted from: Cuisine at Home

Enchilada Sauce:
1 tablespoon canola oil
3/4 cup onion, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
6 ounces fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
2 (4 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, divided
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup (2 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

8 (6-inch) flour tortillas

Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 3/4 minced onion and 1 tablespoon minced garlic to the pan. Cook until onions are soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the next 8 ingredients (through cayenne) and cook for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Heat 2 tablespoon canola oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 3/4 cup diced onion, 1 tablespoon garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin to the pan. Cook until onion are soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the spinach, a handful at a time, stirring until wilted, about 1 minute. Add the chicken, 1 cup Monterey Jack, corn, and cream cheese, stirring until combined. Simmer the mixture 4-5 minutes, then add the salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Pour 1 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spread sauce across the dish so the bottom is entirely coated. Place about 1/3 cup of the filling on each tortilla. Roll each tortilla up then place in baking dish, seam side down. Pour the remaining 1 cup sauce over the enchiladas, leaving the edges dry. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the tortillas lightly brown on the edges.

Serves: 8

Now I'm not going to tell you that this is a quick meal to throw together at the last minute. Hard? No. Just a little time consuming to prep the ingredients and pull everything together. Worth it? Absolutely. Yes, even the red sauce.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 245g
Amount per serving
Calories 323Calories from fat 160
% Daily Value
Total Fat 17.8g27%
Saturated Fat 6.7g33%
Cholesterol 50mg17%
Sodium 692mg29%
Total Carbs 24.1g8%
Fiber 5.0g20%
Sugars 4.5g
Protein 19.6g
Vitamin A 73%Vitamin C 25%
Calcium 29%Iron 17%


  1. What a great enchilada dish, these sound amazing!! Love that you made it with chicken :)

  2. These enchiladas do look fabulous! I use spinach in red chile enchiladas all of the time. You can't really taste them, but knowing they are there helps you to think you're eating something healthy. Love the addition of chicken as well and your red chili sauce looks great! BTW - in NM one doesn't put tomato of any kind in the red chile sauce, so you might try a true New Mexican red chile sauce. You may like it. :)

  3. My husband is a big enchilada fan, red sauce and all. Actually, for him the more the better! I am not a fan of the bottled/canned versions, but for lack of a good recipe I always use those. I'm printing this recipe and posting in the pantry... I think it will be my new go to sauce!! Love it!

  4. Wow, that enchilada sauce recipe looks great! For some reason during the holidays it is a family tradition to have Mexican food a few days after our Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. We all need some spice to counterbalance the comfort food. This looks like just the ticket!

  5. I love that you made the enchilada sauce! I've wanted to try making my own for awhile now because, as you clearly know, the canned stuff is really lacking in taste and texture. Thank you for sharing this and I will be sure to try it next time I make enchiladas!

  6. I'm not a fan of the red either...and being from New Mexico, people always think I'm crazy. The hubby, on the other hand LOVES this might have to make an appearnce in our home :)

  7. Haha, we have that argument every time we have enchiladas. I love red sauce. My husband loves green sauce. Such a tough life!

  8. This looks really good. I love the look of this one. Enchiladas with or without red sauce are always a good thing.

  9. Im having a serious enchilada craving right now... We love spinach and have never thought to put it in our enchiladas - Ill have to change that!

  10. If we can convert you to red sauce that easily, we will get you eating seafood in no time.



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