When I used to crave a certain type of food, I would immediately google the restaurants in the area (or head directly to an old favorite). I still have fond memories of eating at Chi-Chis (yes, I am going to own up to that, even after the green onion debacle). A little part of my heart broke when it went out of business, because when it comes to Mexi-American food (I’ve gotta be real and admit that we Americanize all cuisines … just like they do to ours in foreign countries! Micky D’s in London, anyone? No thank you!), it was my favorite.
I’m gonna guess that you’ve picked up on my recent longing for Mexican.
So, the thing is, I love Mexican food. Even though I don’t love spicy food, I love the cheesy, carbohydrate-laden cuisine that wraps delicious amalgamations of ingredients (no need to be specific! just enjoy!) in a fluffy flour tortilla. Mmmmm.
When I was younger, I’m pretty sure I had fajita night for my birthday five years in a row (this followed my lasagna obsession and my roast chicken obsession ….fun fact: neither of which I have ever cooked).
My dad’s mom lived with us for most of my life, and she would ask every year what my brother and I wanted for our birthday dinners. One year, she made my father lobster tails with drawn butter ~ another year Delmonico steaks au poivre. My grandmother was an amazing cook. She made everything, and she made the most delicious, succulent, flavorful version of it you’d ever had. A lot of my interest in cooking now comes from the deep sense of missing her I feel on a daily basis.
But … this isn’t a sad post! It’s about my triumphant meander down Mexican Cuisine Lane. I masterfully suggested making enchiladas to new mama & papa J&J for WeHangsDay. And so this evening, I set to work and made a version of Rachael Ray’s Homemade Chicken Enchiladas.
It was a big hit. Both J&J had thirds. (And me, too!) Yes, thirds. That’s what comes after seconds. Hehe!
What you need:
6 Flour tortillas
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (on the large side if possible)
3 cups chicken bouillon
1 24oz jar of Tomato Sauce (I used a Tomato Basil flavor and it was yummers)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp chili powder (used separately in 1 tsp increments)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 bag (approx 2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
What to do:
1. In a medium skillet over high heat, bring bouillon to a bubble. Add chicken breasts, bring back to a bubble, cover and lower to medium heat. Allow chicken to poach (approximately 10 minutes). When cooked, remove chicken and allow to cool; preserve boullion.
2. While the chicken is poaching, combine the tomato sauce, 1 tsp chili powder, cinnamon and cayenne pepper in saucepan over medium heat. Bring to simmer and then reduce to low heat. Keep warm.
3. Shred cooled chicken with two forks or fingers. (I thought fingers would be easier, but what do I know? Turns out shredding semi-hot chicken is much easier when done wielding forks).
4. In a bowl, combine shredded chicken, 1 cup boullion, 1 tsp chili powder and tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Pour half of the enchilada sauce into a casserole dish. Lay out tortillas and evenly distribute chicken mixture. Roll carefully, and place in casserole dish. Pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce on top. Add all the cheese on the very top, and put in over under the broiler for 5-8 minutes, or until the level of cheesy melted-ness meets your approval.
Oy. I thought I would have some to take for lunch tomorrow, but nope. We practically licked the dish clean. The cinnamon adds a depth to the flavors, and is a great compliment to the cayenne pepper. Soooooo good. As the new dad said ~ “Gwyn, you can make this any time. ” Pause. “No. Seriously.”