I'm excited about today's real-food recipe because it brings me back to one of my favorite dishes of my mommy's! She always made such yummy dinners, even while working full time, and we almost always ate together as a family. I know I'm blessed to have had such a great example, and guess what? My family is close and functioning, partially due to those family dinners, I am sure.
The yummy dish that was a favorite among the fam? Downtown Chicken Enchiladas. They aren't your traditional enchilada with the red sauce- it's actually a creamy chicken-based sauce, and quite unique and simple. My husband is always thrilled when I make this, but I rarely do because it is an absolute MESS to make! Dipping each tortilla in the cream sauce and layering cheese inside, rolling them up- my goodness! I feel like I'm at a pottery class! Especially when I need to be ready at a moments notice to referee my kids, or answer the phone, etc. I am sure my mom had some fancy technique that was neater than mine, but I came up with a great way to tidy up this process while still keeping the dish very similar, and tasting the same. Turn it into a lasagna!
Downtown Chicken Enchilada Lasagna
So, here is the list of ingredients:
*about 1.5 cups of either homemade cream of chicken soup, or the best store bought one you can find (regular soup has nasty msg and BPA in the can- not what I want to add to my real food dinners!)
*3 or 4, 8 inch tortillas of your choice. Homemade, soft corn, soft flour, sprouted
*1 lb. chicken (white or dark meat, and preferably free range/organic)
*8 oz. each of pepper jack and monteray jack cheese
*1 jar or can of black olives (I like Lindsay's Naturals when I can't find them in glass jars)
*1 Serrano or jalapeno pepper, broiled, skin removed and diced
*1 small onion chopped and sauteed
*Greek yogurt or sour cream
*butter for greasing your 8x8 dish
Grease an 8x8 casserole dish. boil chicken and shred with a fork or in your stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Pour the chicken and the cream of chicken soup into a bowl or pan. Place your hot pepper under the broiler and turn so each side is charred, about 3 minutes. meanwhile, Chop and saute 1 small onion in olive oil or butter until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Now, I am the queen of forgetting the onion. I probably forget it 90% of the time, and it still tastes great without it. So if this recipe seems like too many steps, meh- cut out the onion.
When the pepper is charred, remove from the broiler and let cool until you can handle it. Place it under running water and the skin will peel right off. Carefully remove the seeds (you may want to wear gloves if you're dealing with really hot peppers), and chop the pepper and black olives. Add the pepper and olives to the cream of chicken soup, and mix well. Grate your cheeses together onto a plate or bowl. Only use monteray jack if you don't like things spicy, or use ALL pepper jack if you love the little happy slap to the soul like I do. :)
Preheat your oven to 350. Place a small amount of the cream of chicken soup in the bottom of the greased dish like you would if you were making lasagna. Place one tortilla in the bottom, and add about 1/2 in. layer of the chicken mixture on top. Add a layer of cheese, and then place another tortilla on top. Repeat. You will probably have enough room for 3 layers if you use a regular casserole dish, but may have room for more if you use a deep covered baker or something similar. End with the chicken and cheese layer on top.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until your cheese is golden brown on the top. If you are making this in a deeper dish, you may want to bake it for about an hour. The chicken is cooked, so you really just want to heat it through and brown the cheese on top.
Serve in squares, and garnish with sour cream and salsa.
This may seem like a rich dish to you with all that cheese, but i'm telling you, this is the best comfort meal when you want something a little sassy! And, you can always use less cheese if you want to make it lighter. It seriously warms the soul and is always a family favorite! Serve with chips, guacamole....you know what you like! Make it fun!