Seriously. This is why my posts have dropped in quantity. I truly think all of us cook like this, so it feels awkward to post this but here goes nothing. Maybe someone hasn’t made an enchilada before? Maybe you are stuck in a rut (like I usually am…lol) making the same-old-same-old meals day in and day out? Okay. Well then, for you, I post this.
Usually our enchiladas are chicken + whatever veggies are in the fridge/freezer (typically some squash/zucchini and some frozen corn). Seems strange to me to say that we have zucchini on hand (it’s definitely not my fave veg) but for a while, it was the main “green” veggie that the girls would eat in order to “Eat The Rainbow” everyday. Somehow, they’ve moved away from zucchini as their green and are much more content to eat edamame. (Whatever works.) Last night, I had them thinking that the fresh peas from the CSA were “just like edamame only you can eat the pod too” (insert parental “oohs” and “ahhs” in order to make story more “exciting”). But they busted me. However, they did both consume at least two tablespoons of peas sans the pods which I ate (I LOVE the fresh ones from the CSA).
Into these enchiladas, I tossed the veggies that they DO eat and that make up the rainbow: carrots, corn, roasted red pepper strips, green zucchini (had to slide in something green) and some chicken. Zoe kept telling me that she want broccoli in hers, but I realized that she was just trying to appease me and would only take a smidgen of food if that is what really ended up on her plate. Thus the zucchini was stealthy added before they realized the evil plan.
All of the veggies were stir-fried/sautéed (whichever works for you) until crisp-tender and seasoned nicely with salt/pepper and a little chili powder. The chicken was actually from a grocer rotisserie (yes, I checked, it is gluten free. Thankfully, knowledgeable staff helped out!). Hey – short cuts are highly encouraged with little feet and hands “helping” in the kitchen and demonstrating new dance moves when things are busiest.
So here is what I did to throw this inexpensive dinner together. It served the four of us for dinner and lunch the next day. I made one 8′ by 12″ pan with the fixings I used. The measurements below are estimates for some (like seasoning and frozen corn) as I do most of my cooking by taste and appearance when it is something like this. Baking… well… I usually measure unless I’m making a riff on something like pancakes that I’ve made a million times for the girls this summer.
Rainbow Enchiladas – gluten free
2 cooked chicken breasts, roughly chopped (bite-sized if you have little ones)
2 small zucchini, sliced into 1/4″ rounds and quartered
3 small carrots, sliced into 1/4″ rounds and quartered
1 cup frozen corn
1 small can (5 ounces?) diced mild green chiles
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper, if desired
salt/pepper to taste
cumin (2+ teaspoons) and red chile powder (2 teaspoons +) to taste
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small sweet onion, minced
2 cups of shredded melting cheese (Monterrey jack or queso quesadilla) for the topping
**optional: 2 cups of shredded melting cheese (Monterrey jack or queso quesadilla) added to the filling
16 corn tortillas (be sure these are gluten free)
2 cups enchilada sauce, gluten free (see note and a recipe below)
- Roast the red and green peppers under the broiler in order while you cut/prep your other veggies. It’s easy to roast your own. Split the bell peppers in half and seed them. Lay them open side down on a parchment or tin foiled lined sheet (with a lip, the juices might run while they roast). Keep your eye on them. Once the skins blacken, remove from the oven and place into a paper lunch sack (and on plate or something to prevent dripping, etc). Set aside until cool. Once cool, you can easily peel the blackened skin off and then slice/chop the roasted peppered into your desired size.
- While roasting the peppers, prep other veggies. Quarter and slice zucchini and carrots. Mince garlic and onion. In a frying pan large enough to hold your veg, add a teaspoon of olive oil. When hot, add carrots and onions. Sautee for 2-4 minutes until *just* beginning to become a bit tender. Add garlic, zucchini and corn. Sautee an additional 3-4 minutes until everything is crisp-tender. Remove from the heat.
- Mix together veggies, chopped roasted pepper, green chiles (cheese, if using) and chicken. Season generously with cumin, chile powder, salt and pepper. Taste. Adjust seasonings. If it is bland now, it will be super bland later.
- Warm your enchilada sauce. Working in batches, warm your corn tortillas (half at a time) in the microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel for 20-25 seconds. You just want them to be pliable so they won’t break. Drizzle the bottom of your baking pan with a 1/2 cup of the warm enchilada sauce. Spread it around. This will help prevent your enchiladas from sticking to the pan.
- If baking right away, preheat your oven now to 350F. If freezing (almost typed freaking… nice), feel free to obviously skip this step.
- Dip an individual tortilla into the enchilada sauce, flip it over and then lay it on a cutting board or clean prep surface (yes, it’s messy). Place 1/3 cup (or so) onto the tortilla. Roll it up. Lay it into your prepared pan at one end. Continue this way, tucking each enchilada next to the previously created fabulous enchilada in your pan. You will need to pack them tightly.
- Once you are done, pour the remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Brush it over to cover them to prevent the tortillas from getting dried out/burned and all around yucky. Top with shredded melting cheese. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese if melted and golden. (Cheese coloring will changed depending on which cheese you have chosen. Please cook to your desired doneness as you would watch your pizza cheese.)
- Serve with avocado slices, sour cream, diced jalapeño (for the heat lovers in your house), shredded lettuce, pickled carrots/radishes, Mexican rice, beans, etc.
A NOTE ABOUT ENCHILADA SAUCE:
Gluten free enchilada sauce is easy to find. I like Frontera and Victoria – the green sauces are my favorites. Read the ingredients, obviously, but I bet you will find one that you like as well. If you want, there is a red sauce enchilada recipe from Rick Bayless that is ah-mazingly good. This recipe for green enchilada sauce looks quite similar to what I make too. However, that is so just-for-the-weekends-in-the-summer for me now. (It involves an easy step of rehydrating dried Mexican chiles (red sauce) or roasting the tomatillos (green sauce), etc – easy… but not for me at the moment.
I regularly use the recipe below to make a red enchilada sauce when I want them in a pinch and don’t have the convenience of a canned sauce on hand.
Whatever-you-got Red Enchilada Sauce
3 teaspoons of minced garlic (yes, we love garlic)
1/4 cup minced sweet onion
2 Tablespoons + chile powder (we like to vary this and use ancho or pasilla or whatever we have on hand)
1 12 (or so) ounce can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes (sometimes with green chiles, but never the Ro-tel stuff)
1 cup gluten free chicken broth
2 Tablespoons GF flour mix (OR sweet rice flour)
2 teaspoons cumin
salt and pepper to taste
jalapeño, optional (if you want to add some more heat)
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan. Saute onions until translucent (or even slightly browned/caramelized if you like that add flavor/smokiness). Add the chile powder, cumin, garlic and gluten free flour. Sautee until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add tomatoes and chicken broth. Simmer over medium for 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Blend with an immersion blender (what we have from 1988, tyvm) or be brave (AND CAREFUL!) and transfer/blend it in batches in your blender. It need not be perfectly smooth sauce. It’s up to you.
Happy GF Eats, everyone