In 2012 my husband was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was only 30 years old. But on the 15th of this month he will have completed 5 whole years of clear PET scans, which in the medical world means he is considered cured! So what does that have to do with spicy chicken enchiladas, you ask? When Dan was on chemo and I was caring for our 1 year old and newborn, I had little time and energy to cook. I am forever grateful to my church family and friends who set up meal trains for us to make sure we had a home cooked meal a few times a week. So when Dan’s coworker found out he had lung cancer, I put together 5 freezer meals that he and his wife could have on hand for the “hard days.” The enchiladas turned out to be his favorite in the stack. I thought I would share the recipe with you so you can make it for a friend in need:
Step 1: Make Homemade Taco Seasoning
The first thing you need is fresh taco seasoning. Taco seasoning is 10 times better if you make it at home with fresh spices. I hate the idea of those seasoning packets that are full of salt, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. Homemade Taco Seasoning is easy to make and you probably already have all the ingredients. Click here for my list of the 8 ingredients. If you don’t have all the spices, a packet of regular taco seasoning will suffice. For this recipe you only need about a tablespoon.
Step 2: Saute the Onions and Make the Sauce
Now chop up a medium yellow onion and saute it in a small pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add in a tablespoon of minced garlic. Stir them regularly until they are translucent and slightly browned on the edges. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
Meanwhile, pop open a can of chipotles in adobo sauce. This is where the heat comes into the spicy chicken enchiladas. If you prefer things more on the mild side, leave the chipotle out and just use plain red enchilada sauce. Just note, however, that the authentic Mexican flavor that makes these spicy chicken enchiladas so delicious comes from the chipotle. You can find this in the Latin American section of the grocery store.
Step 3: Mix Together the Chicken Filling
In a medium sized bowl, chop up 2 cups of chicken. I bought a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and shredded it. I used what chicken I had leftover to make 30 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup, another freezer friendly meal. Add the onion mixture and a tablespoon of the homemade taco seasoning to the chicken and mix it up.
Now put in 3/4 cup of the enchilada sauce and 1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Mix it thoroughly so that all the ingredients are evenly distributed in the spicy chicken enchiladas.
Step 4: Assemble the Spicy Chicken Enchiladas
Pour a 1/3 cup of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of an aluminum pan so that the enchiladas don’t stick.
Now spoon about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture onto 6 inch flour tortillas.
Roll them up and place them seam side down in the pan.
Pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top so that it covers the tortillas.
Sprinkle on another cup of shredded cheese. If you are going to cook these right away, bake them at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until they are bubbling. Top them with cilantro and sour cream and boy…you are going to have a house full of happy campers!
If you decide to freeze the spicy chicken enchiladas for later or you are giving them as a gift, use a sharpie to write the heating directions on the freezer lid or foil. When reheating from a frozen state, bake them covered at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Then uncover them and cook for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling.
If you like this recipe but would like to keep it on the healthier side, check out my Half Calorie Chicken Enchiladas. And if you happen to be compiling a bunch of freezer meals, you may want to try Freezer Friendly Spinach Manicotti, Potato Cheese Soup, and Budget Friendly Burrito Lasagna. These are my favorite freezer meals but I have a bunch more on my Recipe Index. Whatever you’re making in the kitchen, I hope it’s tasty! Happy cooking y’all!
Freezer Friendly Spicy Chicken Enchiladas
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- 1 Tbsp taco seasoning
- 1-3 chipotles in adobo sauce the more you use, the spicer
- 14 oz can red enchilada sauce
- 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 5-6 6 inch flour tortillas
- Optional toppings: sour cream cilantro, salsa, guacamole
- If baking right away, heat oven to 375 degrees. If freezing, prepare an aluminum or foil lined pan.
- Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
- Saute the diced onion and garlic until translucent and browned, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, pulse enchilada sauce and 1-3 chipotles in a food processor until pureed.
- Pour a small amount of sauce in the baking dish so the enchiladas don't stick.
- In a medium bowl, put in shredded chicken, taco seasoning, and 1 cup cheese.
- Mix well and add 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce.
- Place a little less than 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture onto each flour tortilla.
- Roll the tortilla up and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat for all tortillas.
- Pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top, pushing down in between the tortillas.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese on top.
- Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.
- If freezing, cover with foil.
- Reheat covered at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, then uncover and heat another 15 minutes.
- Spicy chicken enchiladas should be warmed through and bubbling.
- Serve with cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.