Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kid Friendly Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

We received a pan of these simple chicken and cheese enchiladas after the birth of my youngest from a MOPS friend.  She said that they were very "plain" but it was a dish her kids liked.  She brought me a jar of salsa along with the pan of enchiladas and said her husband would add the salsa at the table because he liked a little extra kick.

Since then, I have adapted the recipe she shared slightly to suit our tastes, and I have taken this same meal to numerous families in need over the years.  It transports well and tastes great leftover, too.  I like this dish because it is very kid friendly, it can be made ahead, and I often can find the simple ingredients on sale.  The kids like that there is nothing they have to pick out before they start eating, and the eaters who enjoy a little spice and texture can add as much spice and texture as they want at the table.  I'm often asked for this recipe, so I'm happy to share it today.

I put together a pan of these Kid Friendly Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas in less than 10 minutes.  I had chicken already cooked in my freezer.  Having pre-cooked chicken makes dishes like this one come together in a snap.  I like to cook my chicken in the crock pot when I find a good deal at the store (less than $5 for a whole chicken or $0.99/lb for dark meat or $1.99 for white meat).  After the chicken is cooked and slightly cooled, I chop it up and package it in 2 cup packages to put into the freezer.  This particular batch of enchiladas was made from dark meat, but I usually use white meat or a combination.  When it's all rolled up in the enchilada, it's hard to tell what kind it is. 

I used low fat versions of cream soup and sour cream, and I actually prefer it with the low fat versions to the full fat version.  It makes a little thinner sauce which I think is better.  I have also used Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream, but it will make the dish have a little more tang than using sour cream.  I have also used low fat cheeses, but I prefer the regular version of cheese because it melts better.  I have used both whole grain and white tortillas; can't really detect too much flavor or texture difference.

I apologize for the poor quality of the photos.  It was sunny yesterday, and I did not have on the lights in the kitchen, but the pictures turned out a little too dark when I look at them on the computer.  I checked out a Food Photography book at the library on the weekend.  I definitely need to pick up some new tips.  Let's just say you know that my cooking is real and not staged in any way shape or form!  Just try the recipes; your kids will like them!

Here's the recipe:

Kid Friendly Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas
1 can low fat cream of chicken soup
1 cup low fat sour cream
2 cups cooked chicken (seasoned with salt and pepper during cooking)
1 1/2 cups shredded co-jack cheese
6-8 tortillas
chili powder
onion powder
garlic powder
dried cilantro or parsley
jar of favorite salsa (for use at table)

1.  Mix together the soup and sour cream in a medium bowl.
2.  Sprinkle a few shakes or chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder over the cooked chicken and stir it around.  (I don't always measure; I go by smell; I would guess I use about 1/4 tsp of each)
3.  Empty bag of shredded cheese into bowl.  (It makes it easier to do the assembly)
4.  Sprinkle some cheese down the center of a tortilla shell.  (about 1-2 Tbsp)
5.  Place a scoop of chicken on top of the cheese. (about 1/4 cup)
6.  Sprinkle some cheese on top of the chicken. (about 1-2 Tbsp)
7.  Plop on some of the sour cream/soup mixture. (about 2 Tbsp; this kind of seals the tortilla shut)
All ready to roll up.  You can plop the sauce on the top;
just wanted to show about how much.

8.  Roll up the tortilla and place in a greased 9x13 pan with the seam side down.
9.  Repeat until you are out of chicken.  I can usually get 6-8 tortillas made depending on the size)
10.  Spoon the remaining sour cream/soup mixture on top of the rolled tortillas.  Sprinkle with additional cheese (maybe 1/3-1/2 cup).
11.  Sprinkle the top lightly with paprika and dried cilantro or parsley (for color)

Ready to bake, refrigerate until later, freeze, or deliver to a family in need

12.  Cover loosely with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350.  Remove the foil for the last 5-10 minutes to brown on top.

You can easily make this ahead and cook it later in the day or even the next day.  You can also freeze this dish unbaked.  You made need to add some additional bake time.

Kid Friendly Chicken Enchiladas
Slightly seasoned chicken and cheese wrapped in a tortilla
topped with a creamy cheese sauce.  Great for kids who usually
ask you to pick things out of casseroles before they will eat them.

Serve enchiladas with salad and rice and/or beans.  Offer salsa at the table for those who like their enchiladas with a little more kick.

Here's what it looks like on the plate:
Kid Friendly Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas
Add your favorite salsa at the table for extra kick

We enjoyed ours with rice, a tossed salad topped with corn, black beans, red peppers, cheese, crushed tortilla chips, and ranch dressing, and a bowl of fresh cut up fruit.  There wasn't much talking going on at the table because we all were busy cleaning our plates!

What's your favorite recipe you've adapted to be more kid-friendly while still pleasing the adult eaters in your house?


  1. I make these with green chilis in the sour cream sauce, and I layer the in ingredients rather than roll them. It is a real family favorite.

    1. Do your boys try to pick out the green chilis? Maybe someday my kiddos will like them with the chilis too. They did eat the chilis in the whit chicken chili!

  2. this was yummy! My kids and my choosey husband loved them! thanks! ps- also for the adding salsa suggestion.

  3. This is my daughters favorite:) simple and easy enough for her to help. With the salsa it adds just enough spice for us adults:) thank you for the great ideas.