Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mexican Dinner Night

Mexican Dinner Night

Cheesy Creamy Enchiladas with easy Spanish rice

Ingredients Needed:
4lb to 6 lb whole chicken
Water (enough to fill stock pot)
2 stalks celery
2 medium carrots
1 medium onion (or dried minced onion)
3 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1 can green chilies
2 cups shredded cheese
1 bag flour tortillas
Spanish Rice ingredients:
2 cups long grain rice
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
½ can tomato sauce
½ can diced tomatoes
1 small onion minced
2 tbsp garlic salt
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp cooking oil

I don’t know about you, but my life seems continually busy and hectic and I am always challenged to come up with easy and nutritious meals for my family.  As a kitchen witch it is very important to me that I provide healthy meals imbued with all the love, positive energy, and harmony I can invoke.  One of my husband’s and my favorite things to do is cook together.   We both have a natural love for food, spices, herbs and all the delicious aromas cooking elicits in our home.   

This recipe is wonderful for many reasons, one it is easy and inexpensive (yay!) and you also are able to make your own healthy chicken stock where you control the amount of sodium and herbs that go into it.  The enchiladas also freeze well, so this a wonderful dish to make ahead and freeze for another night.
First off you will need a 4 to 6lb whole chicken; depending on the amount of servings you want, water, salt, pepper, 2 stalks of celery (with leaves) and 2 carrots, and 1 onion or dried minced onion and a large stock pot.

One of the most important things to do with chicken before cooking is to wash it off.  This is a very healthy practice as chicken can sometimes have salmonella.  So begin with rinsing your chicken, checking the inside to see if there is a bag with the gizzards in it and remove if there is (some chickens will have this, some not).  Rinse the chicken thoroughly, including the inside then place into your stock pot.  Fill your stock pot with water (and chicken stock if you have any on hand, just adds more flavor) until just covering your chicken.  Season with salt (I prefer Kosher salt), pepper and dried minced onion.  One of the biggest tips I could offer here is it is better to under salt than over salt.  You can always add more salt later.  I usually use about ½ teaspoon of salt.  Rinse your celery and carrots off, no need to peel, and rough chop them including the leaves of the celery and place into your pot.  If you are using fresh onion, peel and rough chop and add to your pot.  Turn burner on high, bring to a rapid boil then turn to a medium low heat and cook for an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the size of your chicken.

Remove your chicken from the stock and set aside in a bowl to let cool. Make sure and let your chicken cool thoroughly before deboning and skinning as you don’t want to burn yourself.  Set your stock aside to let it cool.  Once your stock is cooled, use a sieve (a very fine meshed strainer, like what you would use to sift flour or powdered sugar) to strain all the veggies and seasonings from the stock.  You can either place your stock in freezer proof containers or pour into ice cube trays to freeze or use quart size freezer bags.  If you use the freezer bags a great trick is to take a casserole dish, fill your bags with the cooled stock and place the bags in the casserole dish into the freezer (laying them flat on top of each other).  The casserole dish just helps in case any of the bags leak.  Once frozen remove from casserole dish and you can easily place in your freezer for later use.

Take your cooled chicken and start to remove the skin from the meat, placing the meat into a separate bowl, making sure there are no small bones.  Remove all of the meat from the bones and dispose of the bones and skin.  Then make sure and go through the chicken and shred apart any large pieces.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

After shredding all the chicken in a separate bowl mix together the cream of chicken soup, milk, sour cream and chilies.  Reserve half of the sauce to pour over the top of the enchiladas, pour the remaining sauce into the shredded chicken and mix to coat the chicken.

Take the tortillas and spoon mixture onto one end of the tortilla then roll up and place into 9 x 13 or two 8 x 8 casserole dishes; continue process until all mixture is gone.

After placing all the rolled enchiladas into the pans then cover with the reserved sauce, spreading sauce over the tops of all the enchiladas and top with shredded cheese. Place in oven at 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

While the enchiladas are cooking assemble your ingredients for the Spanish rice.  Heat your skillet over a medium-high heat add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and then your 2 cups rice; brown rice.  Next add the onion, tomato sauce and tomatoes; mix well but do not over mix.  Add chicken stock, water, garlic salt, and cumin.  Taste for appropriate seasoning; add more if needed (everyone’s tastes are different).  Bring to a boil, cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Plate your dinner with some lettuce for garnish and some sour cream, guacamole and salsa if everyone likes those and you are ready for your Mexican feast.

My little familiar loves enchiladas!!  Tip: if you are making your own guacamole here is an easy way to remove the pit from an avocado.  Take a knife and thump it into the pit so that it embeds into the pit and remove.
I hope you enjoy the recipes.  Feel free to leave comments if you make the recipes and if you changed it at all to make it more to your liking.  I love feedback!

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