Monday, January 28, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I love Mexican food, but it's not always the healthiest choice when you're eating out. So I'm always on the lookout for a recipe that isn't too heavy on the fat or cheese, and this adaptation of a recipe I found online fit the bill. While it isn't a fast and easy weeknight recipe, with a little planning it can be. For example, you could substitute rotisserie chicken for the chicken thighs. Or, you could roast the chicken thighs the night before or prep the whole casserole on the weekend to be baked on Monday night (in which case you would need to leave the casserole out to bring to room temperature or increase the cooking time). If you're on the lookout for a fast and easy chicken enchilada recipe, you might want to check out this one  from my files for a weeknight meal and try the recipe that follows on the weekend. But please try it, because it is very, very good.

4 servings (10 WW pts. + per serving)
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
cooking spray
chili powder
1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro
3 oz Neufchatel  cheese(reduced calorie cream cheese)
salt and pepper
2 cups chopped onions, divided
6 chopped garlic cloves, divided
1 cup lower sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup salsa verde
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup shredded lowfat Mexican cheese
9 (6 inch) corn tortillas
Optional:  2 tbs chopped jalapenos

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

  1. 2. Place chicken thighs in a baking pan and seaons  with cumin and chili powder. Spray with nonstick spray. Cook for 20 minutes, turn over, and return to oven for 20 minutes more. Let cool for 15 minutes then shred chicken with 2 forks.   Place chicken in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, corn, Neufchatel cheese, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. 3. Spray a nonstick skillet and place over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup onion; sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 3 garlic cloves; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add onion mixture to chicken mixture; stir to combine.
  3. 4. Combine remaining 1 1/2 cups onion, remaining 3 garlic cloves, broth, salsa, 1/4 cup water (and jalapeño, if desired) in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to blend completely (or let cool 10 minutes and puree in a blender).
  4. 5. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tortillas; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Remove tortillas from pan; repeat procedure with remaining tortillas. Cut tortillas into quarters.
  5. 6. Spread 1/2 cup salsa mixture in the bottom of an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 12 tortilla quarters over salsa mixture. Spoon half of chicken mixture over tortillas. Repeat layers, ending with tortillas. Pour remaining salsa mixture over tortillas; sprinkle evenly with cheddar cheese. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Top with remaining cilantro.
  6. *********************************************************************
  8. This was absolutely worth the little bit of effort it took to put together. The salsa verde adds just enough spice for me and the serving is quite generous. A bonus is that it is even better reheated!


  1. It sounds really tasty. And a very necessary reduction in calories!

  2. Colorado's favorite cusine seems to be Mexican, so I will love to try making this casserole one day soon, Arlene. I belive corn tortillas are also gluten free, so it would be a good meal tho serve my duaghter-in-law.

  3. I love using Neufchatel, it's a no brainer. It tastes just as good or better than cream cheese to me and 1/3 less calories. Another switch I make is Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

    The chicken enchilada casserole is something I would love!


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