Monday, January 9, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce

I know ya’ll have seen these enchiladas on the blogosphere (because I have too). I had bookmarked, printed, pinterested, mentally noted… and FINALLY, by golly, I’ve MADE them! And you know what? They were every bit as amazing as I dreamed they would be!

Oh. my. goodness.

Look at these beauties:

The hubs’ parents came to visit us this past weekend, and I remembered that my mother in-law LOVES enchiladas. Well, naturally, these babies came to mind and I KNEW I had to make them! Boy am I glad I did! They were DELICIOUS.

These enchiladas and creamy (and a little crunchy on the edges), cheesy, saucy, and UH.MAZ.ING. I honestly don’t know what else to say about them (I’m a bit tongue tied)… but I think the pictures speak for themselves! 😉


**To take an already amazing dish to an ever higher level… top them with your favorites (and mine): Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Pickled Jalapenos, Black Olives, and Cilantro. Oh, and serve them with a side of rice and Crockpot “Refried” Beans – YES. Please!

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Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce

To take this already amazing dish to an ever higher level... top them with your favorites (and mine): Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Pickled Jalapenos, Black Olives, and Cilantro.


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
4-5 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 rounded tablespoons chili powder
3 rounded teaspoons ground cumin
3 level teaspoons sugar
2 8-oz cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 beefsteak tomatoes, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2-3 chicken breasts)
6 ounces extra sharp cheddar, shredded
6 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded
3/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
14 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
cooking spray
salt and ground black pepper
a pinch of cayenne


Preheat oven to 425° F.

Heat canola oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, jalapenos, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together well. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the onions and jalapenos have softened, about 8-12 minutes.

While the onions and jalapenos are cooking: mix together the chili powder, cumin, and sugar in a small bowl. Once they have softened, stir in the garlic and the spice mixture (chili powder, cumin, and sugar) and cook until fragrant (be sure to stir constantly), only 30-45 seconds.

Next, Add the cans of tomato sauce, the water, and the chopped tomato. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and allow to cook for about 5 minutes. Nestle the chicken breasts into the sauce, trying to cover them as much as possible. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is completely cooked (thickest part of chicken breast must reach 160° F), about 12-25 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a plate, and allow to cool to touch. Strain the sauce through a strainer into a medium sized bowl. Press on the onion mixture with a spatula to remove as much liquid as possible. Place the onions into a large bowl and set aside.

Taste the sauce and then season it with additional salt and pepper to taste (and a dash or 2 of cayenne if you like an extra little kick).

Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in the bowl with the onion mixture. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 1/2 cups cheese (3/4 cup of each kind), and the cilantro. Gently toss until combined well.

Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with a paper towel. Microwave on high until warm, 40-60 seconds. One at a time, spoon about 1/4-1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll tortilla and lay seam-side down into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.

Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place enchiladas in the oven, uncovered, for about 7-12 minutes, or until the tortillas are nice and golden brown.

Reduce heat to 400. Remove enchiladas and pour sauce evenly on top (down the center) and then top with the remaining cheese. Place back into oven and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until heated through. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Top with Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Pickled Jalapenos, Black Olives, and Cilantro

Recipe adapted from: America's Test Kitchen (via Pink-Parsley who found it via Tide and Thyme)

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34 Responses to “Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce”

  1. 1

    Julie @ Table for Two — January 9, 2012 @ 11:06 am

    YUM!! I made the same exact ones 2 weeks ago but I haven’t posted it yet. My pictures of it didn’t turn out nearly as great as yours BUT I will say, IT’S SUCH AN AMAZING DISH. It’s sooo good. My guests couldn’t get enough of it! I love that the red sauce is made from scratch, it really makes a huge difference!

  2. 2

    Bev Weidner — January 9, 2012 @ 11:06 am

    I just died.

  3. 3

    Kathryn — January 9, 2012 @ 11:09 am

    I think I have always have bad experiences with enchiladas because these look nothing like the soggy cardboard that I always think of them as! I’m going to have to make these pronto!

  4. 4

    Lane — January 9, 2012 @ 11:36 am

    Yum. Love how they are still a little crispy. I will be making these soon!

  5. 5

    Jessica M. — January 9, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

    This recipe looks fantastic. I’m definitely making it this week!!

  6. 6

    Rachel — January 9, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

    Oh yum! I love enchiladas, but I’ve only made them twice. This recipe looks like a keeper!

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. 7

    Rachelle S. — January 9, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

    I definitely bought everything to make these yesterday and I don’t know if I can wait until tomorrow night to eat them! Yours look gorgeous!

  8. 8

    Brittnee — January 9, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

    These look really good! I absolutely looove your cooking.

  9. 9

    Cassie — January 9, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

    My husband would fall over backward for these. They sound a-ma-zing!

  10. 10

    emily — January 9, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

    I’ve seen these and wanted to try them. You’ve made me want to finally buckle down and do it! They look AMAZING! Well done!

    • Kristina replied: — January 12th, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

      DO IT!!!! 😉 You’ll love them!

  11. 11

    Josie — January 9, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

    Best. Enchiladas. Ever. 🙂

    • Kristina replied: — January 9th, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

      thank you for a GREAT recipe! 😉

  12. 12

    Leslie — January 9, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

    Yep..I have seen these and they look amazing. Perfect to feed a crowd! Pinned!

  13. 13

    Sandra — January 10, 2012 @ 7:20 am

    You’re killing me girl!!!! Nothing should look as good as photo #3. I think I know what I want for my birthday dinner.

  14. 14

    Stacy — January 10, 2012 @ 8:08 am

    YUM! These have to go into my “I want to make” recipe book! They look great!!

  15. 15

    Becca from It's Yummilicious — January 10, 2012 @ 8:32 am

    Tina, you just hit one out of the ballpark. Your enchiladas look AMAZING! Of course, now I have to go from loving on you to cursing you, as I JUST began a healthy eating plan… UGH! Of course, all good things in moderation, right? Maybe I can have a fork full of goodness 🙂

    • Kristina replied: — January 12th, 2012 @ 9:34 pm

      i know i know… not helping any resolutions… sorry but they were TOO good! it’s definitely all about moderation 😉

  16. 16

    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — January 10, 2012 @ 10:56 am

    This looks absolutly amazing! I am on such a mexican food kick this week! These are going on the must make pile!!

  17. 17

    Kelsey@ ReadySetFeast — January 10, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

    YUM! Making these this weekend!

  18. 18

    Rhonda — January 10, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

    They look perfect!! I have never attempted enchiladas, but I may just have to.

  19. 19

    Jackie — January 11, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

    I’m such a sucker for a good enchilada! I need a good recipe, the one I grew up with was such a “White Girl- Chilada” it was more like a burrito casserole. Thanks for the post 🙂

  20. 20

    Jessica @ The Temperamental Kitchen — January 12, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

    These have “Superbowl Party” written all over them–thanks!

  21. 21

    JT@The Faux Foodie girl — January 12, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

    I must try these enchilada this weekend – they look amazing and tasty. I just found your blog and loving it. I have marked so many recipes that you made that I need to try in my evernotes. Do you reside in SFL? I am in South Broward – love meeting local bloggers, that is if you are in this area.

  22. 22

    Katelyn — January 15, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

    I even used flour tortillas… and they were still SO good!

  23. 23

    Brittnee — February 2, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

    I made these last night. They were sooo good!!

  24. 24

    LESLIE — January 7, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

    I made these a couple months ago…Delicious! I use a tad less sugar. I’m not usually a fan of enchiladas but I loved these! So did my husband. He has requested them for dinner again tonight. 🙂

  25. 25

    Freezer-Friendly Chicken Enchiladas : Oven Love — January 15, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

    […] making the internet rounds lately. I didn’t know this until I recognized the recipe over on Kristina’s blog (which you should check out immediately, she’s the cutest on the planet and has great […]

  26. 26

    Amanda — February 5, 2013 @ 10:18 pm

    I made these tonight and they were fabulous! I think the secret – which I had not done before- is baking the enchiladas first without sauce or cheese until crispy. This kept them from being soggy when served. Thank you for the recipe.

  27. 27

    Terry — April 3, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

    My first attemt at Enchalada construction and have to say best I’ve ever had & will be in regular rotation here.keep em coming. Thanks

  28. 28

    Lori — April 18, 2013 @ 10:25 pm

    I made these tonight and they were delicious however I’m confused about the directions. Not quite sure what to do with the spice mixture after I blend it. I thought I was supposed to add it to the onions “when softened” but see later in the recipet that the onions were to be kept separate. What was I supposed to stir the garlic and spice mixture into? Then do I add the tomatoes to all of that?

  29. 29

    Jennifer — April 20, 2013 @ 11:47 pm

    OMG! These look amazing! I can’t wait to try them!!! One thing though… 2-3 chicken breasts hardly seems like enough for 14 tortillas! Can someone please clarify ASAP as I would LOVE to make these tomorrow for company!!!! Thank you! 🙂

    • Tina replied: — April 21st, 2013 @ 6:42 am

      It doesn’t seem like enough but it totally is! This recipe was adapted from Americas Test Kitchen & they are INCREDIBLY precise with all the research & recipe testing they do 🙂

  30. 30

    Alicia — May 30, 2013 @ 1:00 pm

    OMG!!! These were by far the best red sauce enchiladas I have ever made and my husband agreed.. LOVED them.. Thank you for the recipe!!!! I will be adding this to my keepers stash of recipes…

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