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Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Lindsey Lower

Hands-on time 30 mins
Total time 1 hr
Yield

Serves 8 (serving size: 1 piece)

These enchiladas are a cinch to assemble and easy to freeze--just cover one of the pans with foil. If you plan to serve a crowd, bake in one (13 x 9-inch) baking dish. The chicken stays moist throughout baking and reheating, thanks to a gentle poach and a creamy verde sauce. Fresh cilantro stems have tons of flavor; make sure to include them in the sauce.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 3/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded and divided (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatillos, chopped
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • Cooking spray
  • 15 (6-inch) corn tortillas, halved
  • 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (optional)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 345
  • fat 12.7 g
  • satfat 5.7 g
  • monofat 3.2 g
  • polyfat 1.6 g
  • protein 30 g
  • carbohydrate 28 g
  • fiber 5 g
  • cholesterol 87 mg
  • iron 2 mg
  • sodium 497 mg
  • calcium 204 mg

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.

  2. Bring 2 cups water, peppercorns, garlic, and bay leaf to a boil in a large saucepan. Add chicken to pan; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 15 minutes or until chicken is done, turning after 10 minutes. Place chicken on a plate; cool slightly. Remove garlic clove from pan; reserve. Shred chicken with 2 forks. Place chicken, salt, 3 ounces Monterey Jack cheese (about 3/4 cup), and green onions in a bowl; stir to combine.

  3. Place reserved garlic clove, cilantro, tomatillos, and chiles in the bowl of a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add half-and-half and cream cheese; process until smooth.

  4. Coat 2 (8-inch) square glass or ceramic baking dishes with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup tomatillo sauce in the bottom of each dish. Arrange 5 tortilla halves over sauce in each dish; top each dish with one-fourth of chicken mixture. Repeat layers once, ending with tortillas and remaining tomatillo sauce. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 2 ounces Monterey Jack (about 1/2 cup). Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Continue baking at 350° for 10 minutes, or remove 1 dish from oven and follow freezing directions. Divide each dish into 4 pieces. Place 1 piece on each of 8 plates; sprinkle evenly with tomato and cilantro leaves, if desired. Serve immediately.

  5. How-To

  6. FREEZE: Cool partially baked enchiladas to room temperature in baking dish. Cover baking dish tightly with heavy-duty foil, or seal with an airtight lid. Freeze up to 2 months.

  7. REHEAT: No thawing needed: Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 45 minutes or until enchiladas are thoroughly heated and sauce is bubbly. Top each serving with tomato and cilantro leaves.

Cook's Notes

MyRecipes is working with Let's Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA's MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.