If you’re looking for a super easy, super delicious, super kid-friendly Mexican dish, these zesty cream cheese chicken enchiladas are for you! With a tiny bit of prep work, you can have these ready for a week-night dinner that will give you the “Wonder Woman” feels.
Without exaggerating, there has never been a green chili my stepkids have not turned their nose up to. And if a food looks even remotely like it could possibly maybe be ‘spicy’? Forget it. But somehow, with these enchiladas, the world stood on end and they loved them!
I suspect these would also be good with green chili instead of red (because I live in Colorado and that’s what we do), except there’s something about having a pork sauce with chicken enchiladas that bothers me.
In the end, I settled on red enchilada sauce and don’t regret it at all.
To prep or not to prep
The advantage of this recipe is that there are a few times when you can ‘set it and leave it’. Got the chicken boiling? Ok, take a rest. Put it in the oven? Take another rest. (Or get chores done, clean something, wrangle kids, whatever)
However, if you don’t have time to do that all in one day, that’s still okay. As a matter of fact, if you get to the point that you’ve prepped, seasoned, and mixed the chicken, letting it sit for a day makes it even better!
If you do decide to prep ahead of time, the chicken can be cooked and the mixed ahead of time. I wouldn’t recommend making the actual enchiladas ahead of time, though, because the tortillas get soggy.
Ready or not, here are the steps.
How to make cream cheese chicken enchiladas
Prep the chicken
There are a few different ways to do this, but I’m going to build this recipe around my favorite. I think that boiling chicken for recipes like this keeps it a lot more moist than baking.
Get your water boiling before you put the chicken in. Especially if it’s frozen or partly frozen chicken. It will take FOREVER to cook if you put it in before the water is boiling.
Side note – now is a good chance to set the cream cheese out to soften. You’ll thank me later when you’re trying to stir it all in.
Once the water is boiling, put the chicken in. Cook it until the chicken isn’t pink in the center. It’s hard to give you an exact time because it will vary a lot depending on how thick the chicken breast is sliced.
You’re left with something that looks a little like this:
When it’s cooked through, remove it from the water and let cool off for a few minutes. You’ll burn the heck out of your fingers if you don’t wait a bit.
When it’s cool, cut it up into small pieces. Chopping or shredding will get you the consistency you want. It will look a little like this:
Seasoning and other ingredients
This is the easy part. Dump and mix! I personally like to mix the seasonings in first then the soup, sour cream, and cream cheese. But that’s just my neurosis. I’m pretty picky about getting everything mixed evenly! If you do the separate method, it will look something like this:
This is a good time to put it in a freezer bag and freeze it for the future or put in the refrigerator for tomorrow.
Put it all together
Now you get to make the enchiladas. Put 1/2 of a can of enchilada soup in the bottom of the dish so the enchiladas don’t stick. You can also spray it with non-stick spray, but I like the sauce on the bottom.
Using burrito sized tortillas, put a strip of the chicken mixture down the middle of the tortilla. It shouldn’t be mounds of stuffing. You’re looking at about a 1/2 cup of filling.
Roll the tortilla relatively tightly and place in the baking dish.
Cover the enchiladas with the remaining enchilada sauce.
You’re about to the point where you can take another break. Make sure your oven is warmed up to 435 degrees before you put the dish in.
When the oven is ready put the dish, uncovered, in the oven and bake for 24 minutes.
After the 24 minutes are up, take it out and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Put the enchiladas back in the over for an additional 5 minutes.
This one is best customized by what you garnish it with.
While sitting at the table the night I made these enchiladas the first time, my husband commented that tomatoes and avacado would really add the wow factor. And I would never suggest this (because I despise the stuff passionately), but cilantro would probably be a good topper, as well.
Honestly, this recipe is just good ol’ fashion comfort food. If you’re on a specialized diet, you will struggle trying to get this one to fit. More than likely, you’d want to throw the whole thing out the window and start fresh.
**Mental note to myself to try a more ‘diet friendly’ version of this recipe.
Serve and enjoy!
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