My Favorite Meal of the Week – Spinach Chicken Enchiladas

I love all Mexican food. Good, fresh guacamole makes me weak at the knees. No really, it does. It’s the one food I’d pick if I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life. But anyways, back to today’s post. I love Mexican food, but it is not always the healthiest option. Today’s recipe attempts to take a classic Mexican dish, and make it healthy. These spinach chicken enchiladas are delicious, and relatively easy to make. But sadly, I can’t take credit for the recipe, it comes from my mom who made these all the time when I was growing up.
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Ingredients
(serves 6-8)
2 onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 4 bags of spinach (just depends on how much you like spinach, I always use 4 bags)
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 head of cilantro, picked from the stem (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
4 tablespoons cumin
4 chicken breasts (if you are vegetarian, you could do roasted veggies instead)
2 jars of salsas
12-16 corn tortillas
Cheese (I generally buy a bag of the pre-shredded mix at Trader Joes, but you could do your own shredded cheddar or skip it altogether if you’re dairy free, or just want to be healthier)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Chop one onion finely and cook it in the olive oil on medium to low in a large pan. After the first 5 to 10 minutes, cover the pan and let it simmer while preparing other things. It needs to be really soft.

2. Wash and chop up the spinach as finely as possible. After onions are soft, add spinach and 2 cloves of garlic. Continue cooking until the spinach is soft. Then set aside.

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3. Chop your other onion, but not as finely as before. This time it can be in rough long strips. Put this onion and the cilantro into a large pot of water. Add the other two garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons of cumin, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, and chicken. Cook chicken in this uncovered pot on just below medium (if it starts to boil, turn down the temp, you just want it to simmer) for about 10 minutes.

4. Once the chicken is cooked, take it out of the water to cool. The chicken should not be fully cooked, but just starting to get firm and should have no pink. Set the chicken in the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cumin and 1/2 tablespoon of chili powder on chicken. Then turn the mixer on low and let it run until all of the chicken has shredded (this is a great trick for any recipe that involves shredding chicken.)

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5. Get out the pan you want to use to cook the enchiladas. You can do a 9 x 13 pan (the kind you’d cook a sheet cake in or brownies), or if you have casserole containers, you can use those as well. I used two CorningWare containers.

6. Pour the two jars of salsa into a pan on the stove and heat at just below medium (make sure the pan is large enough to fit a tortilla into). Also, be careful not to let the salsa boil, you just want it to warm. Now, dip the first tortilla into the salsa, flip it over so both sides are covered in salsa, and then lay it in the pan. Fill the tortilla with some of the onion and spinach and then some shredded chicken. Then wrap up and repeat until the pan is full. Once the pan is full, poor the rest of the salsa on top and then put cheese on top. You could also add cheese to each enchilada if you want (but obviously this cuts down on the healthy factor). I have even done some without cheese, and they are still delicious, especially if you throw some avocado on top.

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7. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes (time will depend on the size of your pan). You’ll know its done when the tortillas have darkened and the cheese has fully melted on top. Also make sure the enchiladas in the middle feel fully cooked.

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