My skinny white chicken enchiladas are inspired by The Pioneer Woman and are beyond amazing. Besides the wonderful fact that you can eat more enchiladas without feeling as bad, the addition of the sweet corn in contrast with the spicy green chiles makes the flavors over-the-top good. These skinny white chicken enchiladas are so creamy and cheesy, the chicken is moist and flavorful, it really takes me to my happy place.
They also take me down memory lane…
I was not always obsessed with cooking.
My parents are great cooks, which means I never needed to learn to use anything other than a microwave until college. There’s a great story my mom tells about me when I was about 16: she’s out in the yard gardening and yells inside for me to get some water boiling for her for dinner. I yell back out, “How do you boil water? In the microwave?”. In that moment she was certain she failed me; a daughter that will never share her love of cooking.
Then, I studied abroad in Germany my senior year of college and lived with a German family in a tiny, quaint village. It was one of the best times of my life, but dear god THE FOOD WAS TRAGIC. I got off the plane after traveling 40+ hours expecting to be greeted in my new German home to steins of beer and sausages. I was handed a plate with one piece of stale bread topped with liverwurst, cheese, ketchup, and pineapple. Microwaved. Needless to say I did not eat that, nor did I eat much of any home cooking for those months.
That’s when I started looking at “food porn” as I liked to call it. I stumbled upon The Pioneer Woman website and became OBSESSED with Ree’s step-by-step pictures and recipes, checking it daily and reading everything like it was my only lifeline to America. That blog taught me all the basics of cooking. I was dying to get home, buy her cookbook, and make everything in it.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier by Ree Drummond
My first cookbook became the place where my cooking inspiration and obsession really took off. After I got my first big-girl job and my first big-girl apartment in Atlanta, I spent many days trying to recreate my girl Ree’s recipes. I started by making her White Chicken Enchiladas for my family any chance I could get, even on Christmas Eve.
Now that I am a little older, my metabolism a little slower, I can no longer afford to add a cup of heavy cream to anything on a regular ol’ Tuesday.
That’s why I make SKINNY White Chicken Enchiladas. Okay, Skinny-ish.
Equally, if not more, delicious that the original recipe in my humble opinion. But you’ll have to let me know when you try 😉
Start by dicing up some onions and jalapeños. Be lazy like me and buy pre-diced and roasted green chiles. Bonus points for spicy ones.
Next, boil your chicken. What, you say? EW, you say? I know, I know. It’s the only time I do it. Put your chicken in a pot and only put enough water in to JUST cover it. Then sprinkle in lots of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. We’re basically going two-for-one here and making chicken AND chicken broth.
Sauté your onions and jalapeños in a pan, then add the green chiles, corn, and cooked chicken. Splash a little of the reserved chicken broth in there to keep it moist and yummy. HELLO BEAUTIFUL.
Now, get your tortillas and roll ’em up with lots of the chicken and veggies, and tons and tons of shredded cheese. When you put them in your baking dish, put the folded tortillas in there seam side down.
Next, make your “skinny-ish” white enchilada sauce. Start with butter and flour to make a roux. Butter is not skinny, I know, but at least we’re not adding heavy cream, k?
Add chicken broth, the rest of the green chiles, shredded cheese, and lots of black pepper. Meow.
Look at these sad, dry, burritos. Let’s turn them into enchiladas!!
Oh yeah, baby. Pour all that sauce on there.
Bake them in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes until bubbly and golden. Sprinkle with lots of fresh cilantro. Die of happiness.
- 1 lb skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- salt & pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ white onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 12 oz of canned diced green chiles
- 1 cup frozen sweet corn kernals
- 6-8 large flour or corn tortillas
- 2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1.5 cups chicken broth, or reserved chicken water from cooking
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- Fresh cilantro, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- For the chicken: place your chicken in a pot, and fill with just enough water to cover the chicken. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid, and simmer for 20-30 minutes until cooked through. Remove the chicken, reserving the cooking water, and shred with two forks.
- Meanwhile, make the filling: heat a tablespoon of canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions and jalapeños for 2 minutes, then add 6 oz of green chiles, and the corn. Stir, season with salt and pepper, and let cook 2 more minutes. Add the shredded chicken and stir.
- Prepare an 8x10 (or similar) rectangular baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Fill a tortilla with ¼ cup- ½ cup of chicken and vegetable mixture. Top with shredded cheese. Fold the tortilla into a long cylinder, and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with 6-8 tortillas, or until pan is full.
- For the sauce: heat butter in a skillet over medium heat until melted. Add flour, and whisk constantly for about one minute until it forms a golden roux. Add a cup of the reserved chicken broth, whisking constantly, for one more minute. Add remaining shredded cheese, green chiles, and paprika, and whisk until cheese is melted. Add additional chicken broth if sauce is too thick.
- Cover the tortillas in the pan with the cheese sauce, and bake in the oven 25 minutes. Top with fresh cilantro for serving.
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