If you’re looking for a recipe that is both delicious and convenient, then look no further: freezer chicken enchiladas are here to save the day. As someone who frequently hosts dinner parties, I am on the lookout for dishes that can be made ahead of time and frozen until the day of the event. This recipe has been a lifesaver for me on multiple occasions, and I am excited to share it with you.
What I love about this dish is not just its convenience, but also its bold flavors. The combination of tender shredded chicken, smoky chipotle chiles, and creamy Monterey Jack cheese all wrapped in a soft corn tortilla is simply irresistible. Whether you’re cooking for guests or just want a satisfying meal after a long day at work, these freezer chicken enchiladas are sure to hit the spot.
But don’t just take my word for it – give this recipe a try and taste for yourself how easy, delicious, and versatile it truly is. With simple ingredients that can be easily found at any grocery store and straightforward instructions that even novice cooks can follow, there’s no reason not to add this recipe to your arsenal. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Are you searching for a make-ahead recipe that is both hearty and delicious? Look no further than this Freezer Chicken Enchilada recipe from Cook’s Country!
The recipe features juicy shredded chicken, caramelized onions, and smoky chipotle chiles in adobo wrapped in tender corn tortillas, all topped off with a tomato sauce and Monterey Jack cheese for the perfect finishing touch. One bite of these mouth-watering enchiladas will transport you to a sunny Southwestern paradise.
But what truly sets this recipe apart is its freezer-friendly nature. With just a little bit of advance preparation, you can enjoy these enchiladas any time you want, without the hassle of cooking from scratch. Simply cook the chicken and assemble the enchiladas according to the instructions, then freeze until ready to eat – they will stay fresh for up to three months!
Plus, this recipe offers a variety of substitutions and variations to suit your preferences. Swap in green chile instead of chipotle, or make it vegetarian by substituting canned black beans for the chicken. You can also serve it alongside other classic Mexican sides like rice and beans.
With all these amazing features, it’s no wonder why this recipe has become a staple in my entertaining arsenal. Whether I’m having friends over or just feeding my family on a busy weeknight, these Freezer Chicken Enchiladas are always a hit. So go ahead and give it a try – your taste buds won’t regret it!
Let’s take a look at the ingredients you will need to make these Freezer Chicken Enchiladas!
- Corn Tortillas: 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- Monterey Jack Cheese: 2 cups shredded
- Low Sodium Chicken Broth: 1 cup
- Table Salt: 1/2 teaspoon
- Ground Cumin: 1 teaspoon
- Chipotle Chiles in Adobo: 2 minced with sauces
- Garlic Cloves: 2 minced
- Onion: 2 medium, chopped (3 cups)
- Tomato Sauce: 1 can (8 ounces)
- Chicken Enchiladas: cooked and shredded from about one rotisserie chicken or roughly two pounds chicken breasts
- Fresh Cilantro Leaves: 1/4 cup chopped
Green Chile Sauce:
- Green Chile, roasted and peeled: 6 large, chopped
- Low Sodium Chicken Broth: 1/4 cup
- Garlic Clove, minced: 1 clove
- Ground Cumin: 1 teaspoon
- Salt, to taste
Red Chili Sauce:
Make-ahead red chili sauce for enchiladas recipe cook illustrated, tastes equally delicious as a dipping sauce.
- Red Chili Sauce: prepare by adding garlic, onion, canned tomato sauce and cumin salt to taste in a small saucepan.
You can find most of these ingredients in your kitchen pantry or local grocery stores.
The Recipe How-To
The first step in preparing the Freezer Chicken Enchiladas is to make the filling. You can use cooked chicken breast or shredded rotisserie chicken for this recipe. I usually cook chicken breasts in a slow cooker with some low-sodium chicken broth for about 3-4 hours until they’re tender and juicy. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred the meat using two forks.
Making the Sauce
Next, prepare the tomato sauce. In a frying pan, add some oil and sautee chopped onions and minced garlic until they’re fragrant and translucent. Then add in canned tomato sauce, minced chipotle chiles in adobo, and ground cumin. Allow this mixture to simmer on medium heat until slightly thickened.
Assembling the Enchiladas
Now it’s time to assemble the enchiladas. Take a corn tortilla and lay it flat on a work surface. Spoon some of the chicken filling onto one end of the tortilla and top it with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and fresh cilantro leaves. Roll up tightly and place seam-side down into a casserole dish.
Repeat this process for all remaining tortillas, filling them with chicken and cheese until your casserole dish is filled with tightly packed enchiladas.
Adding the Finishing Touches
Pour the prepared tomato sauce over the enchiladas evenly. Sprinkle with additional shredded cheese on top, then top it off with some sliced onions and Kalamata olives.
Baking in The Oven
Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.
Remove it from the oven, uncover, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until bubbly.
Once done, take it out of the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
There you have it – delicious Freezer Chicken Enchiladas that can be frozen for up to 3 months!
Substitutions and Variations
Cooking is an art as much as it is a science, and sometimes the creativity of the cook can be unleashed by substituting ingredients or making variations in the recipe. Here are some ideas for you to experiment with:
– Tortillas: Although the recipe asks for corn tortillas, you can use flour tortillas if you prefer. Just keep in mind that flour tortillas are softer and might require less time in the oven.
– Cheese: Monterey Jack cheese suits the flavor of chicken enchiladas perfectly, but you can use other types of cheese like Cheddar, Colby, or even a mix of cheeses.
– Chipotle Chiles in Adobo: If you don’t have chipotle chiles in adobo, you can use other types of chili peppers like jalapeño, serrano or poblano. Or skip the chili altogether if you prefer mild flavors.
– Onion: The recipe calls for two medium onions chopped, but if you find that too much or too little onion for your taste, adjust accordingly.
– Chicken: The recipe suggests using cooked chicken breasts, shredded. You can use other parts of the chicken like thighs or rotisserie chicken from the store.
– Sauces: Instead of using tomato sauce as the base for the enchilada sauce, try green enchilada sauce for a different flavor. You can also make red enchilada sauce by adding chili powder to tomato sauce.
– Vegetarian version: For vegetarians or meatless Mondays, skip the chicken and add vegetables like sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers or broccoli to the enchiladas.
– Creamy version: Make cream enchiladas by adding sour cream to the sauce; make cheesy chicken enchiladas by adding more cheese on top; make creamy chicken enchiladas with cream cheese added to the filling.
There’s no wrong way to make chicken enchiladas, and trying different variations will keep things fresh and exciting in your kitchen.
Serving and Pairing
These freezer chicken enchiladas are a delicious and satisfying meal on their own, but can also be paired with some tasty sides to create an even more well-rounded meal. The flavors of this dish are bold and spicy, so it’s best to pair it with something that can help balance out the heat.
One great option for a side is a simple coleslaw or salad made with fresh vegetables like carrots, cabbage, and mixed greens. This will not only provide a refreshing crunch to complement the creaminess of the enchiladas, but also add some much-needed vitamins and fiber to your meal.
Another great option is to serve the enchiladas alongside some classic Mexican rice. The mild sweetness and nuttiness of the rice can help tone down the heat of the enchiladas while also providing a hearty base for your meal.
To complete your dinner, don’t forget to make some zesty guacamole or salsa to go with your enchiladas. The creamy avocado or fresh tomatoes in these dishes will help cut through the richness of the enchiladas, making each bite even more enjoyable.
For beverages, nothing beats an ice-cold bottle of Mexican beer or a chilled glass of white wine. These crisp and refreshing drinks will complement the spicy flavors of the enchiladas perfectly, making for a complete and satisfying dining experience.
No matter how you decide to serve your freezer chicken enchiladas, you are sure to impress your guests with this flavorful and easy-to-make dish!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
If you’re hosting a party or simply want to save time during the week, freezer meals are always a great option to have on hand. These Freezer Chicken Enchiladas are perfect for preparing in advance and storing until it’s time to enjoy.
To make ahead, follow all recipe instructions up until the baking step. Instead of baking, cover your 9×13 inch casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap and then tin foil. Label with the date it was made and store in the freezer for up to three months.
When you’re ready to eat, be sure to let the enchiladas thaw overnight in the refrigerator. This will help ensure even reheating throughout. Once thawed, remove the plastic wrap and tin foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes, or until heated through.
You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave by placing them on a microwave-safe plate and microwaving for about 1 minute.
It’s important to note that while these enchiladas are freezer friendly, they should not be refrozen once cooked. So make sure you only freeze them once they’re assembled but not yet baked.
Enjoy these delicious enchiladas anytime with very little effort. They’re sure to become a new family favorite!
Tips for Perfect Results
When it comes to making Freezer Chicken Enchiladas for a party, there are some tips and tricks you can keep in mind to ensure perfect results. Here are the top tips from my experience and research:
1. Slightly Microwave Corn Tortillas – Warm corn tortillas are better suited to roll than cold ones. Those who tried to make enchiladas with cold corn tortillas would know how frustrating they can be to work with. To make them more malleable and less likely to break, wrap them in a damp cloth or paper towel and microwave them for 30 seconds or so.
2. Use Fresh Herbs – Don’t hesitate to use fresh cilantro leaves when making the enchilada sauce for added flavor. It will give you a much cleaner and aromatic flavor profile.
3. Cut the Onion and Garlic Finely – Chopped onions and garlic add a lot of flavor, but no one likes an overpowering mouthful of onion or garlic chunks while chewing their chicken enchiladas.
4. Season Chicken Thoroughly – The recipe calls for cumin, salt and chipotle chilies but don’t let that limit your creativity. A good sprinkle of chili powder will fire-up your enchiladas nicely.
5. Don’t Overfill the Tortillas – Filling them might be tempting, but it’s essential not to over-stuff the tortillas as they may tear. About three tablespoons of filling per tortilla is enough.
6. Freeze Slowly – To avoid freezer burn, be sure to cool the contents completely before packing them up in the foil pan tightly sealed with plastic wrap, aluminum foil or a lid if available then transfer them into the freezer as soon as possible.
By following these tips, you’re guaranteed perfect results every time you make this recipe!
Now that you’ve learned all about the recipe, it’s time to address any questions that may arise while reading through the instructions. In this section, I’ll cover some of the most commonly asked questions about this freezer chicken enchiladas recipe.
Is it better to freeze enchiladas cooked or uncooked?
When it comes to freezing enchiladas, I find it best to freeze them uncooked rather than cooked. This is because freezing cooked enchiladas can often lead to a less-than-ideal texture, such as soggy or rubbery tortillas. In contrast, freezing uncooked enchiladas preserves their texture and flavor, allowing for a perfect bite every time.
Should you cook chicken enchiladas before freezing?
Enchiladas are a delectable treat enjoyed by many, and the good news is, you can freeze them. It doesn’t matter if you’re preparing them fresh or if you have leftovers; freezing enchiladas is a great way to preserve their taste and enjoy them at a later time. The process is quite simple, and you can do it before or after cooking. If you decide to freeze them before cooking, wrap the pan in cling film or foil and place it in the freezer. Later on, you can take them out to cook from frozen, and they will be just as tasty.
How do you keep frozen enchiladas from getting soggy?
One way to ensure that your tortillas stay intact and don’t crumble while making enchiladas is by freezing them first. To make sure your finished enchiladas aren’t soggy, you can also briefly fry the tortillas in hot oil before filling and rolling them. This helps them stay firm and crispy.
Can you freeze a chicken enchilada casserole?
One of the ways to store your enchilada casserole for later consumption is by freezing it. Begin by letting the casserole cool down entirely. Once cooled, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Label the package with the name and freeze it for not more than three months. When you wish to eat it again, thaw it in the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours before baking it. This method preserves the taste and flavor of your chicken enchilada casserole.
In conclusion, these freezer chicken enchiladas are an easy and delicious meal for any occasion. Not only are they perfect for those who love to entertain, but also for busy weeknights or as a convenient freezer meal option.
Whether you follow the original recipe or make some substitutions and variations to suit your personal taste preferences, these enchiladas are sure to please. The combination of spice, flavor, and melted cheese make them a crowd-pleaser every time.
So why not give this recipe a try? With simple ingredients and straightforward instructions, it’s easy to prepare a delicious meal that will impress your guests or satisfy your family’s cravings. And with the ability to freeze leftovers for up to three months, you’ll have a go-to meal ready to heat and eat whenever you need it.
In short, these freezer chicken enchiladas from Cook’s Country are a must-try recipe that you won’t regret making. Give them a try and see for yourself just how tasty they can be!
Freezer Chicken Enchiladas(Cook’s Country) Recipe
- 1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (7 ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- 2 1/2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons canned pickled jalapeno peppers, minced
- 10 (6 inch) corn tortillas
- cooking spray
- To make ahead: Blend tomato sauce, onion, garlic, chipotle, cumin, coriander, salt, and broth in blender until smooth. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add tomato mixture, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until mixture is reduced to 3 1/2 cups, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.
- 2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Toss 3/4 cup sauce with chicken, 1 cup cheese, cilantro, and jalepeños.
- 3. Place 5 tortillas on baking sheet and lightly coat both sides with cooking spray. Bake tortillas until just pliable, about 2 minutes. Working quickly, transfer one tortilla at a time to work surface, fill with 1/3 cup chicken mixture, and roll tightly. Transfer, seam side down, to large plate. Repeat warming and rolling process with remaining 5 tortillas. Place plate in freezer until enchiladas are frozen, at least 1 hour.
- 4. Place remaining sauce in freezersafe container and press 2 layers of plastic wrap directly onto surface of sauce. Tightly wrap enchiladas in bundles of 5, first in plastic and then in foil. Freeze for up to 2 months.
- 5. When ready to serve: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Defrost enchilada sauce in microwave on defrost setting, about 12 minutes.
- 6. Coat 13 by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange frozen enchiladas in single layer in baking dish and coat tops with cooking spray. Bake until tops of tortillas are just beginning to flake, about 20 minutes. Remove dish from oven, top enchiladas with 1 1/2 cups sauce, and bake 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle enchiladas with remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese and bake until cheese melts and center of casserole is hot and bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve, passing remaining sauce and garnishes (see note above) at table.
- How to Freeze and Bake Enchiladas: Tightly wrap the chilled enchiladas in bundles of five, first in plastic and then in foil. The sauce should be frozen separately.
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Anna is a culinary expert who specializes in grilling delicious BBQ dishes. She also enjoys sharing her recipes and experiences with her foodie community on her blog. She’s the total package for any backyard barbecue!