I didn't have a lot to work with this week. I decided to make enchiladas. In the past, I've used pre-cooked beef roast from the grocery store to make my filling, but that has now gone up to $15 a package here. So, I used some chicken from my freezer that I buy in bulk. Not having a whole lot of time (not to mention the fact that I usually forget the first step - pulling the chicken OUT of the freezer) I decided to use my Crock Pot to cook the chicken. My intention this morning was to throw everything in (frozen chicken breasts and all) in the pot this morning before I went to work. However, A had a 3:30 call time to the airport (and I didn't want to take him there at that time) so I had to call a friend I work with to take me to work. She goes in at an earlier time, and at 3:30, I wasn't concious enough to remember that if I'm getting a ride from her that I need to get up earlier to do what I need to do in the morning. So, I had like 15 minutes to get ready and my dinner plans were forgotten, at least until I got to work.
So, at lunch, I came home to get everything in the pot. I put 4 frozen chicken breasts, 2 cans of chicken broth, some leftover white wine, some water, about a tablespoon of olive oil, one onion chopped rustic style, some baby carrots, about 4 small ribs of celery, and some spices from my cabinet. I didn't measure the spices, mainly because I didn't know how much I would need to season what I was doing, so I threw in a lot of red chili pepper flakes, red chili powder, cumin power, salt and pepper. Next time, I won't use quite so much pepper flakes. I also threw in some chili paste that I use in chinese food. I let it cook on high for about 6 hours (I put it together about 12:30 and we got home from running errands after work about 6:30). When we got home, I pulled the chicken out and shredded 2 breasts for the enchiladas. The chicken came out really well. It didn't have immediate heat but did have some spice to it. I set that aside and put the other 2 breasts in the fridge with some of the cooking liquid to keep it moist. I'll use that later.
For the enchiladas, I usually just use the recipe on the can of sauce. I've never made my own enchilada sauce, so if anyone has a good recipe, let me know. I've been wanting to try it from scratch for a while now. I usually put about half a can of sauce in the meat. I also took out some of the onions and chopped them up more to use in the meat mixture. The other half of the can goes in the bottom of the baking dish. I usually use corn tortillas. You soften the tortillas in some hot oil, then blot the excess away. Fill the enchiladas with some meat mixture and top with some cheese. Then roll and place the enchilada seam side down in the baking dish. Keep rolling until your pan is full. I have some meat mix left over, so I'll probably use that for taco filling later. Then I use another can of sauce and pour over the top. Then top with cheese and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.
I made a side of rice with my rice cooker. I used some of the reserved chicken cooking liquid to cook the rice in (why waste it, right?). I started it in the cooker just before the enchiladas went in the oven and they both finished at about the same time. However, the rice was REALLY SPICY!!! I like spicy, but I think if I use the same method next time, I'm going to cut it to about half chicken cooking liquid and half water, so it's not so intense. I had to send A out to the store to get some sour cream to cut the spicy factor.
As another side, I fished the carrots out of the cooking liquid to serve on the side. They have a little bit of spice to them, but are really good. It is a slow heat and doesn't get too intense with the carrots.
The chicken can (and will) be used in pretty much any way you would use poached chicken. I have a few casserole recipes that could probably benefit from a little more spice, as well as a topper for salads or for chicken-salad sandwiches.
The next time I make this, I'll make a few adjustments to adjust the spicy factor and write a follow-up post to this one.