I decided to try to “vegetarianize” this recipe and see how it would be. Did I just make that word up? I also left out anything spicy and gross, such as jalapeno peppers, salsa verde and cilantro. I used plain mild salsa instead of the salsa verde. Instead of the chicken, I used one bag of Quorn Tenders. I had wanted to use the Morningstar Farms Chik’n Strips, but my grocery store was out of them. With the Tenders, I warmed them up in a frying pan with some cooking spray until they started to brown. I let them cool for a few minutes, then put then in my food processor and shredded them. The only problem I had with this recipe was that the cream cheese must not have been soft enough, because when I tried to blend it in with the “chicken” mixture, it just wanted to clump. I just kept stirring it, and it eventually blended. This was good, but I feel like it was a lot of work to just be good. It didn’t wow me.
“Chicken” Enchilada Casserole
(Cooking Light, March 2011)
YIELD: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 3/4 cups)
TOTAL:1 HOURS, 5 MINUTES
4 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned (I used 1 bag of Quorn Tenders)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided (I omitted)
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chopped onion, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth (I used vegetarian “chicken” broth)
2/3 cup salsa verde (I used mild salsa)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeño pepper (I omitted)
9 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; sauté 4 minutes on each side. Place skillet in oven; bake at 425° for 10 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 15 minutes. Remove meat from bones; shred. Discard bones. Place chicken in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, corn, and next 5 ingredients (through black pepper) to chicken; toss to combine.
3. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup onion; sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 3 garlic cloves; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add onion mixture to chicken mixture; stir to combine.
4. Combine remaining 1 1/2 cups onion, remaining 3 garlic cloves, broth, salsa, 1/4 cup water, and jalapeño in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Carefully pour mixture into a blender; add 2 tablespoons cilantro. Process until smooth.
5. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tortillas; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Remove tortillas from pan; repeat procedure with remaining tortillas. Cut tortillas into quarters.
6. Spread 1/2 cup salsa mixture in the bottom of an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 12 tortilla quarters over salsa mixture. Spoon half of chicken mixture over tortillas. Repeat layers, ending with tortillas. Pour remaining salsa mixture over tortillas; sprinkle evenly with cheddar cheese. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Top with remaining cilantro.