Alright, I’ll be the first to admit that Mexican-inspired food is usually not my first choice. It’s not that I dislike all Mexican food, and I’m certain that if/when I travel to Mexico and experience the fresh local flavors of the region my opinions will be altered; I just tend to avoid the greasiness that prevails at many “Mexican” restaurants, and also find myself gravitating especially toward Italian/Mediterranean, Spanish, and Southern flavors. In fact, when I make quesadillas, they almost invariably end up featuring sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic (–> Balsamic Gouda Chicken Quesadilla <–) or BBQ sauce.
BUT, this doesn’t mean I don’t adore a good wholesome enchilada loaded up with the works: brown rice and tomatoes, black beans, sweet peppers, tender chicken, spicy homemade sauce, and melty cheese.
Yep, I can work with that.
It’s great to be able to control the spice level (my tongue can only handle so much heat), leave out unnecessary grease and additives, and pack in maximum flavor, texture, and nutrients–they’re 100% whole grain, veggie-heavy, and full of lean protein (and cheese, which in my opinion should be considered a superfood, right?) Either way, you can splurge on rich Mexican comfort and feel good about every bite!
These are also really simple to throw together. I know store-bought enchilada sauce is tempting, but trust me; this homemade sauce is ridiculously easy, delicious, and customizable. Try it and see!
Finally, for the cheese, I used Sargento Tastings Smoky Chipotle Cheddar Jack, and it is incredible if you want a little extra kick! To keep it milder, or if you can’t find Sargento Tastings, any combo of cheddar, Monterey jack, or a Mexican blend will work great.
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 - 1 tsp chile powder
- pinch sea salt*
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp ground cumin
- pinch cayenne powder (opt.)
- 2 Tbsp canned crushed tomatoes with juice**
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 3 Tbsp uncooked brown rice
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup canned crushed or diced tomatoes
- ~1/2 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
- ~2 Tbsp chopped red onion
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 4 oz boneless skinless chicken breast, uncooked
- 2 medium whole grain tortillas
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1.5 oz Mexican cheese***
- Heat oil in a small saucepan or skillet. Stir in cornstarch and chile powder (about 30 sec), then remaining spices, 2 Tbsp crushed tomatoes/juice (or tomato sauce), and 1/2 cup broth. Bring to a light simmer and cook about 5-8 minutes, or until thickened.
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Add the rice, 1/3 cup broth, crushed or diced tomatoes, chopped bell pepper, onion, and garlic to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 25 minutes, until rice is tender.
- Meanwhile, cook chicken if not already cooked (although rotisserie or leftovers would be great). Heat a nonstick skillet coated with a little oil over medium heat. Add chicken, sprinkle with a pinch salt and pepper, and cook on each side until done. Cool, then use hands to shred.
- Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave 20-30 seconds. In the front third of each, layer shredded chicken with a squirt of lime juice, rice/veggies, a sprinkle of cheese, beans, and a couple spoonfuls of sauce. Roll, cut in half (if desired), and place in a foil-lined baking dish. Top with remaining sauce and cheese.
- Bake at 350º for about 20 minutes. Serve with plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.
- *Increase to 1/8 tsp if using unsalted or low sodium broth
- **Or 2 Tbsp canned tomato sauce
- ***Sargento Tastings Smoky Chipotle Cheddar Jack, or some combination of cheddar, Monterrey jack, colby jack, and/or pepper jack