A Successful Chicken Adventure

In Junior High I took my obligatory Home Economics Course whereupon I grasped the basics of cooking and sewing. Over time both skills have drastically diminished…you know what they say about practice? Well I haven’t been. I was once able to sew pajama pants, skirts etc. from a pattern (and thereby understood how a pattern worked) and now I can’t even hem a pair of pants. Trust me, I just BUTCHERED a pair of pants trying to hem them on Friday. I also used to know how to cook a few good recipes and bake some interesting things. Now unless it is a cookie (for I am a master of the cookie) it is probably cooked from a box or can and still burnt.

Over the long weekend, Husband and I went to my cousins wedding (Congrats to the new Mr & Mrs!) and we stayed at his aunts house. She loves cooking and knows a lot about it and so we discussed some various cooking techniques and she explained that she taught herself slowly by learning through books and blogs. It seemed to have lit a fire under mine and husbands ass to get back the Home Ec skills we have both forgotten….though more so me, husband is a really good cook-especially on the BBQ. We really want this baby that’s growing in the womb right now to be exposed to lots of different foods and lots of healthy foods. I would love to be able to sew him Halloween costumes and fix a hole in his pants. These are part of being a mom right? So when we got back from the wedding, we decided to scour through our various cookbooks for something new to try. We decided to make chicken enchiladas, something husband hasn’t ever had and something I haven’t had in years. I remembered to take some photos this time, are you proud of me?

So here’s how it went. The recipe is bold, my notes regular font.

Chicken Enchiladas in White Sauce

Oven: 350*F Makes 6 servings

1/4C Chopped Onion
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 4-ounce can diced green chile peppers, drained
1 3-ounce package of cream cheese softened
(To save you the conversion this is about a third of a block of cream cheese)
1 Tablespoon of milk
1/4 Teaspoon of ground cumin
2 Cups of chopped cooked Chicken
12 6-inch flour tortillas
1 can of cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
1 8-ounce carton of sour cream
(which works out to the small 250ml carton)
1 Cup of Milk
3/4 Cup of Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese

Our thoughts/Changes to the ingredient list.

  • If you have never eaten/bought green chile peppers you can find them in the grocery store by the Mexican food (taco seasonings and such)
  • We used all “light” “fat free” “skim” e.g. light cream cheese, skim milk, whole wheat tortilleas, light mushroom soup, fat free sour cream and light cheese. The flavour of the dish was still amazing!
  • If you don’t eat spicy don’t worry the chile peppers are really dulled by the dairy and I could barely taste them
  • I hate onions, we used them but not as much as suggested.
  • Although not economically the best option, we bought the Compliments package of tex-mex cheese. We plan to use the left over tortillas and cheese to make breakfast wraps! yum!

We headed off to the grocery store to get the few items we were missing. I have always known that a full chicken is substantially cheaper then buying a chicken breast but Sobeys put the two right beside each other and quite literally we could buy a whole chicken for $8.94 or 2 chicken breasts for $9.10. We bought the whole chicken.

IMG_0776copy

Now I’ve never really cut up a chicken before, when we buy the rotisserie ones from the grocery store we just kind of pick at them and that wasn’t an option here so I did my best to butcher the thing up. Considering the baby inside of me, the sound of the knife cutting through the bones in a couple places, peeling back the skin, seeing some of the really red bloody areas etc. didn’t bug me as much as I thought it would. I just kept thinking about how much more chicken I had acquired and the price I paid for it and kept hacking. We ended up making 3 full meals out of this but to start I specifically cut the breast out and then cubed it for the recipe.

Step 1
In a medium skillet cook the onion in hot butter over medium heat until the onion is tender. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the canned chile peppers; reserve the rest for the sauce

Remember how it was supposed to be cooked chicken? Well ours obviously wasn’t cooked. After I got the breasts out and cubed, husband cooked the chicken and onions until the chicken was no longer pink and the onions were soft. He removed it from heat and then put in the chili peppers.

skillet copy

Step 2
In a medium bowl stir together cream cheese, 1 tbsp. of milk and the cumin. Add the onions and chicken. Stir until combined. Spoon about 3 tbsp. of the chicken mixture onto each tortilla near the edge; roll up. Place filled tortillas seam sides down in a greased backing dish. Set aside.

The milk is not enough for the cream cheese to become sauce-like; it remained quite lumpy but once the chicken mixture was added and it was all cooked the lumps went away. I suck at rolling tortillas but we got the job done.

wraps copyStep 3
For sauce, combine reserved chile peppers, soup, sour cream, and 1 cup of milk. Pour evenly over the tortillas in the baking dish.

I used the kitchen aide mixer to mix the sauce cause I’m lazy. It took remained a bit lumpy from the soup but the lumps all disappeared after baking. You’ll notice the peppers look pretty big but I promise they cooked right down and you didn’t even notice them. If you want your enchiladas spicy I would recommend adding some fresh Jalapeno or Habanero as well. These were not hot at all!

Step 4
Cover with foil and bake at 350*F for about 35 minutes or until heated through. Remove foil. Sprinkle enchiladas with Monterey Jack Cheese. Return to oven and bake about 5 minutes more or until cheese melts.

This was pretty self-explanatory.

finished

Whaa-laa! Enchiladas. They were SOOOOO good and incredibly easy to make. I was really excited with how flavourful they were considering we made the recipe as healthy as possible. We bought a Mexican rice sidekick (for a $1 how do you go wrong?) and the rice complimented the enchiladas quite well. It was a DELICIOUS meal!

So what about the rest of the chicken?

I cut off the legs and wings and those went into a large ziplock bag which a bunch of random ingredients husband found (BBQ sauce, ketchup, seasoning etc.) Like I said he is awesome with the BBQ so he is really talented at making his own marinades and rubs I doubt he could even tell you what all went into it. The chicken soaked overnight and we had it for supper the next day with a salad. OMG it was good!

While hubby was making the marinade (and while the enchiladas were baking), I took the chicken carcass (which still had quite a bit of chicken on it) and put it in a pot with Chicken broth, water, onion and some seasoning (salt, pepper, and some other things husband suggested I add which I don’t really know what it entails…sorry!) We simmered the carcass in the broth water mixture for about 3 hours. Basically we left it simmering while the enchiladas cooked and we while we ate and cleaned up from them. We then drained the liquid into a bowl and left the chicken in the colander to cool off a bit. After a while, I went back and picked all the chicken off the carcass I could (this was ironically the part that made me nauseous….weird seeing as it was cooked now). The chicken was now obviously fully cooked and was just falling apart in my hands. I put all the pieces of chicken into the broth mixture and then loaded up the bones etc. into a grocery bag and took them out to the dumpster…wouldn’t want my cute puppy getting a hold of chicken bones!

We put the stock into the fridge. We plan on skimming some of the fat then cooking it up with some noodles, rice and carrots (we didn’t have any or I would have boiled them and some celery in the pot as well…the price I pay for not thinking ahead) to make a chicken noodle soup.

All in all I’m really proud of us. We made 3 really good meals (with leftovers) out of a $9 chicken. I just need to figure out how to cut one properly now.

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