By the time you read this, I will be back from spending a couple of days bopping around New York City with a friend.
There will be lots of meals I don't have to cook, lots of gallivanting the night away. But as I'm writing this, I am in the throes of vacation prep. How will I fit everything into one suitcase? What subway line do I take from the airport? How soon can I get my hands on a slice of pizza?
To make my life easier when I return, I am also making it a priority to cook meals now that I can eat later.
I don't always do this. In fact, I hardly do this to such a thoughtful degree. But I know my wallet is going to take a hit on this trip, and I know I will be very thankful to my past self when I come home to a freezer full of food.
So I turned to something that keeps well but still has the wholesome and comforting taste I will crave after a week of traveling: enchiladas.
You can do this one of two ways. Since everything you are putting inside of the enchilada is cooked, you can prep the enchiladas ahead of time and put the dish directly in the freezer, thawing when you get home and then cooking in the oven according to the recipe below.
Or — and this is what I usually do to save even more time when I actually want to eat — you can make the entire recipe, let the dish cool, then freeze the enchiladas until you need them.
The tortillas themselves don't suffer much in the freezing process, because they're already drenched in sauce and cheese and goodness.
About that sauce. I made my own from scratch, partly because I already had some canned chipotle chiles in my pantry and partly because you know how I feel about processed ingredients.
I had never made it this way before, using whole canned chiles and then pureeing the ingredients to form a thick sauce, but the flavor is bold and exquisite. I highly recommend doubling the recipe and freezing it in a couple of batches for the next time you get an enchilada craving.
That is something Future Jet-Lagged Michelle will definitely appreciate.
Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas
- For the sauce: 1 onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 to 5 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped, plus 1-2 teaspoons of adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- For the enchiladas: 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
- 2 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt
- 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast
- 1 cup corn
- 6 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup minced jalapeno, for garnish
- Make the sauce: Saute onion in olive oil until tender in a medium or large pot. Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute (or until fragrant).
- Add remaining ingredients and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender or regular blender to blend until smooth. If too thick, add ¼ cup water. Let cool then refrigerate, or use right away in this recipe.
- To prepare enchiladas: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large (like 7 -by -11-inch) baking dish with cooking spray.
- Combine beans and yogurt in a small bowl.
- Spread about ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce in the baking dish. Working with one tortilla at a time, place in the dish then top with a sixth of the bean mixture, using the back of a spoon to spread it thin. Scatter some chicken and corn on top of the beans, then carefully roll the tortilla over onto itself and place seam-side down in the dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and ingredients.
- Cover the tortillas with remaining sauce, cheddar cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Bake the enchiladas until hot and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with jalapeno and more Greek yogurt, if desired. Makes 6.