Chicken Enchiladas with Sonoran Red Sauce

Surprise! Enchiladas can be a healthy part of your diet. Chef Mary’s light version will have your taste buds singing—you won’t even miss the extra fat and cholesterol.

Chicken Enchiladas, Healthy Recipes

Yield: 12 enchiladas

Cooking time: 60 minutes; 40 when sauce and chicken are prepared ahead of time


aerosol-free cooking spray

1 lb. skinless and boneless chicken breast or thigh meat

1 tsp. granulated garlic powder dash salt – optional

1 10‑oz. package (12) organic or regular corn tortillas  

2 cups (8 oz.) grated reduced-fat cheddar and/or Monterey Jack cheese    

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced (5 to 6 stalks)

10 thinly sliced medium to large ripe olives ‑ optional

1 recipe Sonoran Red Enchilada Sauce (See recipe below.)


1. Remove visible fat from chicken with sharp knife. Bring 2½ cups water, garlic powder, and salt to a boil in a medium sauce pan; add chicken, cover pan, and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove chicken from stock and set aside to cool. Cover stock and set aside for enchilada sauce.

2.  Prepare enchilada sauce, set aside. After chicken has cooled, shred into small pieces and set aside.

3.  To assemble enchiladas:  Preheat oven to 350 F. Pour 2 cups of sauce into a 13‑ by 9‑inch baking dish. Heat skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Cook tortillas 30 to 60 seconds per side (do not overcook). Lightly re-spray skillet every 3 or 4 tortillas. Stack tortillas and cover with a towel until ready to fill.  

4. Add tortillas to dish one at a time, coating both sides in sauce. Place ¼ cup cheese, one tbsp. chopped onion, and 1/3 cup chicken in center of tortilla and roll up, arranging side by side, seam side down in dish.

5. Add sauce to baking dish as needed. When dish becomes too full, dip tortillas in sauce pan and make on top of each other. Evenly pour 1½ to 2 cups of remaining sauce over enchiladas. Do not immerse; enchiladas will become soggy. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes or until bubbling.

6. While baking; re-heat sauce over medium until hot, stirring frequently. Remove foil from enchiladas, top with a little more sauce, and sprinkle with remaining cheese, green onions, and olives. Return enchiladas to oven and bake uncovered for 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Related: Thirty 15-Minute Healthy Meals For Busy Weeknights

Cooks’ Note:  Extra sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days or served hot with enchiladas.

Nutrition Information: 12 enchiladas made with breast meat and 1/3 cup sauce 125 Calories; 5 grams total fat; 7g Carbohydrate; 1g Fiber; 14g Protein; 23mg Cholesterol; 335 mg Sodium

Nutrition Information: 12 enchiladas made with thigh meat and 1/3 cup sauce 140 Calories; 7 grams total fat; 8g Carbohydrate; 1g Fiber; 13g Protein; 40mg Cholesterol; 335 mg Sodium     

Sonoran Red Enchilada Sauce

Yield: 6 cups or 18 1/3 cup servings

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Reserved Chicken Stock and water equaling 5 cups total liquid

3 oz. tomato paste (½ a 6 oz. can)

½ cup unbleached or whole wheat flour

2 to 3 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or minced  

2 tbsp. low-sodium chicken soup base  

½ tsp. salt

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. granulated garlic powder

3 to 5 tbsp. of fresh ground chile powder

1.  Pour 3 cups cool or warm liquid (stock or water) into a 4‑quart saucepan. Adding about 1/3 of the flour at a time, rapidly whisk into liquid until smooth. Liquid and flour, whisked together is a “Slurry.”

2.  Add remaining ingredients to slurry and cook on medium heat, whisking often, until sauce reaches a low boil and begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally.

3.  Remove sauce from heat and adjust seasonings if necessary. Cover and set aside until ready to use.  As sauce cools it thickens. If too thick, thin with a little water or stock, if necessary.

Nutritional Information: 1/3 cup servings at 24 Calories; 0g Fat; 5g Carbohydrate; 1g Fiber; 1g Protein; 0mg Cholesterol; 170mg Sodium  

Related: Carne Asada with Salsa Verde Fresca


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