Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Leftover Pulled Chicken Enchiladas

I have always lived with someone. First it was my family, then college dorms and college apartments, then a variety of post-college apartments and houses that most often came with a roommate. It those years I've had my fair share of wonderful, fun and perfect-for-me roommates. I've also had my fair share of non-cleaning, rude, inconsiderate roommates. So these last 6 months have been in a new experience for me, as I am doing something I've never done before:

Be roommate free!

It's a different feeling when someone doesn't yell at me for not doing dishes or leaving my stuff all around. Actually the good roommates understand and sometimes would do my dishes or put my stuff in my room for me. So I'm sad I don't have a good roommate but I'm glad I also don't have a bad roommate yelling at me for leaving my purse's insides all strewn about while I was searching for a certain something for 20 minutes.

Because I can get a little obsessed/crazed like that.

I currently reside in a 600 square feet, 1-bedroom apartment (yes, that measurement includes the lanai). It has been liberating to empty out my purse all over the place and not have to worry about it. However, the weirdest change is I've had to drastically reduce how much I cook, as in volume. I use to live with other professionals, which meant a full house of working-full-time-plus-the-overtime-you-don't-get-paid-but-expected-to-work people. As such, leftovers were always welcome after a 12 hour workday. It use to be whenever I cooked I always wanted to fill the largest storage container and stash it in the fridge. Now I'm living alone. I have to adjust down the measurements or end up eating turkey chili for every meal... 2 weeks straight.

In the adjustment period the first thing I learned was to re-purpose my leftovers, since I hate throwing good food away. In this case 2 lbs of chicken breast in the last recipe turned out to be a pulled chicken overload. So I had to change it up. And enchiladas are the perfect leftover user upper.

Leftover Pulled Chicken Enchiladas
1 lb leftover pulled chicken (or you can use any leftovers you have such as beef or pork)
1 can of pinto beans (or black, or kidney)
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
10-12 corn tortillas
1 large can enchilada sauce (or homemade about 3 cups)
1 cup of cheese (or more)
Taco Bar Garnishes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix together the chicken, beans, corn and cilantro. Get a baking sheet and pour 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom to prevent sticking.

I was in front of a massive grill that was still hot so I threw all the tortillas on there and gave them a 30 second grill on each side. Alternatively, you can heat tortillas by wrapping in a moist paper towel and microwaving for 1-2 minute(s) until they are soft and pliable. 

Take a heaping tablespoon of the chicken mix, put it into the  warm tortilla and roll into a cigar shape. Place seam side down in the baking dish.  Do this until the baking dish is outta space or you run out of filling.

Pour the enchilada sauce over the top. Make sure to wet all areas of the corn tortillas. Top with cheese and stick in the oven.

Bake 20-30 minutes until the cheese is all melted, everything should look golden brown and delicious.

Pull out of the oven and let rest for 15-30 minutes. This is important unless you want tortilla to fall apart while you are scooping it out. It will still taste good, but it will look like a pile o' mess. If you are like me you will spend hours picking at the burnt cheese in the corners of the pan, because I had some spare time.

My choice of garnishes are fresh cilantro, a dollop of greek yogurt and some diced avocado while the enchiladas are still hot out of the oven. But the leftovers I took to work for lunch were plain and just as delicious.

Note: you can make this ahead and freeze it. Or make 2 and freeze 1. Or make 1 and portion it into lunch containers and freeze for work. If you can't tell already this is a great freezable recipe.

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