Chicken Enchiladas (eat one casserole and freeze the other!)

25 Reviews / 4.5 Average
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The key to making this dish “real food” is ensuring that the corn tortillas you use are 100% whole-grain. Reading food labels can be confusing as it is, but trying to figure out what products are truly 100% whole-grain is especially hard. Very few food labels say “whole corn” as the main ingredient so you either have to keep looking or make the tortillas yourself (with Masa Harina and a tortilla press). I’ve searched grocery stores high & low and was able to find one brand of corn tortillas that proudly states they are made with “whole corn.” They are located in the freezer section of Earth Fare next to the other frozen breads products and they are called: Food for Life Sprouted Corn Tortillas.
Chicken Enchiladas from 100 Days of Real Food

Chicken Enchiladas

Adapted from Rachael Ray on foodnetwork.com. Eat one casserole and freeze the other!
25 Reviews / 4.5 Average
Prep Time: 10 mins
Baking Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Print Recipe
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients
  

Optional Toppings / Add-Ons

  • sour cream
  • cilantro
  • avocado
  • guacamole

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
  • Wrap corn tortillas in foil and warm in the oven while you prepare everything else.
  • Shred cooked chicken using forks. Mix in 3 tablespoons tomato paste, ½ cup grated cheese, rice, frozen corn kernels (no need to defrost them), 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 1 teaspoon ground cumin.
  • For the sauce combine 3 cups tomato sauce, cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder and heat through, keeping warm until needed.
  • Remove tortillas from oven and switch on broiler to high. Now with most enchilada recipes you have to individually wrap up each tortilla with the filling, but why go through all of that effort when you can just layer it like lasagne and the end result still tastes the same?
  • Using two separate square baking dishes ( or 2 round baking dishes) start to distribute the ingredients in the following order: 1. Sauce (spread a little out on bottom of baking dishes), 2. Tortilla layer (I used 2 for each tortilla layer), 3. About a quarter of chicken mixture (for each dish), 4. More sauce, 5. Another tortilla layer, 6. The rest of chicken mixture, 7. Another tortilla layer, 8. The last of the sauce, 9. Grated cheese on top.
  • Now, for the extra casserole that you are going to freeze go ahead and stop here. Cover it, label it, and throw it into the freezer. When you decide to defrost it later then you can pick things back up with the last broiling step below (after it has been defrosted).
  • Put the casserole under the broiler and broil for about 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and it is heated through.
    Serve with cilantro, avocado/guacamole and enjoy!

Notes

We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
Chicken Enchiladas
Amount Per Serving
Calories 600 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 38mg13%
Sodium 1333mg58%
Potassium 1187mg34%
Carbohydrates 94g31%
Fiber 11g46%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 23g46%
Vitamin A 1660IU33%
Vitamin C 18.8mg23%
Calcium 428mg43%
Iron 5.1mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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150 thoughts on “Chicken Enchiladas (eat one casserole and freeze the other!)”

  1. 5 stars
    All 4 adults and 2 of the 12 children ate it, left out the corn (dietary restriction) reduced cayenne to 1/2 tsp. Baked covered on 350 for 25 minutes. Next time I will leave out the cayenne entirely.

  2. Pork carnitas instead of chicken::
    I’ve made this many times and keep frozen cooked brown rice in the freezer to speed up prep time. This time I used leftover pork carnita from this site (btw is super easy and oh so delicious) instead of chicken. I didn’t add any spices to the meat mix just the tomato sauce. I also made extra corn tortillas (from this site as well) to make this casserole. Prep time was total about 5 minutes using those already made ingredients. It was super yummy with the pork as well!

    Note: I always bake it at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until bubbly with broiling a few more minutes after I’ve taken off the foil and added cheese. I am usually using cold ingredients when assembling so just broiling doesn’t heat through.

  3. 4 stars
    I don’t have time to read through all the threads to see if this has already been asked, but what size pans do you use? I used a couple 9X13 pans and they were too big. I did not have as many layers as you did, nor did I have enough filling to make the two pans complete. But it was very delicious!! I only put 1 tsp cayenne in, because my kids don’t like a lot of spice, but they still found it spicy, but liked it!

    1. Please note that counting only calories is not a way of healthy eating. But if you want to know it, I checked it it for you. Estimated amounts without optional ingredients:
      – whole recipe: 4082 kcal
      – 100g of recipe: 146 kcal
      – 1oz of recipe: 41 kcal

  4. 1 star
    Very disappointed. I made this last night and it was just awful. I am not sure what I did wrong. It basically came out tasting like hot tomato. No other seasonings were detectable. The chicken and sauce were so bland. No idea what I did wrong. I followed the instructions to the last letter. :(

  5. This is a very yummy recipe and we do prefer it without the cinnamon. My question is what are the directions for baking the frozen one? I want to give to a cousin that just had twins, but not sure what directions to give her. Thanks!

  6. Is the sauce supposed to have 1 1/2 teaspoons of chili powder or cayenne pepper? The ingredients list has cayenne pepper, but then it says chili powder in the directions. Thanks!

  7. 3 stars
    Wish I would have left out the cinnamon. The recipe was okay with it but I feel like it could have been really good without it.

  8. 5 stars
    I omitted the cinnamon and made one batch with chicken and one batch with ground meat. Both were AMAZING! My kids have NEVER liked enchiladas…until now!

  9. 5 stars
    We had these enchiladas for dinner tonight and we are hooked! Instead of rice, I used bell peppers, onions, and black beans to boost the protein and veggies. AMAZING!

    Instead of making my own tortillas, I picked up Tortilla Land gluten free fresh uncooked corn tortillas from Costco. They fit the 5 ingredient rule and only took about 1 minute each to cook.

  10. This was a good recipe and my family and I enjoyed it even though we’re not big Mexican food eaters. Only complaint was a lot of prep (had to cook rice and chicken ahead of time). At least I have another meal for later! My question is how long and what temp. can I cook it in the oven instead of broiling? It was luke warm when it came out of the oven. I had the chicken mixture and sauce warmed up but by the time it was put together and put in the oven it was cool. Thanks!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Susan. I’m not sure because we’ve not made it that way. My guess would be that you could bake it for 10-15 minutes or so at 375 and have it fully warmed through.

    2. I keep cooked rice and shredded chicken in the freezer to use in recipes like this — it really cuts down on the prep time!

  11. 5 stars
    I just tried this recipe and am completely new to Organic/Clean eating. I used 4 cans of tomato sauce and omitted the cinnamon. Besides those minor adjustments, this turned out FANTASTIC! My husband (of 7 years) said this was the best meal I’ve ever cooked. We served it with leftover Pinto Beans we had and topped it off with Sour Cream and Cilantro! SOOO good! My husband was happy when I told him we have another serving in the freezer for later use! :)

  12. I have the masa & press, and can’t get into the taste of those tortillas. I think I’ve been ruined by the commercial ones! I keep making them, and forcing them down, but just can’t get into them. Any ideas as to what I can add to improve the flavor? Anyone?

    1. Are you using enough salt? What about the fat you are using? Try a little lard or leftover bacon grease. FYI I don’t believe in a low fat diet, in case you can’t tell.

  13. I’m excited to try this recipe but I have one question: When using the tortillas to layer instead of roll up, have you ever rolled them out in a rectangle (with a rolling pin), instead of the normal circle (with tortilla press)? Obviously, this requires making the tortillas from scratch (which are the best!!!)

    I made kale and corn tortillas this week (thanks Fresh20) and thought how nice it would be to make a sort of lasagne layer instead of rolling.It may be great.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Kelsey. Let’s assume that 4 chicken breast would be about 1-1.5 lbs. I’d go with about the same. ~Amy

  14. 5 stars
    This was amazing! Made it last night, we live in south Texas and like lots of kick to our food so I used 3 tsp of cayenne. Thanks again for this wonderful blog!

  15. I am definitely going to try this recipe, but I just wanted to say that the sprouted corn tortillas mentioned above are sooo delicious! They are a bit pricey, but worth every penny.

  16. We are on day 21 of real food and this is our favorite recipe so far!

    We made a half batch because there are only two of us.

    Here is the nutritional information if you are interested:
    Per serving:
    Calories: 439.29
    Carbs: 29.47
    Fat: 16.57
    Protein: 28
    Fiber: 5.25
    Sugar: .9

    Excellent meal before a long bike ride!

  17. 5 stars
    This was so, so yummy!!!! It tasted like we were at a restaurant. My husband and 3 boys devoured it, and I was happy to report that there was another pan in the freezer.

  18. 4 stars
    I liked this recipe a lot, all except the cinnamon. The smell threw me off. My husband thought it was “too tomatoey” but my kids loved it. I guess if you’re not a tomato lover, it’s not the recipe for you. It tasted better leftover for lunch than it did straight out of the oven, IMO. I served it with the refried beans recipe from this website. I can’t wait to eat the other casserole.

  19. What a great recipe! I’ll definitely be making this again! I only had 3 chicken breasts, and I was worried that it might seem like it’s missing something in those layers, so I chopped up a small green pepper. This was very easy to make, and it tastes great. Thank you so much for the excellent recipes and tips. This blog really helps me change my cooking habits for the better. :)

  20. Yummmmmmm! I’m new at clean eating. I’m also new at cooking. This turned out so delicious. I went easy on all the spices…but nxt. Time I will add more. I’m a timid cook :)

  21. 5 stars
    I made this last fall and have been craving it. I baked it last time for about 20 minutes and then ate it for a few days in a row (I did not tire of it). Half of it was cut into single servings and went into individual freezer bags. I kept taking out a piece every week or so and now I am out. I’m going to make it again this week. This is addicting! I love it and the cinnamon adds “real” Mexican flavor.

  22. 4 stars
    I was doubtful because the list of ingredients was so simple, but they turned out excellent! I added refried beans to the chicken mixture. I also used my pressure cooker to cook the chicken. And I love that I made an extra meal, on a weeknight no less! Thank you!

  23. 4 stars
    This was simple and great! I, too, cooked it on 350 for 20 mins. I put sour cream and jalapeños on it and served with a fresh salad. I especially loved that I now have one in the freezer for the holiday break!

  24. I made this for my family tonight! We LOVED IT!!! My hubby even went back for seconds. I am so excited to know there is another waiting for us in the freezer. We added jalapeño jack cheese to the top. So yummy!!! Thank you for all you do!

  25. As above mentioned just wanted to let y’all know I used orange pepper instead of corn and added pinto beans. Only bc I didn’t have any corn on hand and needed to use up my pepper! Turned out great.

  26. 5 stars
    I saw that someone asked about substituting ground beef. I’d like to try it and was wondering if you would substitute the same amount of ground beef as chicken (or more or less)???

  27. We loved this the first time around, and I just pulled the frozen second casserole out of the freezer for dinner tonight. What’s the best way to defrost it before broiling it? I’m guessing I just need to throw it in the oven for awhile, but I’m not sure of the time/temp combo that will work best for this…

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Danielle. Sorry, but we are rarely able to get through all comments in real time. We typically thaw our dishes overnight in the fridge. For cooking a frozen casserole, my rule of thumb is to cover it the first half of its cook time and uncover for the rest. ~Amy

  28. Had to tell you how good this is. I made mine in glass pans and just baked it at 400 for about 15 min. It was just great. I can see this with onion, olives, beans or corn. I’ll be making these again, but since I made the extra one, we have one anytime we want!

  29. Just made this and it was great. I couldn’t use my broiler so I stuck it in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 and it turned out perfect. Wishing I did make the extra casserole to freeze, definitely will next time. Thanks!

  30. 5 stars
    I made these today and baked them in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes. We are vegetarian, so I substituted 2c of pinto beans for the chicken. Turned out wonderful!

  31. Made this tonight and my family loved it, even my 3 year old and 1.5 year old.
    Thanks for the menu plan and recipe ideas, it’s really helped me get more organized with healthy meal plans and i love the Food For Life tortillas :)

  32. 4 stars
    These were amazing! My husband didn’t know quite what to think of the cinnamon but the rest of us were in love. Will certainly make this as a regular meal though I may play around with different spices besides the cinnamon.

  33. Lisa,

    My glass pan recommends you not use it under a broiler. Can this recipe be done with the oven setting, and if so, what you recommend — 350 for 30 minutes?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Leslie. We’ve not tried this recipe that way. If you do, please let us know how it turns out. ~Amy

  34. What size containers do you recommend for this recipe? An two 8 x 8 square pans or maybe two pie sized circular dishes?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Rachel. As Lisa mentioned, either should work fine. I’ve used square and rectangle. ~Amy

  35. Just finished eating these for dinner and they were great! I made the whole wheat tortillas for the first time and they worked perfect in this recipe. I’m really enjoying so many of your recipes and my husband is now on board with eliminating processed foods. Thanks for helping us find great meals that we feel good about eating.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Lauren. We do not typically provide serving size information but I can tell you that my vegetarian version of this serves recipe serves 6-8. ~Amy

  36. Britney Bouldin

    5 stars
    Made these last night. Super easy. Super yummy. Husband loved. 6 y/o who has a history of hating corn tortillas and is obsessed with flour tortillas ate two servings. 3 y/o who has a long history of refusing to eat dinner (literally has gone to bed hungry every night for a year unless we have pizza) ate all of her portion with minimal complaints. This is HUGE! First real success moment with dinner and it happened with whole real food. Mommy could cry! Thank you Lisa and team :)

  37. 5 stars
    Made this tonight, it was amazing! Better than going out to eat at a Mexican restaurant! Even my kids and 19 month loved it. I added black beans and onions, and used flour tortillas, only cause kids don’t like corn tortillas. Would highly recommend! Thank you!

  38. Just came across your site and love all of the information! I use as much non-processed food in our family meals as possible and am excited to try some of your new recipes. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on rice and the recent information on it containing arsenic. We used to eat rice a lot until I heard about that. Unfortunately, I read that whole grain rice had even higher levels of arsenic than plain white rice. Not sure if organic rice is safe or if you have any other ideas. I like this recipe but was hesitant because it called for rice.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Aimee. I hear your concern. There is so much conflicting information out there. A great substitution for rice is quinoa and it is wonderfully nutritious! Maybe giving quinoa a try will help ease the worry. ~Amy

  39. 4 stars
    I just made this last night, my hubby and I loved it! I made my own corn tortillas using King Arthur Masa Harina and we have extras in the freezer. Thanks Lisa!

  40. I made this dish 3 times. It has become one of my go to weeknight meals. It is so easy and a great use for leftover chicken breasts. It is equally as good the next day even when microwaved.

  41. 5 stars
    I am in the midst of eating this right now! Made it tonight for dinner. DELICIOUS!!! The cinnamon just brings it all together. My 3 yr. old asked for seconds which is rare! My picky eater said it was alright, but my teenager, myself and my husband loved it!

  42. Hi! I’m loving all the great information and recipes provided on the site, like this one. I was wondering what the portion size was this dish? Also, nutritional information would be great for those of us trying to keep track of the calories we are consuming. Thanks so much!

  43. 4 stars
    I made this tonight and it was pretty easy to make and I thought it was really good. I put some medium Wholly Salsa on top. I would definitely make it again.

  44. 4 stars
    I liked everything but the sauce. It was too sweet, and pretty bland for our tastes, even though it was spicy enough with the cayenne. I’m from Texas though, so I’m used to Tex-Mex. I will probably sub salsa next time, or play around with another red sauce (or maybe sour cream sauce). The chicken filling was so good!

  45. My oven has a seperate drawer for broiling and its not very deep. What temp do you recommend for cooking it in the oven without using the broiler?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Leslie. I freeze mine in a pyrex with no problem. I would just wait until everything has cooled down first. Jill

  46. Jennifer Eulberg

    I made this for dinner last night and it was awesome! My almost 2 yr old scarfed it down and was looking for more! It did take a while to prepare, but it was so worth the effort. We’re going hard core with the ‘october Unprocessed’ challenge and if all our meals were this tasty, it will be a breeze to stick to it!

  47. I made these last night & they were great! Everyone enjoyed them. I have half in the freezer for another dinner! I had a little extra filling but no tortillas left, so I grated a little cheese over top & warmed it for my lunch & it was still great! Thank you for all your efforts into a great site.

  48. This is absolutely amazing! Made it tonight with the homemade whole wheat tortillas (refrigerated from earlier in the week). My husband can’t stop raving, my 2-year-old is scarfing it down and i’m watching the leftovers i planned on disappear! I’ve been using the recipes on this site a lot in the past couple weeks and love the resources to move toward more real food!

  49. Just a note that I also found corn tortillas with ingredients listed as “whole corn, water, lime” – the 365 brand (store brand) at Whole Foods.

  50. I wanted to stop by and leave a comment that I was able to find some whole grain tortillas.
    The brand is Casa Valdez and in the ingredients it says “Whole grain corn, water and trace of lime.”
    I think it helped that they are based in Caldwell, ID which is pretty local.

  51. I’ve been making meals off your meal plans for the last two weeks and this has been our favorite so far. I left out the corn and only used 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and that was spicy enough for me :) I’m so happy that I have another one of these in the freezer for a future meal. Thanks for the site and the great recipes!

  52. Just made this recipe tonight and my husband and I loved it! I halved everything (but followed all ingredients/instructions as written) and just made one dish to try it out and see if we liked it. I will definitely be making this again – 2 separate dishes so I can freeze one to have on hand next time. It’s a must-try!

  53. I made this recipe tonight. It was delicious! I put it all together in a big dish and baked at 350 for 15 minutes. Super good! Thanks for the yummy recipes! I also made the Jambalaya the other night and it was a huge hit with my husband! I agree with a previous post somewhere in your recipes: When is a cookbook coming out?? :)

  54. This is a delicious recipe. I love using cinnamon in the Mexican recipes you post (Fajitias). It gives a pleasant and unique flavoring to the food. Thanks for sharing!

  55. We made these the other night for dinner and they were delicious!! I’ve made enchiladas before, but they were always just okay. This recipe is a keeper! Thank you so much for posting healthy and delicious recipes!

  56. I’ve been loving all your recipes and ideas. Thank you. I made the homemade corn tortillas tonight and I realize now they were too sticky so I’ll try adding a bit more masa harina next time. We found the enchiladas to be too spicy. Would you suggest that I simply cut all the spice measurements in half? Would love other recipes for the corn tortillas.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I wouldn’t cut all the spices in half…just the chili powder and cayenne pepper. Or alternatively you could leave out the cayenne pepper all together and keep everything else the same.

  57. lisa, im curious as to what kind of tortilla press you have. as were eating healthy, i am finding i don’t have these helpful tools in my kitchen. i am starting my “wants” list such as a breadmaker and a tortilla press. :)

    1. Catherine, I was wondering what size dish as well. I’m an amateur, so I’m not good at eyeballing and deciding. Guess it’ll be trial and error. :)

  58. I just made the crock pot chicken! It turned out great, I can see how versatile this recipe is. I can’t wait to try it with some lemon and Rosemary! YUM! I’m going to try to make this tomorrow! As well as some chicken stock! I can’t wait!

  59. I just found your site and am so excited to try this recipe tonight! Thanks for all the great information and experience.

    For the commenter above – I use Pyrex (or Anchor, anything glass with plastic fitted cover) for casseroles and they go from freezer to oven with no problem, and no waste like disposables.

  60. What kind of pan do you use that can go from freezer to oven? I had been doing dinner station and this is pretty much where it stopped. We used disposable pans, but I would prefer something more earth friendly…

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I agree it is not earth-friendly, but the disposable aluminum pans with a plastic tight-fitting lid are convenient for freezing casseroles. You could maybe reuse them once or twice.

  61. Hey Lisa, Which whole grain corn tortillas do you use, or do you make your own? If you make your own do you have a great recipe? Thanks!

  62. Hey there, long time reader and lurker here with my first comment! My only daughter is getting married to her lovely mexican boyfriend soon, and I’m tasked with preparing the wedding party! I thought enchiladas would be a good idea, so trying to find some good enchilada recipes. What do you think? Any other suggestions?? Anyway, thanks for your hard work as ever… I’ll try to comment a little more on future posts.

  63. I think I’ve found some corn tortillas that are whole grain…The brand is “Food For Life” and they’re called sprouted corn tortillas. Ingredients list: organic sprouted corn, filtered water, sea salt, lime. I wasn’t sure what “sprouted corn” meant, but from what I’ve read it seems like it’s whole grain. Have you come across this in your research at all??

  64. I was at an International Market here in GA last night and I found corn tortillas, the brand is El Milagro, with the ingredients of just 3 things:

    1- Stone Ground Corn
    2- Water
    and
    3- Lime (Calcium Hydroxide)

    It was a pack of 36 for only $1.29

    Edit:
    Right before posting this I saw you said that it needed to be whole corn. I went on this company’s website, and it says:

    ‘Quality is a word that is not used lightly at El Milagro. From the beginning, we have always made the best tortillas that we know how. Our corn tortillas start with whole kernel corn that is carefully selected and ground in our plant – we never use pre-processed corn flour.’

    So is this a good thing or a bad thing? Do I need to be leery of this brand? Please do let me know if you can! I dont have a phone else I would call the company directly right now to figure this out o.o

    Company’s site is here: http://el-milagro.com/main.html

    1. I am finding that corn tortillas (and corn flour) are incredibly tricky to figure out if they are whole grain. The problem is that the corn flour often used to make corn tortillas (which is called Masa Harina) does not say “whole grain” on the package, although the whole grains council technically considers it to be whole grain. I don’t see anything that says whole corn or masa harina on the website you sent…did you see this page with contact numbers? http://el-milagro.com/contacts.html

  65. Oh, wow! So glad you know this information. Thank you for replying and hopefully you/me/someone can figure out a tasty whole corn tortilla recipe or solution! :)

    1. Also, check out this article I just posted that might provide a little more info on cooking with whole grain corn: http:// thefoodillusion.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/understanding-grains-corn- wheat-multi-grain-etc/

  66. I am going crazy over all your incredible recipes and advice!!! Question: could you substitute the corn tortillas with the homemade wheat tortillas?

    1. Yes, I think you could although authentic enchiladas are made with corn instead of flour tortillas. I actually just got some new info about corn tortillas though, and I am probably going to have to change that part of this recipe. As entrenched as we are in this topic these corn tortillas are one of the half a dozen or so things that we did not initially realize are refined. The first ingredient says “ground corn” and apparently it needs to say “whole corn” if it were actually made with the whole grain. Sounds like I am going to have to work on a corn tortilla recipe that I will post soon!

  67. Recipe review: the enchiladas came out great and delicious! I never thought there would be such a thing as a healthy enchilada. I can now eat these without guilt.

  68. This looks so yummy! I can’t wait to try it. I’ve tried your quiche and and making the pizza crust this weekend. Love these recipes you keep coming up with!

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