Here we are in March and I’ll bet some of you (like me) made a few mental notes of things we want to accomplish this year! You notice I didn’t use the word “resolutions”. Whether we wrote it down or kept it in our heads, many of us resolved to lose a few pounds or to at least eat healthier. These low calorie Chicken Enchiladas are now on our menu because they not only taste delicious, but they are easy on the waistline too!
Wait – did I mention that they are DELICIOUS?? Oh my word. Mexican food is a huge weakness for me so I wanted to find a recipe that I could fall back on in times of utter “cheesy longing”. They definitely help curb that craving and I don’t feel like I have blown the whole day with one meal.
Now I am not a “fat gram” counter. Too many studies have proven that we need some fat in our diets – and there is good fat and bad fat. While I have never officially subscribed to a “diet plan”, I know that a diet with protein (eggs, nuts) and some fat is more beneficial than trying to just do zero fat and low calories. So you won’t ever find me using “fat free” butter or cheese. I just use less butter and low fat cheese and then I skip sugar and processed foods (chips, etc) when I want to drop a few pounds. I also don’t care for soda and I am a huge water drinker so that helps too.
I came across this recipe in a copy of Cooking Light magazine a year or so ago and adjusted it quite a bit and it it is now one that I have pretty much memorized and make often for my family. These Enchiladas are super easy to make, and one serving has 375-400 calories so it’s a perfect option for lunch or dinner and won’t leave you feeling like you skimped on a meal. You’ll be able to print the recipe below and here are the basics.
First, I started with chicken breast tenders. A split chicken breast is fine too, but the tenders happened to be BOGO so I was all over that since I love saving money on groceries. I boiled the chicken in some water and fat-free chicken stock with some onions and garlic cloves.
Once those were cooked, I removed the chicken and discarded the onion and garlic, setting aside the stock in a sauce pan. Delicious, salsa verde (green sauce) gets added to the stock and brought to a boil. There are plenty of recipes out there to make fresh salsa verde with tomatillos and I may try that one day, but we buy large tubs of the stuff at our Produce market. Salsa verde is So. Good.
And it actually IS fat free and only has 30 calories for two tablespoons so that is a huge bonus since it packs so much flavor!
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, I shred that by hand and place into a medium sized bowl, combining it with the low fat cream cheese, fresh diced tomatoes, cilantro, cumin and a little salt and set that aside.
Now this may throw you off because I add 1/4 cup of heavy cream into the stock and salsa verde but, believe me, when you divide that over 6 servings you are looking at very minimal fat and it really makes this enchilada sauce perfect!
Once the sauce has reduced and thickened, the tortillas are dipped into the sauce to coat. I prefer flour tortillas. Corn tortillas are more traditional. Either is fine in this recipe. They are then filled with a few spoonfuls of the chicken mixture, and rolled up. I like to tuck in both sides first and then roll, placing the seam side down into a glass or ceramic casserole dish. In a large casserole, I can fit in 12 enchiladas, or 6 servings.
Pour the rest of the salsa verde mix over the enchiladas, top with the shredded cheese and bake for 15 minutes and they are perfect! I garnish with a little more salsa verde, a few more diced tomatoes and a little cilantro.
Recipe: Easy Low-Calorie Chicken Enchiladas Verde
- 4 cups cold water
- 2 cups fat-free chicken broth
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced
- 1 cup salsa verde
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup chopped, seeded fresh tomato
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 5 oz. low-fat cream cheese, softened
- 12 (6-inch) flour or corn tortillas
- Cooking spray
- 2 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
- Combine the first 5 ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
- Cook 10 minutes or until the chicken is done.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside, reserving the chicken stock. Let stand 10 minutes.
- Once cooled, shred the chicken and set aside.
- Strain the chicken stock into a medium saucepan, discarding the onions and garlic.
- Add the salsa verde into the sauce pan with the reserved chicken stock and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Cook until reduced down (about 20 minutes); Reduce heat to low and stir in the heavy cream.
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- While the liquid is cooking down, place the chicken in a medium bowl.
- Add tomato and next 5 ingredients (through the cream cheese) to the chicken and combine.
- Carefully dip each tortilla in the sauce mixture.
- Fill each tortilla with a few spoonfuls of the chicken mixture and roll up.
- Arrange filled tortillas, seam side down into the casserole dish.
- Spoon the extra green sauce over the enchiladas.
- Spread the shredded cheese across the top of the enchiladas.
- Bake at 400° for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
I hope you enjoy these and, as always, I am so happy you stopped by!