Chicken Enchiladas and Salad in Thirty Minutes Flat

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Written by Natalie Klejwa, Contributing Writer

I looked at the clock in horror.  How could it be 4:30 already?  My husband would be coming home soon, and I had to feed him and eight kids at 5:00.   What to do?

30minutedinners 300x210Thank goodness I write for Keeper of the Home.  Knowing I had this “Thirty Minute Dinner” assignment coming up, I had a few ideas swirling around in my head.  All I needed was that golden opportunity, and why, here it was, slapping me in the face like a friend with good timing.

I actually have a stash of last minute dinners waiting in the wings.  Life happens, right?  And not always the way we plan.

To assemble last minute dinners is fairly easy if you have a few things in the freezer ready to go:

  • Cooked, pulled chicken in family dinner sized portions for soups and casseroles.  (One chicken, pulled, makes two meals for our family of 11.  Giving myself a star for frugality.  Please don’t tell Stephanie, though, that we use rotisserie chickens from Costco.  That would be like blaspheming on her blog.)
  • Pre-browned hamburger/ground turkey.  I brown bunches of this with sweet vidalia onions and green peppers and then store in family dinner sized portions.
  • Cooked wild rice for quick wild rice soups.
  • Cooked brown or long grain rice for quick casseroles, burritos, soups, etc.
  • Chicken stock. For everything.
  • Cooked and chopped ham and bacon for quick egg and potato dishes, real macaroni and cheese, sandwiches and other casseroles.

I could go on, but you get the idea.  I’m not a freezer meal kind of gal.  Tried that and just couldn’t get into the flavor and texture of most of the finished meals after they had been frozen.  But having some of the components of a meal ready to go enables me to whip up fresh, great tasting meals…lickity sizzle.

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So let’s make some FAST chicken enchiladas, shall we?

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  We want that baby HOT.  Throw a stick of butter in a small saucepan and start melting it on your stove top.

2. Clear a working space on your counter top (this is important when you are in a mad rush) and slap 8 large tortillas down.  The slapping part just feels good.

3. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar (or other) cheese and some pulled chicken from the freezer.  (I thawed it in the microwave. I know. More blasphemy.)

4. Roll up the tortillas and place, seam side down, in a large baking dish.

5. Add 1/2 cup of flour to the melted butter and stir/cook for 1 minute.

6. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth and cook until thick.

7. Add a small can of chopped green chilis and a cup of sour cream.

8. Pour sauce over the top of the enchiladas.  Sprinkle with more cheddar cheese.

9. Bake for 20 minutes.

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BUT WE’RE NOT DONE!  While your enchiladas are baking, you’ll be washing up some romaine lettuce, tomatoes and cukes.  Cut and assemble salad.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Set the table.  Yell, “It’s TIME TO EAT!”

And enjoy!

What are your favorite 30-minute or less dinners?

About Natalie Klejwa

Natalie is wife to Joe and home educating mother to nine children ages 2-20. When she isn't teaching children, changing diapers, or cleaning the kitchen, she administrates the Visionary Womanhood blog and runs their family's cottage business, Apple Valley Natural Soap. Her latest book project is Three Decades of Fertility.

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Comments

  1. Rachel B says:

    I’ve made this twice, now, and we love it! Thank you! I also wanted to share a little variation I’ve done: I always seem to have more sauce than I want to use, so I just add some frozen corn and a little water to the pan and heat it up as a side dish. Yum! Actually, it was the only part of the meal the 2yo wanted to eat! ;-)

  2. I agree about having short cuts in the freezer. I too have cooked beef and chicken to make meals quicker and easier. My favorite is with chicken. I boil whole chickens, and debone. I put that “shredded chicken” into a bag. On a day I need a meal in minutes I take it out, microwave it and add BBQ sauce.
    “Taco Rice” is another one that is super simple 1 lb of browned hamburger, 1 can of Rotel tomatoes, 2 T taco seasoning, mix it altogether and put it on a tortilla shell with cheese. I got that one from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.

  3. great idea, thanks. I have started storing more in the freezer for use with quick meals: beans, meats, stock, etc. I see you thaw in the microwave (I use my microwave a lot myself) but then I’m curious what kinds of containers you store things in? I haven’t yet found anything I’m all that happy with, and I don’t like microwaving the plastic ones I do have, so I let stuff thaw in the fridge and have to remember to plan far enough ahead.

  4. Ah, this is what I have been needing to find out about freezer meals. I have been resistant to freezer meals for various reasons, but just freezing some core ingredients like meat and beans makes sense.

    I have been exploring other ways to make quick, simple meals and have been surprised by how truly simple meals with just a few ingredients are so good and feel good after eating them.

  5. I don’t always have the room to store freezer meals! (Although some, like lasagne, are nice to have around. We just eat them up too fast.)
    Here’s a dish that’s saved my patootie over and over again — Porcupine Rice. And you don’t even have to precook the meat. Quick-thaw (3 min. in microwave) a pound of ground beef, pork or turkey. Throw in the frying pan and saute until broken up some — then add 1 cup uncooked rice and your choice of chopped vegetables. (I’ve used onion, mushrooms and red and green peppers — throw those in while browning the meat/rice mixture– green beans, peas added with the water — and chopped spinach tossed in at the last minute.)
    By the time the meat is finished browning, the rice will also be sauteed. (Add a small handful of broken-up pasta for a Rice-A-Roni touch.) Add water to cover the rice, plus your choice of spices:
    *2 tablespoons onion soup (or other) mix
    *2 teaspoons garlic, 1 teaspoon marjoram, salt and pepper
    *half a can of mushroom or celery soup
    *stir in a few tablespoons of sour cream just before serving, for a ‘stroganoff’ taste

    Simmer for about 20 min., adding water if mixture gets too dry, until rice is cooked and fluffy. Serve with mandarin oranges or a salad.

    Last post:
    http://cindybrick.blogspot.com/2012/07/monday-stuff-on-way-to-other-stuff.html

  6. I’m thrilled to see an enchilada recipe that does NOT use enchilada sauce from a can! I may just try this one tonight. Morning sickness hit hard last week and cooking is the last thing I feel like doing! Thanks!!

  7. These would be good with black beans added in! Yum!

    Linda

  8. Thanks for making me feel better about committing food “blasphemy”! As much as I wish I could have better eating/cooking habits, being a full time working mom means I have to use the microwave and rotisserie chickens and canned food more often than I want to. At least it’s better than getting fast food.

  9. Yum! I love mexican food! And I am a late dinner planner gal too lately! I’m working on getting my plans to better but has been hard with our new business.

  10. This was rich in info and giggles. Thanks for both! :D

  11. I love your humor in this post, Natalie! I’m glad I’m not the only one who looks at the clock at 4:30 (or later!) and wonders what I’ll make for dinner! I’ve gotten really bad during this pregnancy!

    I absolutely love enchiladas, and this recipe looks delicious–not to mention super easy!

  12. This looks absolutely delicious. I cannot wait to give it a try. Thank you for putting this blog together… I love it!

  13. Yes, that sounds like my kind of meal, made from bits of this and that stored in my freezer.

    Yesterday my husband was fixing the dishwasher at 5 PM, so Miss 12, whose turn it was to cook, couldn’t putz around in the kitchen like usual.

    So she thawed some sausages (in hot water) and sweet-talked her brother into barbequing them. Then at the last minute she thawed some brown rice (in the microwave) and quickly made a batch of delicious brown rice, with parsley she picked herself, including bits of grass. :) She put together a veggie tray, pulled out some left-over peas and salad, and there we had a delicious supper. It would have been done in half an hour if we hadn’t run out of propane for the barbeque.

  14. You wrote: “slap 8 large tortillas down. The slapping part just feels good.”
    and I lawled;-)

    One thing my kiddos love that’s super quick is corn chowder: saute up some finely chopped onion in butter, add some other very finely chopped veggies such as red pepper, zucchini or maybe some grated carrot, along with a cup or so of chicken/veggie stock (or water if you don’t have stock handy.) Simmer until veggies are tender, then add one or two cans of creamed corn (talk about yer blasphemy!) and an equal amount of milk. Stir constantly until heated through. Serve with biscuits slathered with butter. If you want to be fancy add some chopped chives to the biscuit dough. If you want the meal to be more substantial you can add cheese to the chowder towards the end, or even some chopped ham.

  15. Glad to know that I’m not the only one who just doesn’t care for freezer meals. Thanks for the post.

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