Funny story: when Dan and I first started dating nearly six years ago, he was the cook. We met in his dorm floor’s kitchen to make chicken enchiladas during our freshman year. Sophomore year, Dan had an apartment, and would cook chili or a corn-ground beef-rice dish that we loved. I rarely, if ever, cooked. Unless you count boxed macaroni and cheese.
How times have changed. Now, I do 95% of the cooking (though Dan does do most of the grilling) and Dan cleans up. Oh, and he is much better at cooking eggs than I am, so he generally does that, too.
I convinced Dan to make enchiladas with me this weekend, and was thrilled when he took very little convincing. I think he really missed these enchiladas.
When we first made these enchiladas years ago, we topped them with jalapeno cream cheese and shredded cheese before baking, a combination inspired by Dan’s trip to the Grand Canyon over winter break during freshman year, just weeks before we started dating. Sadly, we can no longer find jalapeno cream cheese, so we haven’t made these enchiladas in ages.
We finally just decided to make our own. I don’t know what took us so long.
For the record, Dan is also the one who introduced me to and taught me to use WordPress. Pretty sure we’ve taken a role reversal there, too.
Spicy Cream Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas
We used an Anaheim pepper for the cream cheese, but a jalapeno would work just as well, if not better. Just be sure to wear gloves if your hands are sensitive like mine, and wash your hands well after dealing with the chopped pepper. If you don’t wear gloves and your hands are burning from the pepper even after washing, I’ve found that scrubbing your hands with coarse sea salt and washing it off with cool water helps.
Makes 6 enchiladas
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
1 small Anaheim pepper
2 ounces Neufchatel or cream cheese
6 burrito-sized flour tortillas
Meat from one chicken (approximately three pounds), shredded
1 1/2 cup tomato salsa (we used one with a medium-mild heat)
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 375F and grease a 9×13″ baking pan.
Cut the top off the pepper and remove the seeds. Finely dice the pepper and scrape the pieces and any juice into a small mixing bowl. Add the Neufchatel or cream cheese and mash with the back of a fork until the peppers are completely mixed into the cream cheese.
Lay out one tortilla and top with approximately 1/2 cup shredded chicken, 1/4 cup salsa and 1/4-1/3 cup cheddar cheese. Roll up and place seam-side down in the baking pan. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Divide the cream cheese evenly between the enchiladas. Using an offset spatula or a butter knife, spread the cream cheese over the top of each enchilada. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over the cream cheese.
Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.