I’m pretty sure you’ll love this Chicken Chilaquiles recipe with corn, spinach and baked (not fried) corn tortillas as much as I do. It is healthy Mexican comfort food for the whole family!
This month’s Recipe ReDux challenge was to take an existing recipe from our own archives and turn the left-overs into a new recipe.
We’re all about cooking once and eating twice. In short, double dinners are better. Show us how you take a favorite recipe already on your blog – and ReDux the leftovers into a new dish. Or, whip up a new healthy recipe and give suggestions on how to make it a second meal. For example, slow cooker pot roast could become shredded beef tacos; or grilled chicken breasts might morph into chicken salad. [/box]
After a bit of confused blundering around in my archives and getting distracted I settled on using left-over chicken. I mean who hasn’t had left-over chicken in their fridge at one time or another. And I have several chicken recipes that would certainly morph into another recipe easily enough.
What did I do with said left-over chicken you ask? I made Chilaquiles. Which is a layered Mexican casserole made with cheese, chili pepper sauce and fried tortillas.
Have you ever had it? Even though I grew up eating Mexican food, I wasn’t introduced to Chilaquiles until about ten years ago when I was working in the EatingWell Test Kitchen. One of the other recipe developers made a version of it, and I fell in love. I make it pretty regularly now because I just can’t get enough of that half crispy/half sogged-out corn tortilla in spicy sauce and cheese thing that gets goin’ on. Gahh! It is total comfort food.
To healthify this version of it, I skipped the frying of the corn tortillas step and instead cut them into wedges and baked them to make them crispy before layering them into the baking dish. And I made it veggie heavy a term I love and am stealing from Genevieve by bulking up the chicken filling by adding in extra vegetables: sweet corn, onion and spinach.
I am not really a fan of any of the enchilada sauces on the market. It is hard to find one without MSG, so I opted for crushed tomatoes for the sauce. I just punched it up with a splash of cider vinegar and salt.
To give the casserole even more flavor I added in some delicious Mexican spice from my pals at the Teeny Tiny Spice Company of Vermont. I opted for the Organic Yucatecan Recado Rojo, since I just went to the Yucatan for vacation a few weeks ago. This blend has a really nice flavor profile with a touch of cinnamon and a bit of cumin. LOVE! If you can’t find it, feel free to use whatever Mexican spice, fajita seasoning (or even Taco seasoning) you like. I will not judge. ☺ Or make your own with chili powder, chipotle, cumin and ground coriander. As for the chicken don’t feel like you have to have use the above chicken recipes to make this. Really you can A. Just poach some plain chicken or B. Buy a rotisserie chicken to make this too. As I said, no judging here.
Have you ever tried Chilaquiles?
If so when/where/how did you first hear about it?
What is your favorite way to use left-over chicken?
Chicken Chilaquiles recipe with corn, spinach and baked tortillas. A healthier version of the Mexican comfort food classic.
- 6 6-inch soft corn tortillas, cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or organic canola oil
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons Mexican spice blend, such as Yucatecan Recado Rojo Spice blend
- 2 cups finely chopped baby spinach
- 1 cup frozen sweet corn kernels, thawed
- 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, 6 ounces
- Freshly chopped scallions and cilantro for garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray
- Lay tortillas out on two baking sheet. Bake until just starting to harden and brown in spots, 12 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often until softened and starting to brown, 6 to 10 minutes. Stir in Mexican spice blend and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in spinach, corn and chicken and cook, stirring until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Open can of tomatoes, and stir in vinegar and salt. Spread about ½ cup of the tomato in the bottom of the baking dish. Layer a third of the tortillas over the sauce. Top with half of the chicken and corn mixture. Pour ¾ cup of the tomato mixture over the chicken and sprinkle with ½ cup cheese. Repeat with another layer of tortillas, the remaining chicen and corn mixture, ¾ cup sauce and ½ cup cheese. Top with the remaining tortillas and sauce.
- Cover with foil and transfer to the oven. Bake the casserole until heated through, steaming and bubbling around the edges, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and top with the remaining ½ cup cheese and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, 8 to 10 minutes.