This recipe is one I have experimented with over the past year. It started with a trip to Miami. My cousin and her fiance live in Miami and they were gracious enough to host us for a much needed break from the gloomy Seattle winter! What better way to repay your host than to have a yummy, home-made meal ready for them after work?
I decided to make a healthier twist on a favorite Mexican dish–enchiladas! You really cannot go wrong with Mexican food or casseroles in my opinion. Casseroles are just a midwest obsession. Anyone who grew up in the Midwest has grown up eating their fair share of casseroles. Traditionally, I associate casseroles with canned soup: most midwest mamas love to add canned soup to their casseroles. Don’t worry this is not your mama’s casserole, no canned soup here (not that I have anything against your mama’s casserole).
The first time I made this dish I did not include the sweet potato or jalapeno, I shredded the chicken, and I used salsa verde instead of enchilada sauce. I think this new and improved version packs even more healthy ingredients into each bite and the pieces of chicken and sweet potato are a great contrast to the quinoa. To keep it on the healthier side I went easy on the cheese, but you can feel free to add more to get an ooey-gooey, cheesy crust on top of the enchilada bake. Feel free to garnish with greek yogurt (seriously, I may have an unhealthy obsession with that condiment), sour cream, salsa, or hot sauce. We even used the last of the enchilada bake as the filling for some soft shell tacos.
This is a hearty dish that is sure to be a favorite in your household. We ate this meal three times in a row. Not because we had to, but because it is just that good. I usually love leftovers…once. I repeat “three times in a row?!?!” You know this a winner-winner chicken dinner ;)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 chicken breast, fat trimmed
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
12 oz bottle of enchilada sauce + 3/4 C water
15 oz can black beans, rinsed
1 C frozen corn
1 C quinoa + 11/2 C water (I used a mix of red and white quinoa)
1/2 C grated cheese (I used sharp white cheddar)
1 roma tomato, diced
4 scallions, diced
- Preheat oven to 375 F and grease a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- For the quinoa: combine 1 1/2 C water and quinoa in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer (low setting), place lid on pan and let quinoa cook for 15-20 minutes. (Note: Do not uncover lid from sauce pan until at least 15 minutes have passed otherwise you will lose the steam needed to cook the quinoa)
- Place the sweet potato pieces in a small microwave-safe bowl and add 2 tbsp of water, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 4 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Drain excess water and set aside.
- In a large frying pan greased with non-stick cooking spray sauté the pepper, onions, garlic, and jalapeno over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
- Move the veggies over to one side of the pan and add the chicken breast, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Flip the chicken over to the opposite side and cook an additional 4-5 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes to the pan at this time.
- Pour the enchilada sauce over the chicken. Add water to the bottle of enchilada sauce, replace lid, shake to loosen any sauce on the bottle and pour the enchilada sauce-water mixture over the chicken too.
- Add the corn and black beans to the pan and stir to combine all ingredients.
- Remove the chicken breast from the pan and set on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice the chicken into bite-size pieces. Replace chicken in the enchilada sauce and veggie mixture. (Note: If the chicken is still slightly raw in the middle, do not worry it will finish cooking in the oven)
- Add the quinoa to the frying pan and stir to combine all the ingredients. Transfer to your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top of the casserole evenly with the grated cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with freshly chopped tomatoes and scallions. Serve warm with your favorite Mexican garnishes!