Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cinco de Mandy - Chicken Enchilada Rice Casserole

I love how we Americans take it upon ourselves to celebrate any other country's holiday when it involves food!  :-)  We indulge in Irish food for St. Patty's Day; then of course in May we do Cinco de Mayo.  Most of us don't even know why we celebrate it.  After all, it's not a special day for us the way it is in Mexico.  But we don't care - it's an excuse to eat, live and party it up Mexican (Latin American) style! 

I am no exception.  I've participated in parties and potlucks that involve Cinco de Mayo celebrations.  I have even been known to bring in my Latin American music CD's and dance moves too!  :-) 

A few days ago I made this wonderful, easy Mexican dish.  It involves all the traditional good stuff but I added (snuck) in some healthy veggies too.  My family really liked it and my husband didn't even know that spinach and carrots were in it!  A win-win for all!  And a great party food too.  Enjoy!

Chicken Enchilada Rice Casserole
(Serves 6 to 8)

2 cups of shredded, pre-cooked (boiled) chicken
2 cups of cooked brown rice
1 packet of taco seasoning mix (such as McCormick's with no MSG)
3/4 cup of water
1 lb. (19 oz) can of enchilada sauce (Or make your own or just use tomato sauce)
3/4 cup of salsa
1/2 cup shredded or pureed carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped or pureed spinach
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
2 tsp cilantro, chopped
6 - 8 whole wheat flour tortillas
2 cups of shredded cheese, reduced fat

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease the bottom of a 2 QT (11x7 inch) baking pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Place your precooked chicken in a lightly greased skillet on the stove.  Cook for about five minutes then add the water and taco seasoning mix.  Simmer for ten minutes or until most of the water is cooked into the chicken.  Add the brown rice, pureed spinach and shredded carrots.  Add 1/3 of the salsa and 1/4 of the enchilada sauce to further season the chicken mixture.  Cook for another five minutes and remove from heat.  Toss in the cilantro and green onions.  Stir to combine all ingredients well. 

Pour another 1/4 of the enchilada sauce at the bottom of the greased baking pan.  Place 3 to 4 of the whole wheat flour tortillas at the bottom of the pan.  They can be overlapping.  Pour another 1/4 of the enchilada sauce, another 1/3 of the salsa and about 1/3 of the shredded cheese on top.  Then spread half of the chicken-rice-veggie mixture above that. 

Then repeat with a layer of another 3 to 4 flour tortillas followed by the remaining 1/4 of enchilada sauce. Top with the remaining half of the chicken-rice-veggie mixture. Sprinkle with cheese, remaining salsa and any remaining sauce still in the can. 

Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  Let it cool for about ten minutes before cutting and serving.  I sliced mine into 8 generous pieces. 

Freeze leftovers for up to three months.  Reheat in microwave.  Muy bueno! 

Are you eating Mexican food on this year's Cinco de Mandy, I mean Mayo?  :-)  What's your favorite Latin American dish - tacos, burritos, fajitas or something else?


  1. This looks delicious. Good Mexican food is so easy to make! I like to maked Mexican Stuffed Shells. Cook large pasta shells and stuff them with taco filling, black beans, pinto beans, olives, green chilies, whatever will fit in there! Top with enchilada sauce and cheese and bake until bubbly. Easy to make, makes a ton, and always a crowd pleaser!

  2. Oh yum and with chicken too! Looks really good!

  3. this sounds so good! I love enchilladas, but steve doesn't like the sauce. he's so weird! when I make them for us, I don't put the sauce in, but add it to mine after...

  4. This looks delicious!
    We do celebrate with food a lot in this country, don't we. :)

  5. Hubby, and Sous Chef Son #3, cooked Mexican food on Sunday. They must have been hungry, because there was WAY too much. I froze some enchiladas, and pulled them out tonight for dinner.

  6. Mexican is my favorite, will have to give this a try, happy cinco de mayo! anne