Quick and Dirty Enchiladas: Essential Mexican Cooking for the Southwesterner

I’m an Arizona girl. Always have been, always will be. I have two Arizona heart stickers on my car and am proud of it. One of the most basic skills I think every Southwesterner needs, however, is the ability to make basic Mexican dishes at the drop of a hat. Yes, since they are at the drop of a hat, they are not the most authentic, but sometimes a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do! Namely: make Mexican food. (*Note: this does not include tamales. Show me a quick tamale and I’ll show you a shoddy tamale. Abuelas everywhere are shaking their heads in disappointment.)

So today’s lesson is Quick and Dirty Enchiladas. Enchiladas are these delightful wraps of sauce and cheese and cheese and sauce, and I suppose some kind of filling. But really, it’s mostly about the sauce and the cheese. Now, you can make your own enchilada sauce and I have done so (Cooking to Relax: Comfort Foods, Ep. 1), but sometimes you just need to buy a good ol’ fashioned can of enchilada sauce. I personally prefer red, but green is fine as well. You should also tailor it to your spice enjoyment level. I’m kind of a wuss, so I always get mild. I also prefer to use corn tortillas because I’m not a savage. I have very strong tortilla opinions and I will fight you. You can also make your own filling with your own spice blend, but I sometimes just use taco seasoning. It’s quick and dirty, after all. But, if you do it right, you end up with something like this:


I have these little bitty glass casserole dishes, too, which are perfect for three enchiladas per dish. A perfect serving! (Okay, it was a little much when you had already eaten the bits of filling that fell out while you were wrapping.)

Quick and Dirty Enchiladas

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 package pre-cooked, pre-shredded chicken
  • 1 can red enchilada sauce
  • Copious amounts of Mexican-style shredded cheese
  • Approx. 9-12 corn tortillas (small)
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • 2 tbsps taco seasoning
  • Pinch extra salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°. Get out whatever casserole dish(es) you’ll be plating these in, as well as a little plate on which to stuff and roll your enchiladas.
  2. In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, warm up a little oil. Dump in your chicken and the taco seasoning (and extra salt if you like to live life large). You probably will want to put in a few tablespoons of water, as well, to help the seasoning coat the chicken.
  3. Add the green chiles and make sure your chicken is warmed through. When it’s warm, roll your enchiladas by setting out a tortilla on the plate, spreading a little cheese on it, then a little filling, then rolling and setting it in the dish. *Note: do not worry if your tortillas split once they’re in the dish. It’s not like you’re going to be able to separate them once all the cheese and sauce is on there.
  4. Continue stuffing and rolling until you’ve run out of filling or your dishes are full. Then, first, evenly distribute your enchilada sauce over the top of your enchiladas. Cover liberally with cheese.
  5. Put in the oven for at least 15 minutes for the cheese to melt and the sauce to bubble. While these are delicious straight out of the oven, you can also cover and save for several days, reheating as necessary.

And one more picture, just because that cheese was soooo gooey.


My husband was like, “you can eat these all week!” Um, try all day! These puppies ain’t gonna last that long!


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