Chicken Enchilada Skillet
I’ve been holding out on you. Earlier this week, I gave you the recipe for a better-tasting, healthy Crockpot Mexican Chicken, plus 10 ways to use it. It seemed generous, but the truth is, I left one very important Mexican chicken recipe off the list: Chicken Enchilada Skillet.
Secret Mexican Chicken Recipe #11, this one deserves its own stand-alone post. I’d call it lazy chicken enchiladas, except that name doesn’t do it justice.
You see “lazy” does nothing to communicate the taste euphoria that is juicy shredded chicken, enchilada sauce, soft corn tortillas, beans, and cheese (lots of cheese!) bubbling away until the tortillas soften, the creamy sauce wraps itself around every morsel, and the entire shebang tastes like the daily special at your favorite no-frills authentic Mexican joint (I mean this as a compliment).
“Deconstructed” chicken enchiladas? Chicken enchilada pie? Sweatpants chicken enchiladas? I’m taking suggestions.
Whatever you decide to call this recipe, it’s a keeper.
I found a number of easy chicken enchilada skillet recipes online, including a classic Campbell’s one. Not surprisingly, the original recipe calls for a can of “cream of” soup. The sales angle was obvious, but I prefer to use whole ingredients when I can.
Is it too much to want a meal to be quick and easy and limit the processed items?
Of course not!
Instead, I came up with this healthy cheddar chicken enchilada skillet. It’s still easy to make. You don’t need to fuss with a cream sauce, even though we told the canned soup goodbye. The entire recipe is all cooked in one skillet, so you have fewer dishes to wash.
It’s *mostly* homemade so you can feel great eating it, but it also uses a few pantry items when they make sense (corn tortillas!), so you don’t have to spend hours prepping.
Despite its slimmed-down status, I promise this lighter version tastes indulgent enough to be worthy of its place on a daily special board—and, of course, at your table too!
How to Make a Healthy Chicken Enchilada Skillet
A few ingredient swaps make this a cheddar chicken enchilada skillet that’s light on calories and big on flavor.
- Shredded Chicken. For maximum flavor points, use my Crockpot Mexican Chicken or the chicken from these Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos. In a hurry? You can use plain shredded chicken.
- Red Enchilada Sauce. This homemade red enchilada sauce takes just 10 minutes to make, has wonderful flavor, and is lower in sodium than canned sauce. You can swap canned sauce too, of course; use mild or spicy, depending upon your family’s flavor preference.
- Poblano Pepper. Not spicy! These complex, mild peppers have become one of my favorite ingredients in Mexican cooking ever since making this King Ranch Chicken. They’re sold at most grocery stores now, but if you can’t find one, you can swap a green bell pepper instead.
- Red Bell Pepper. Naturally sweet and a great source of vitamin C. They also contain many other vitamins, folate, and potassium.
- Greek Yogurt. My sneaky swap to create a creamy sauce that doesn’t require canned soup.
- Cheese. I like a sharp cheddar, because it’s fully flavored so a small handful goes a long way. Pepper jack is excellent if you’d like a kick; cheddar jack or Monterey jack are classic.
- Corn Tortillas. No persnickety rolling. Simply tear them up, then stir them in. I recommend corn versus flour tortillas for the best texture and flavor here.
- Spices. Cumin does the heavy lifting here. I also used garlic powder (because I’ll use it anytime I can get out of chopping garlic without sacrificing flavor, shhhh).
- Oregano. Add a pinch to any Mexican dish. You’ll love the results.
- The Works! For topping. Fresh cilantro, avocado, and a dollop of Greek yogurt in place of sour cream are the everyday house favorites. When we’re feeling dangerous, we add jalapeno.
- Sauté the vegetables and spices in a large oven-safe skillet until browned and tender.
Transfer the vegetables to a mixing bowl, then add the sauce, chicken, and beans. Stir to combine.
- Stir in the yogurt, tortilla quarters, and part of the cheese.
- Transfer the mixture to the skillet, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
- Place the skillet in the oven, and bake at 425 degrees F until hot and bubbly. Let rest, then serve hot with desired toppings. DIG IN!
- Beef Enchilada Skillet. Swap in ground beef for the chicken. You could also use ground turkey or ground chicken. Brown the ground meat ahead of time, and add to the skillet when it calls for the shredded chicken.
- Vegetarian Enchilada Skillet. Instead of chicken, use the tofu filling from these Tofu Tacos (you can omit the black beans since the tacos call for those, or double up).
- Gluten Free. If you buy certified GF tortillas, no other changes are needed; this recipe is naturally gluten free.
Make-Ahead, Storage, and Reheating Tips
- To Make Ahead. Chop the vegetables as directed, and sauté them in the skillet. Transfer them to the mixing bowl, and store in the refrigerator overnight. Finish the recipe as directed when you’re ready finish preparing.
- To Store. Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish or oven-safe skillet in the oven at 350 degrees F until hot and cheese is bubbly.
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- Cast Iron Skillet. This skillet can safely take you from stovetop to oven.
- Mixing Bowls. Ideal for mixing ingredients.
- Sharp Chef’s Knife. The ultimate kitchen tool for prepping your ingredients.
Whatever you decide to call this chicken enchilada skillet (casserole? one-pan Mexican wonder?), it’s sure to hit the spot on a busy night not too long from now.
And as always, if you try this recipe, please leave a comment below and let me know how it came out. It makes my day to hear from you and keeps me motivated to create the best-ever healthy recipes for you!
Chicken Enchilada Skillet
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion - diced
- 1 red bell pepper - cored and diced
- 1 poblano pepper - or green bell pepper, cored and diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 20 ounces red enchilada sauce - I recommend my homemade red enchilada sauce
- 3 cups cooked shredded slow cooker Mexican chicken - (for max flavor!) or regular cooked, shredded chicken
- 1 15-ounce can low sodium black beans - or low sodium pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup 2% or whole plain Greek yogurt - do not use fat free or it may curdle
- 6 corn tortillas - cut into quarters
- 1 cup shredded cheese - such as sharp cheddar or cheddar jack, Mexican cheese blend, Monterey Jack, or pepper jack, divided
- For serving: diced avocados - sliced jalapeno, chopped fresh cilantro, additional Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Place racks in the upper third and center of your oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Heat the oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, bell pepper, poblano pepper, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Sauté until the vegetables brown and are becoming tender, about 6 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Keep the skillet handy. Add the enchilada sauce, chicken, and beans and stir to combine. Stir in the Greek yogurt. Fold in the tortilla quarters and ¼ cup of the cheese.
- Spoon the mixture back into the same skillet. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven, placing it on the upper third rack, and bake until the cheese is hot and bubbling, 10 minutes. If you like, switch the oven to broil and broil for a minute or two to make the top of the cheese brown (don't walk away to make sure the cheese doesn't burn). Remove from the oven (be careful, the skillet handle will be hot!). Let rest a few minutes, then serve hot with desired toppings.
- TO STORE: Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish or oven-safe skillet in the oven at 350 degrees F until hot and cheese is bubbly.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Chop the vegetables as directed, and sauté them in the skillet. Transfer them to the mixing bowl, and store in the refrigerator overnight. Finish the recipe as directed when you're ready finish preparing.
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