Want to know what speaks to my soul? Cheese. Enchiladas. Gluten Free Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas to be exact. With a homemade gluten free enchilada sauce! I could not be more excited about this make ahead dish which features a made from scratch enchilada sauce using 100% fridge and pantry staples that takes less than 10 minutes to make. Say goodbye to the can and hello to this lusciousness…!
I love enchiladas so much that I still attempt to order them every time we go out for Mexican food even though I know they’re not traditionally gluten free. No amount of internal coaching to say fajitas when it’s time to place our order will stop the phrase enchiladas from rolling off my tongue, which causes Ben to give me a light kick under the table and then I have to correct myself like a crazy person. What can I say?! I’ve got a one track mind and when it comes to Mexican food, it’s all enchiladas, all the time, which is why I made this restaurant-worthy copycat version at home.
I love making homemade versions of popular processed foods – Hamburger Helper, granola, Lipton pasta sides packets, etc – but homemade gluten free enchilada sauce takes the cake. You know when you try your hand at making homemade, well, cake, and it ends up tasting so good that you vow to never buy premade again, but sure enough the next time a birthday rolls around you’re buying a box mix because it’s just so dang convenient? Not happening with this enchilada sauce. I will 100% never buy canned again now that I know how easy and inexpensive it is to make at home from scratch. We’re talking flour, spices, tomato paste, and chicken broth simmered in a saucepan for under 10 minutes. There is NO turning back, people!
These enchiladas are IT. Gluten free corn tortillas are wrapped around shredded chicken, a spoonful of the homemade enchilada sauce, and a sprinkling of shredded cheese before being topped with more sauce and cheese, and baked. I’ve eaten about 47 over the past week and am plotting the next time I can make them without getting a groan from Ben. When I go, I go all out!
How to Make this Recipe:
Start by sautéing 1-1/2lbs chicken breasts that have been seasoned with garlic salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through. Remove to a plate then shred when the chicken is cool enough to handle.
Pro Tip. You could cook/shred the chicken a day or two early to save time OR swap out 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken if you really want to make things easy on yourself!
How to Make Homemade Enchilada Sauce:
Now it’s time to make that crazy-easy homemade gluten-free enchilada sauce. Warm 3 Tablespoons grapeseed oil, or other neutral-tasting oil, in a saucepan over medium heat then whisk in 2 Tablespoons gluten-free flour (or all-purpose if you don’t need to eat GF) and cook while whisking for 1 minute.
Then add a bunch of pantry-staple spices. I already had everything on hand and didn’t have to buy a thing! You’ll need 3 Tablespoons chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon each salt, dried oregano, and onion powder, and 1/4 teaspoon each garlic powder and cumin.
Add the spices into the oil/flour mixture then whisk until very fragrant, 1 minute.
Finally, whisk in 1/4 cup tomato paste until smooth then slowly stream in 2 cups chicken broth while whisking to avoid lumps. Turn the heat up slightly then simmer until the sauce has slightly thickened. Boom – homemade gluten-free enchilada sauce in under 10 minutes! As with the chicken, you can make the sauce two or even three days ahead of time. It just gets better as it sits.
Alrighty – enchilada assembly time. You’ll need 15-16 gluten-free corn tortillas which I laid out a few at a time on a cutting board then filled with a few Tablespoons of the shredded chicken, a spoonful of sauce, and a sprinkling of shredded Mexican-Blend cheese.
Roll then place the enchiladas seam side down into a casserole dish, and then repeat. Once all the fillings have been used, top the enchiladas with sauce (you might have a bit leftover) then more delicious shredded cheese. Either pop into the oven or cover with foil and place into the refrigerator to be cooked no more than 24 hours later. How awesome is that for an easy dinner on a busy weeknight?
Whenever you’re ready, bake the enchiladas for 20 minutes at 350 degrees covered with foil then remove the foil and bake for another 3-4 minutes, or until the cheese is smooth and melty. Sprinkle with cilantro, if you please, then dig in!
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Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Gluten-Free Enchilada Sauce
Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Gluten-Free Enchilada Sauce will please the whole family. Make ahead, and so simple!
- 1-1/2lbs chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
- garlic salt and pepper
- 16 gluten-free corn tortillas
- 8oz shredded Mexican cheese blend
- chopped cilantro for garnish, optional
- For the Gluten-Free Enchilada Sauce:
- 3 Tablespoons grapeseed oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
- 2 Tablespoons gluten-free flour OR all-purpose flour (dish will not be GF if using AP flour)
- 3 Tablespoons mild chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat then spray chicken breasts on both sides with nonstick spray and season with garlic salt and pepper. Saute for 3-4 minutes per side, or until cooked through, then let cool and shred (can be done ahead of time.) Alternatively you could poach (boil) chicken breasts then shred.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees then spray a 9x13" casserole dish, or two smaller casserole dishes, with nonstick spray and set aside. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat then add flour and whisk constantly for 1 minute. Add seasonings - chili powder through cumin - then whisk for another minute. Add tomato paste then whisk until combined, and then slowly stream in chicken broth while whisking to create a smooth sauce. Turn heat up to medium-high then simmer until sauce has thickened, 3-4 minutes. Cool slightly (can be made up to several days ahead of time.)
- Wrap half the tortillas in a damp paper towel then microwave for 30 seconds. Place tortillas on a clean dry surface then spread 2 Tablespoons shredded chicken across the center. Spoon approximately 1 Tablespoon enchilada sauce over the top followed by 1 Tablespoon shredded cheese. Roll then place seam side down in the prepared baking dish then repeat with remaining ingredients. Pour remaining enchilada sauce on top (might not need it all,) then top with remaining cheese and cover tightly with a nonstick sprayed piece of foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes then uncover and continue baking for 3-4 more minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Let enchiladas rest for 5 minutes then serve.
Sauce adapted from Against All Grain
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Oh my gosh, I am telling you I mourned the moment when the last of these cheesy chicken enchiladas were eaten. They are awesome! That said, what dish covered in a blanket of melted cheese isn’t? ;) Enjoy!