There is this place in the Twin Cities called “Let’s Dish” where you can go and assemble several meals to pop in the freezer and enjoy later. I’ve gone a couple times to get new ideas and because having dinner in the freezer is a fantastic idea! It also allows you to try new flavors without buying an entire bottle of a unique sauce or ingredient that you might not like. And after you go a couple times you get the hang of good ways to package, portion and freezer the various components of a meal – especially if the meal isn’t a casserole and completely ready to go. One of my favorite concepts that I learned there is make-ahead enchiladas.
We’ve adapted their basic concept and assembly method to customize it for us, and let me tell you this is a great meal to have in the freezer. I often double or triple the recipe so I can have a couple pans of this in the freezer for later. It doesn’t take much to cook a little more chicken and assemble a few more pans once you get all the ingredients out.
These enchiladas are filled with chicken and corn that’s been tossed in a chipotle sour cream sauce along with a little cheese. After they bake for a little bit, they are topped with green enchilada sauce and some cheese. I like to serve them with Mexican crema, lettuce, and avocado on top–if I’m feeling fancy that is, right out of the pan is pretty tasty too.
Here’s what you need:
Note: I am tripling the basic 12 enchilada recipe in these pictures. I wanted to make a lot! Two pans for hunting season, two small pans for my freezer, and one to eat the day I made them.
Start by roasting some chicken breasts – you could also use a pulled rotisserie chicken too. I season chicken breasts with salt and pepper then roast at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes until they reach 165. That’s a big time range because the size of the chicken breasts makes a big difference in cooking time!
When the chicken is cooked, allow it to cool until you can handle it. Pull it apart with your hands or two forks.
Mix together the sauce for inside the enchiladas. You’ll need a can of diced green chilies, sour cream, fajita seasoning (try making your own, it’s super easy and tasty!), and chipotle tabasco sauce (regular works too for some kick, but I love the smokiness of chipotle).
In a large bowl, mix together: sour cream sauce, shredded chicken, corn (fresh sweet corn was in season when I took these pictures and I stripped it off the cob with this little tool) but you could also use frozen (if it’s not in season), and cheese.
Warm up 12, 8-inch flour tortillas so they are more pliable, if you use a warmer like this one, they will stay warm while you roll a few at a time.
Place a heaping 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture in a line on the center of the tortilla. Fold the bottom over the filling and use your hands to pull back toward the chicken mixture. Roll up and place seam side down in a greased baking dish.
When I am prepping ahead for freezer meals, I always use disposable aluminum pans like this one. If you’re making it right away instead of greasing the pan put down a couple tablespoons of the enchilada sauce.
Keep assembling until you fill up your pans. I tripled the recipe and got 34 enchiladas. I also was trying to balance out 8 and 6 in the various size pans and may have overfilled a few. I could easily have gotten 36.
Now, doesn’t the thought of having that many meals waiting in your freezer make you happy?
To finish things off, place a sheet of waxed paper over the pans. Top with a bag of shredded cheese.
Now, if you had an industrial can of enchilada sauce, you could put it into a bag and place it on top to freeze too, I find it’s easier just to keep cans in my pantry.
Cover the whole pan with aluminum foil. I like to label the top with the directions too, including options for if you make them thawed or from frozen.
The key is to remember to take the waxed paper and cheese out before you bake them. Sometimes I add a reminder to my instructions to do this.
Bake covered at 375 degrees. 45 minutes if frozen or 20 minutes if thawed.
Pour over enchilada sauce, about a cup for 6 and a cup and a half (or a 19 oz can) for 8-12. This is totally up to you and how saucy you like them, and also how much room is left in your pan.
Top with shredded cheese. A cup for 8-12 and about 1/2 to 3/4 cup for 6.
Return to the oven, uncovered this time, for another 20 to 30 minutes until the cheese is brown and the sauce is bubbling up in the corners.
Dish up and enjoy. I like the freshness that a little lettuce and avocado bring. Tomato is great too if you have some. And a drizzle of crema (or sour cream thinned with a splash of milk) is a nice touch to almost every Mexican dish I have ever met.
- 2 bone-in chicken breasts
- ½ c sour cream
- 1 T fajita seasoning
- 1 t chipotle tabasco sauce
- 1 4 oz can diced green chilies
- 2 ears sweet corn, kernels removed (or 1 c frozen)
- ½ c shredded cheddar jack
- 12, 8 inch flour tortillas, warmed
- 1 ½ c (19 oz can) green enchilada sauce
- 1 c shredded cheddar jack
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Prepare pans for enchiladas. Spray 1 – 9x13 or 2 – 8x8 pans with cooking spray. If baking right away you could add a couple spoonfuls of enchilada sauce instead of cooking spray.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper and bake for 20-30 minutes until the chicken reaches 165. Allow to cool until you can handle it and shred the chicken.
- In a bowl, combine sour cream, fajita seasoning, tabasco, and green chilies.
- In a large bowl, mix together chicken, corn, ½ cup of cheddar jack and sour cream mixture.
- Top each tortilla with about a third of a cup of chicken mixture. Roll up and place seam side down in prepared pan(s).
- To freeze: top with a sheet of waxed paper. Place remaining cheese in a Ziploc bag and lay on top. Cover with tinfoil and write directions on the top of the tinfoil and label.
- To cook: Remove waxed paper and cheese from enchiladas and recover with tinfoil. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes if frozen or 20 minutes if thawed. Remove foil, pour on sauce and top with cheese. Bake 20-30 minutes until cheese is golden and sauce is hot and bubbly.
- Optional: Top with crema, avocado, tomato and shredded lettuce.