Bargain Meal of the Week, Chicken, Chicken Enchiladas, cream cheese, Freezer, Frugal Hausfrau, Leftover Chicken, Leftover Turkey, Mexican or Southwestern, Thanksgiving Leftovers, Tomato sauce, tortillas, Turkey
I’ve been making this since I lived in Colorado years ago – the filling may not be too authentic, but it’s amazingly creamy and delicious and has long been a family favorite – I love recipes like this for turkey leftovers, and when I bake chicken, I’ll make extra just to remix later in the week in a casserole like this. Cost for this recipe, made in April 2012 was $5.49
Recipe: Chicken (or Turkey) Enchiladas, makes 12
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 bell pepper, finely chopped, or use poblano, charred, skinned and chopped – or canned peppers
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 15 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/3 cup half and half
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups cooked turkey, or chicken, shredded
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 corn tortillas
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, about 6 ounces
Saute onion and pepper in butter, stir in sauce, stock and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes.
In a bowl, gradually add cream to softened cream cheese and blend. Stir in chicken, onion and salt.
Prepare a 9 x 13″ casserole by coating with cooking spray and covering the bottom with about 1/2 cup of sauce.
Lightly brown each tortilla in a skillet or on a burner to soften, dip in sauce and fill with 1/4 cup of chicken mixture. Roll and place seam side down in casserole. If you’d prefer not to fry the tortillas, don’t dip or they will become soggy. When pan is filled, cover with remaining sauce. Cover pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and bake three minutes longer.
Money & Time Saving Strategies:
For pricing, remember to use your coupon matching sites for your local stores. My favorite is Pocket Your Dollars in my area, but every store has a group of enthusiastic couponers who can point you to the best bargains. Don’t be discouraged if your prices are higher at first – just keep shopping the best sales and follow the strategies and you’ll get there! Check under Saving on Basic Ingredients for more detailed information and storage hints – use <control f> to search each page to bring you to the item you want to check out.
- Chicken or Turkey: I buy at sale prices of 69 to 99 cents a pound for the turkey, and 89 to 99 cents a pound for chicken breasts. You may be able to pick up chicken legs or thighs for even cheaper. Use your leftovers wisely – they can be stored, cooked for short term, a month or two – after that they’ll deteriorate quickly. Two cups is about 8 ounces, so on the high end, the protein for this meal is 50 cents.
- Tortillas: Another item I pull from my freezer – I stock up when they’re at $1.00 a package, both for corn and flour. (I used to buy the larger more expensive flour tortillas – now I just think of them as extra carbs, calories and price.)
- Cream Cheese: Regularly drops to a $1.00 on sale in my area, and even lower around Holidays, although these lower prices are often limited to one or two packages - get to know your rock bottom price and pick up multiple packages. They last for weeks in the fridge. Cost for this recipe: $1.00
- Tomato Sauce: I buy large cans (29 to 30 ounces) of tomatoes, often with coupons or Catalinas (buy so many, get money off your next shopping trip.) I just throw a can in the blender, and put what I don’t use, labeled in the freezer. You can use bits or juice in meatloaves and soups. I never pay more than a dollar, but quite frequently pick them up for 50 cents or even free. I’ll split the difference here, and call the cost: 50 cents.
- Chicken Stock: If you read me regularly, I make my own with scraps of vegetables and bones – here’s the basic recipe I use for Best Turkey or Chicken Stock - it’s not particular and though it simmers for a long time, the burner is barely on – I just count it as free.
- Half & Half: I generally buy cream instead of half and half since I don’t drink coffee and I find the cream much more versatile to use. For a small amount like this, don’t buy – just use a bit of milk to thin the cream cheese.
- Onion: Buy onions whenever you see them drop in price and store in a cool, dark place away from any potatoes. If you have an Aldi’s nearby, I generally find the best pricing there. Cost for the onion: 66 cents a pound, an onion is 20 cents.
- Bell Peppers: These can vary in pricing depending on the color, and of course, are always cheapest in the summer. There are two types of sales, per pound or per pepper. I usually look for the per pepper pricing; in my area it’s generally cheaper – I’ll then buy the biggest, most gorgeous ones I can find. The peppers are often bagged and sold by a unit price, too. A really good price in our area is about a dollar a pepper for the red, yellow or orange ones, and 50 to 75 cents for the green bell. I usually try to stretch them when I can. They really do add an important flavor ingredient to a lot of dishes. Last bought a green bell for 69 cents.
- Butter: On sale for Easter last week, 1 pound is $1.49 – stock up as much as you can during Holiday weeks and freeze. Ours was a limit 1 sale, but I stopped by the store more than once. I cut the butter in this recipe, but didn’t even notice the difference. Two tablespoon is about 10 cents.
- Cheese: I can usually find supermarket cheese on sale for $2.00 for eight ounces, but I’ve found it on special with coupons free or even $1.00 for 8 ounces. You can freeze it and use for recipes, although wrapped it lasts for a long time. I’ll use the $2.00 price – cost for this recipe is $1.50.
Per Serving: 271 Calories; 16g Fat (52.5% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 18g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 61mg Cholesterol; 950mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 2 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.
Put Your Own Spin on It:
Vary the cheeses in this – jack would be good, or if you have access to some great Mexican cheeses, by all means use them. Serve with refried beans and Spanish Rice, and all the accoutrements we’ve come to expect with Mexican food.
My Pay Off: This makes 12 enchiladas – if your family is smaller, you could certainly freeze and then reheat 1/2 of them – since they keep so well in the fridge, we generally have part in the beginning of the week, and the rest for a second meal later.
- Leftover Chicken? Here’s a new idea: Mexican Lasagna (letstalkhog.com)
- Chicken Enchiladas – My Heritage (fromheelstoboots.wordpress.com)
- Green Chili Enchiladas (adaynasmile.wordpress.com)