weeknight chicken enchiladas with homemade ancho chile enchilada sauce

an easy & healthy chicken enchilada recipe perfect for weeknight cooking! these weeknight chicken enchiladas have a filling of pulled chicken, bell pepper sweet onion, black beans, & cheese, and get covered in the easiest blender enchilada sauce made from ancho chiles. the only thing missing is a couple of margaritas! an easy & healthy chicken enchilada recipe perfect for weeknight cooking! these weeknight chicken enchiladas have a filling of pulled chicken, bell pepper sweet onion, black beans, & cheese, and get covered in the easiest blender enchilada sauce made from ancho chiles. the only thing missing is a couple of margaritas! #playswellwithbutter #easychickenenchiladas #healthyenchiladas #mexicanfoodrecipes #homemadenchiladasauce #enchiladasaucerecipe

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despite whatever the hell the weather’s got in mind for us, spring is in full force in my little corner of the world.

it inevitably happens about this time every year. the luxury of our “we don’t really have plans this weekend” late winter state of mind abruptly gives way to BUSY. BUSY BUSY BUSY. weddings & dinners & birthdays & travel & events & golf league (chris, not me 😂) & bridal showers (me, not chris 😂).

it’s all good, fun busy, for sure, but busy busy nonetheless.

& if there’s one thing i know for sure, it’s that the busy seasons of life always make me crave simplicity.

the minimalist kitchen: an easy & healthy chicken enchilada recipe perfect for weeknight cooking! these weeknight chicken enchiladas have a filling of pulled chicken, bell pepper sweet onion, black beans, & cheese, and get covered in the easiest blender enchilada sauce made from ancho chiles. the only thing missing is a couple of margaritas! #playswellwithbutter #easychickenenchiladas #healthyenchiladas #mexicanfoodrecipes #homemadenchiladasauce #enchiladasaucerecipe

getting my hands on a copy of my friend melissa’s new book, the minimalist kitchen, seriously couldn’t have come at a better time.

i had the pleasure of meeting melissa last fall at a brunch event for a campaign we both worked on last summer. in my typical embarrassing fashion, i made a point to stay calm & cool as i mingled my way over to where she was in the room, & then proceeded to “OMG FANGIRL” & tell her all about how long i’ve read her blog (ever since bitchin’ sauce!) & how excited i was to meet her IRL & how i couldn’t believe i was talking to her & how i love her so much.

yes, actually.

omg. 🙈 so. embarrassing.

the good news is melissa is every bit as mellow & cool & gracious & wonderful as you’d expect. we’ve since grown a little friendship over the internet, & i’m so thrilled to share with you her new book today because it too is every bit as cool & wonderful as you’d expect.

with over 100 wholesome recipes, the minimalist kitchen is the definition of what i call a “kitchen counter” book. it’s 100% practical, 100% approachable, & full of recipes that are 100% modern & delicious. we’re talkin’ chilaquiles, blender dutch babies, quinoa bibimbap bowls, maple bourbon sours, & of course today’s recipe: weeknight chicken enchiladas, which melissa has wittily dubbed “ancho-ladas” given the easy homemade ancho chili sauce they’re served with.

as a bonus, aside from her amazing recipes, melissa has also FILLED the minimalist kitchen with helpful tips, suggestions, & insights that make it so much more than just another cookbook – it’s honestly such a great resource. i can’t wait to cook from it again & again & again. you’re gonna love it. get your copy here.

these weeknight chicken enchiladas are going to be a staple recipe in your kitchen. an easy & healthy chicken enchilada recipe perfect for weeknight cooking! these weeknight chicken enchiladas have a filling of pulled chicken, bell pepper sweet onion, black beans, & cheese, and get covered in the easiest blender enchilada sauce made from ancho chiles. the only thing missing is a couple of margaritas! #playswellwithbutter #easychickenenchiladas #healthyenchiladas #mexicanfoodrecipes #homemadenchiladasauce #enchiladasaucerecipe

pin these weeknight chicken enchiladas for later!!! 

yep, they’re THAT good. to break these weeknight chicken enchiladas down a little bit, we’ve got:

  • homemade ancho chile enchilada sauce. sounds SUPER fancy, but is super straightforward to make, with no cooking involved!!! you soak some ancho chile peppers (which are dried poblano peppers) in hot water to reconstitute them, then you blend them up with some onion, roasted tomato, garlic, & honey. per melissa’s suggestion, i did this all right in my blender so there’s no need to dirty up any extra dishes to wash. love that!
  • a wholesome filling made of chicken, black beans, bell pepper, & onion. while the chiles soak, you saute up some peppers & onions til they’re nice and charred, then stir them in with some pulled chicken, black beans, & cheese. melissa has an awesome dutch oven whole chicken recipe in the book, but i opted to use my “faux-tisserie” method for ease. check it in the recipe notes in the card below!
  • cheese. cheese, cheese, cheese. i used sharp cheddar & pepper jack in the filling – they’re my faves! the enchis then get topped off with some cotija & bake away until everything is golden & bubbling & perfect. 😋
the beauty of these weeknight chicken enchiladas is they’re just that: totally weeknight-friendly. an easy & healthy chicken enchilada recipe perfect for weeknight cooking! these weeknight chicken enchiladas have a filling of pulled chicken, bell pepper sweet onion, black beans, & cheese, and get covered in the easiest blender enchilada sauce made from ancho chiles. the only thing missing is a couple of margaritas! #playswellwithbutter #easychickenenchiladas #healthyenchiladas #mexicanfoodrecipes #homemadenchiladasauce #enchiladasaucerecipe

pin these weeknight chicken enchiladas for later!!! 

with only 30 minutes active cook time, you can totally knock these weeknight chicken enchiladas out, start to finish, any day of the week.

they’re also totally meal prep-friendly, which i love. the ancho chile enchilada sauce will keep in the fridge for up to a month. you could assemble the enchiladas in full in advance, or just slice up the veggies & prep the filling so you can assemble them the night you plan to serve weeknight chicken enchiladas for dinner. easy peasy!

not sure what melissa would think, but if you ask me…i’m pretty sure the only thing missing is a weeknight paloma. 😉 (just kidding, i’m pretty sure she’d be down with that.) an easy & healthy chicken enchilada recipe perfect for weeknight cooking! these weeknight chicken enchiladas have a filling of pulled chicken, bell pepper sweet onion, black beans, & cheese, and get covered in the easiest blender enchilada sauce made from ancho chiles. the only thing missing is a couple of margaritas! #playswellwithbutter #easychickenenchiladas #healthyenchiladas #mexicanfoodrecipes #homemadenchiladasauce #enchiladasaucerecipe

pin these weeknight chicken enchiladas for later!!! 

if you love these weeknight chicken enchiladas, here are a few other recipes you will love!
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an easy & healthy chicken enchilada recipe perfect for weeknight cooking! these weeknight chicken enchiladas have a filling of pulled chicken, bell pepper sweet onion, black beans, & cheese, and get covered in the easiest blender enchilada sauce made from ancho chiles. the only thing missing is a couple of margaritas! #playswellwithbutter #chickenenchiladas #easychickenenchiladas #enchiladasrecipe #healthyenchiladas #mexicanfoodrecipes #homemadenchiladasauce #enchiladasaucerecipe #easydinnerrecipe #healthydinnerrecipe #mealpreprecipe

weeknight chicken enchiladas with homemade ancho chile enchilada sauce


  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour (includes inactive time)
  • Yield: serves 4-6 1x

Description

an easy & healthy chicken enchilada recipe perfect for weeknight cooking! these weeknight chicken enchiladas have a filling of pulled chicken, bell pepper sweet onion, black beans, & cheese, and get covered in the easiest blender enchilada sauce made from ancho chiles. the only thing missing is a couple of margaritas!


Scale

Ingredients

for the weeknight chicken enchiladas:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 cups pulled chicken (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese (e.g. sharp cheddar, pepper jack)
  • 2 1/4 cups blender ancho chile enchilada sauce (below)
  • 8 6-inch whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons cotija cheese
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to season
  • for serving, as desired: sliced avocado, perfect guacamole, toasted pepitas, chopped cilantro, etc.

for the blender ancho chile enchilada sauce:

  • 4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed & deseeded
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped sweet onion
  • 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Make the blender ancho chile enchilada sauce: Measure 2 cups of hot water in a high-powered blender (you can use the tick marks on the side of the blender container to measure). Add the chiles and submerge, allowing them to soak & reconstitute for 10 minutes. Once reconstituted add the remaining listed ingredients. Blend on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. This yields 4 cups. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. 
  2. Cook the peppers and onions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Preheat a 10-inch cast iron skillet, or another heavy-bottomed skillet of choice, over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Once hot, add the oil, peppers, and onions, stirring to combine. Season with a few pinches of salt and ground black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, until softened and charred.
  3. Make the weeknight chicken enchilada filling: Add the cooked peppers and onions to a large bowl with the pulled chicken, black beans, cheese, and 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce. Stir to combine. 
  4. Assemble the weeknight chicken enchiladas: Add 1 cup of the enchilada sauce to a 10×12 baking dish, spreading it into a thin layer to coat the bottom of the pan. Fill each tortilla with 1/2 cup of the filling, then roll into an enchilada and place snuggly on the bottom of the pan, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining filling and tortillas. Pour 1 cup of the sauce down the center of the enchiladas, spreading it over the surface of the enchiladas.
  5. Bake the enchiladas, tented with foil, for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the foil, and top the enchiladas with the cotija cheese. Bake for another 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted, and the enchiladas are bubbly. 
  6. Serve the enchiladas, topped with sliced avocado, guacamole, chopped cilantro, and pepita seeds, or any other toppings of choice. Enjoy!!!

Notes

  • This recipe is reprinted with permission from The Minimalist Kitchen: The Practical Art of Making More With Less by Melissa Coleman.
  • Meal prep! These enchiladas are totally meal prep-friendly. As noted, you can make the sauce up to 1 month in advance. You could also slice up the veggies and assemble the filling (Steps 2-3) to make these enchiladas very easy to throw together during the week. You could also assemble the enchiladas in full (Steps 2-4), noting that the enchiladas should be baked within 1 day of being assembled (otherwise they may get a little soggy). 
  • Melissa suggests doubling this recipe to freeze a second batch for later – love this idea! Assemble as described in Steps 2-4, then wrap tightly with foil. Thaw in the fridge the day you wish to serve the enchiladas.
  • Faux-tisserie chicken: You could use shredded rotisserie chicken for this recipe, or Melissa also has a great Dutch-oven chicken recipe in the book. I make my “faux-tisserie” chicken regularaly for dishes like this, & it’s a great option to keep on hand! Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Place chicken breasts or thighs on a baking sheet and season liberally with salt and ground black pepper. Roast for 10-12 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Cool, shred, and use in dishes like these throughout the week, or freeze to keep shredded chicken on hand at all times. 
don’t forget to pin these weeknight chicken enchiladas for later!!! an easy & healthy chicken enchilada recipe perfect for weeknight cooking! these weeknight chicken enchiladas have a filling of pulled chicken, bell pepper sweet onion, black beans, & cheese, and get covered in the easiest blender enchilada sauce made from ancho chiles. the only thing missing is a couple of margaritas! #playswellwithbutter #easychickenenchiladas #healthyenchiladas #mexicanfoodrecipes #homemadenchiladasauce #enchiladasaucerecipe

About jess

i help modern gals turn everyday moments into celebrations with recipes that are just as easy as they are elegant.

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