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Canned Chicken and Bean Enchiladas

This canned chicken enchiladas recipe is delicious, nutritious, easy to make, and makes great use of items already in your pantry! Enchiladas are such an easy and comforting meal. They take very little time to prepare and taste amazing. Taking a bite of one of these warm juicy enchilada will make you want to save this recipe as one of your family’s favorites!

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This recipe uses very shelf stable ingredients for the filling and the sauce which makes it a great recipe to keep in mind if you can’t get fresh food for whatever reason. The past couple years have taught us that we should be prepared to potentially forgo the grocery store for a few weeks. Sickness and weather are two extremely common reasons for this lately. Beans, rice, salsa, and canned chicken are perfect ingredients to store in your kitchen for such a time. If you don’t want to learn to make your own tortillas, you can freeze store-bought ones in the freezer like I chose to do.

This canned chicken enchiladas recipe came about while I was trying to use up some things in the pantry (in the kitchen cabinet, I don’t have a real pantry). We had some old salsa that may or may not have expired a year and a half ago. It was really the perfect centerpiece for this recipe. It was a green salsa from Taco Bell that kept great flavor even though it was old. I think that any salsa or enchilada sauce will do for this recipe. It gave moisture to the filling and added flavor to the tortillas. You’ll notice in the pictures that I didn’t use much salsa over the top of the tortillas, and that is simply because I didn’t have much salsa to begin with. I had to use the salsa pretty sparingly but the flavor really came through.

I have learned that the most important place to put your sauce in an enchilada dish is on the bottom of the tortillas. Bottom sauce gets soaked up by the tortilla and adds flavor while preventing it from drying out on the bottom while cooking. It keeps the flavor consistent through the whole dish and makes it more cohesive in both flavor and texture.

Perfect for Meal Prep

Enchiladas are perfect for meal prepping. There are two ways of utilizing canned chicken enchiladas in your meal prepping routine. The first way is by spending some of your extra time preparing the beans and rice. The second way is by making a large batch in a couple separate containers and freezing some for later.

Meal prepping is simply using your time wisely to prepare meals in advance, and one way to do this is by preparing ingredients ahead of time. Beans and rice both take a while to prepare if starting from dry legumes/grains. Starting these ahead of time will save a lot of time on the day you plan to make the enchiladas. If you work from home, you can even do this during your work day!

When you are planning ahead, you are much more likely to use healthier ingredients like brown rice and non-canned beans. As a whole grain, brown rice has a lot more health benefits than white rice. It has more fiber, magnesium, and other nutrients. Similarly, cooking dried beans is better than store-bought canned beans because they will have less added salts, nitrates, and even traces of heavy metals. When you make the beans and rice ahead of time, you can save a bunch of time when you mix all the ingredients together to make your tasty enchiladas.

The second way of using this canned chicken enchiladas recipe in your meal prep is to make a bunch and save it for later. All of the ingredients we are using are pre-cooked, so there is no rush to put things into the oven right away. Therefore you can put some of the uncooked (or unheated) enchiladas in the fridge and cook them within a few day, or freeze them and use them within a few months. To prepare a frozen enchilada dish, I recommend thawing it overnight before preparing the meal as a lunch or dinner.

When I prepare food, I like to put portions of it in medium sized glass dishes that work perfectly for my husband to take to work as lunch or for us to prepare for dinner together. Preparing a full 9×13 pan of food for later doesn’t work for just the two of us. These enchiladas work perfect in my medium sized dishes with street taco sized tortillas!

Canned Chicken Enchiladas

This canned chicken enchiladas recipe is delicious, nutritious, easy to make, and makes great use of items already in your pantry! Enchiladas are such an easy and comforting meal. They take very little time to prepare and taste amazing. Taking a bite of one of these warm juicy enchilada will make you want to save this recipe as one of your family's favorites!
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups Rice Brown or White Rice
  • 1 cup Black Beans or 1 can of Black Beans
  • 1 Can of Chicken
  • 1 tsp Seasoned Salt
  • 1 Jar/Can of Salsa
  • 1 1/2 cup Cheese
  • 16 Taco Sized Corn Tortillas

Instructions
 

  • Begin by preparing both the beans and the rice individually. For the rice this means bringing water to a boil and simmering the rice for 17 minutes for white rice and 45 minutes for brown rice. For the beans, check out this recipe (coming soon) for cooking beans. Summarizing the recipe, soak dried beans for 8-12 hours (like during work) and then boil them for 1 hour.
  • Mix the rice, beans, and canned chicken in a large bowl. Stir in the seasoned salt and about 1/4 of the salsa.
  • Prepare your enchilada dish by pouring a small amount of salsa into it and tilting the dish until it is nearly all coated.
  • Fill your tortillas with the rice, bean, and chicken mix and place in the dish. If your tortillas are falling apart while you are trying to fill them, try microwaving them for a few seconds each before adding the filling.
  • Once all of the enchiladas are prepared and in the dish, pour the rest of the salsa over them. Add the cheese on top.
  • You can either freeze these enchiladas for another day or bake them right away. Bake at 350F for 35 minutes. If saving them for another day, remember to thaw them before you cook them for best results. In a pinch, use the defrost button on the microwave and switch the outside and inside enchiladas to help them defrost evenly.
    Enjoy!

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