Mediterranean Monday: Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas

Dear Friends,

It’s technically Mediterranean Tuesday this week, but I digress. I normally start my Mediterranean Monday posts on Sunday, but this past Sunday I was so miserably tired I couldn’t even begin to write a blog post. There is no telling what sort of drivel would’ve found its way onto this page had I tried. So I started my post yesterday instead, and finished it today. One day late is a greater accomplishment than skipping it completely!

My Monday routine, at least until my boys start their religion classes on Wednesday nights in September, is to plan my menu for the week, write up the shopping list, and then go get groceries after work. Once their religion classes start up, this gets moved to Wednesday so I can do my shopping during the hour that they’re at class. One of the things on my list for this week was chicken and black bean enchiladas.

Hunter is extra-picky, so finding healthy dinners that he will actually eat is a major challenge. Luckily, Mexican style food is one thing I rarely have trouble getting him to eat. And it’s surprising how easily these dishes can be made healthy, or at least mostly healthy. In these enchiladas, for example, I boiled the chicken rather than frying it in a skillet, and used whole wheat tortillas instead of the traditional white flour tortillas. So there were no empty carbs, and the only added fat was the little bit of olive oil spray I used to coat the baking dish and sauté peppers and onions. I also snuck in a sweet potato for a little extra vegetable goodness that isn’t obvious to my pick child!

I used black beans and chicken together to cut down on the amount of chicken that I had to use. That means less cholesterol and more healthy fats, without sacrificing any protein. I try to limit the amount of meat that we eat simply because of the saturated fats and cholesterol that are found in it, so I’m always looking for ways to use beans or nuts to help make up the protein. This recipe does a great job with that balance.

And now for the recipe…

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb chicken breast, boiled in salted water and drained
  • 1 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small to medium sweet potato
  • 1 cup of onions and bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 TBS minced garlic
  • 6-8 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (your choice, but we like Cheddar or Monterey Jack)
  • 2 cans of enchilada sauce
  • olive oil spray
  • 2 TBS ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 28oz can of red enchilada sauce
  • optional – 1 finely chopped jalapeno

Directions:

  1. Set the oven to preheat at 375 degrees.
  2. Pierce sweet potato and pop into the microwave for a few minutes, depending on the power of your microwave, until soft.
  3. Shred the chicken using an electric mixer (this is much, much faster than shredding with a fork!) and place in a mixing bowl.
  4. Spray a small skillet with a light coating of olive oil spray, then add the onions and peppers. Also add the jalapeno here if you’re using one–I have them growing in my back yard and we like a little spice, so I used jalapeno for ours.
  5. When the onions are just starting to turn translucent, add the garlic and sauté until the mixture starts to brown.
  6. Remove onion, peppers and garlic from heat and add to chicken in the mixing bowl.
  7. The sweet potato should be cooled down enough to handle, so you can do one of two things – either dice it into small pieces and add to the mixture, or if you have a super picky child like mine, puree it in a food processor along with 1/2-1 cup of enchilada sauce.
  8. Pour the black beans into the mixing bowl, then add the ground cumin, salt and pepper. Add 1/2-1 cup of enchilada sauce, or the sweet potato/enchilada sauce mixture if you chose that route, then stir to combine.
  9. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish lightly with olive oil spray.
  10. Lay tortillas on a flat surface and distribute the chicken and bean mixture evenly among them. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, then fold in the ends and roll them up.
  11. Place enchiladas seam-side-down in the baking dish, then pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top.
  12. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Since I made these last night after shopping, I used the time while they were baking to get my produce prepped for the week, set up my coffee pot for the morning and get the boys’ snacks measured out and ready for the week. That means for a side to go with the enchiladas, I just tossed a salad. Easy peasy, and a veggie that both boys will always eat! And in case you’re wondering–the boys loved them! Logan came into the kitchen right before I put them in the oven and he said, “yes, those are my favorite!”

Happy eating 🙂

Love,
Loren

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