Chicken Enchiladas with White Bean Sauce and Rice

This is a super easy and very light recipe that I’ve modified over the years, originally inspired by Cooking Light Magazine.  I like bring my staples into my recipes to keep things quick, and this recipe is an ideal way to use J’s Awesome Salsa.

For the Enchiladas

  • 1 cup J’s Awesome Salsa
  • 2  cups  shredded cooked chicken breast*
  • 1/3  cup  (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 4 large corn tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4  cup  pepper jack cheese
  • 4  lime wedges
  • Cilantro sprigs (optional)

Combine chicken and cream cheese in a large bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup salsa. Reserve remaining salsa.

Spoon about 1/4 cup chicken mixture down center of tortilla; roll up. Place tortilla, seam-side down, in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas, and chicken mixture.

Pour remaining salsa mixture over enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 425° for 18 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with lime wedges. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

*For the chicken breasts, simply bake or sauté and let rest for 5 minutes in a large bowl before pulling apart with two forks.

For the rice

Use measurements according to the package’s directions.  Substitute low-sodium chicken broth for water, and add a spoonful of J’s Awesome Salsa to rice and cook according to directions.

White Bean Sauce

I love beans, but refried? No, not so clean.  And we know most clean eating foodies will substitute black beans for refried with most Latin dishes, however, my other half does not care for black beans.  So, in experimenting, I ended up with a clean version of refried beans.  Tastes pretty much the same to me!  Simply take your favorite canned white bean (ours are Navy beans), rinse thoroughly to remove salt, puree and gently heat and top with pepperjack or queso cheese.  Enjoy!

Cheater’s Chicken Pasty

A pasty — the “a” pronounced like in “Cat” — is a British staple that originated from Cornwall.  It’s like a turnover, or a pot pie, (minus the pie part) that can be served hot or cold.

And just a note:

Before people start complaining as to its authenticity, we all know that it’s not Cornish!  Just think about the West’s take on Chinese food, and we suddenly have “Asian Fusion;” my take on a pasty is a healthier chicken or turkey breast in lieu of beef, and a cheat by using puff pastry and gravy mix.  I also prefer not to mince the breast but bake it whole to retain its juices, so don’t tell me, I already know.  Enjoy with brown gravy and roasted potatoes.


I did put this in the “wicked” category, but we like comfort food just like anyone else, and sometimes a good meal just calls for butter and pastry.  But I should get bonus points by controlling our portions.  We usually cook this recipe for 2 and split it (eat small portions, often!) but this may be good for one person, depending on the size of the chicken breast. I prefer to use one cast iron skillet for the whole meal so we can deglaze and create a savory gravy with the bits left over in the skillet, so do not clean or rinse skillet as you remove items from pan.  We want to collect all the chicken and veggie juices and reduce for gravy.

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • ½ cup bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, chopped (just eyeball it)
  • 1/3 sheet puff pastry
  • egg wash for brushing
  • pat of butter
  • ½ cup red wine for deglazing
  • 2 or 3 thinly sliced mushrooms
  • brown gravy mix (okay, so I think this is the only recipe at JTGCookbook that I actually use a mix)

Let puff pastry defrost over night in fridge or out on the counter for 30 minutes (keep covered to prevent pastry from drying out).

Heat oil on medium heat until near smoking, and sear each side of chicken breast (4 minutes or until browned per side), reduce heat and cover for 10 minutes, turning breast once.  Breast will be done once juices run clear.  Set aside to rest.

While the chicken is cooking, roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to about ¼ inch thickness, making a big rectangle.  Cover with a damp paper towel to keep pastry from drying out.

In same skillet, add the veggies (except cilantro) and cook over medium heat until mushrooms exude liquid and onions start to turn clear.  Add broth, bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Toss in the cilantro and stir until heated through.

**A pasty is basically a piece of pastry folded in half, so you will be placing meat and veggies on one side of the pastry, leaving room to pinch or fold the sides in to make a seal.  Check out this video on making a traditional lamb pasty here to see how to assemble.

Remove paper towels from pastry and begin assembling, first by placing the veggie mixture on one side of the pastry, and top with the chicken breast.

Brush egg wash on the edges of the exposed pastry, and fold the other side over the mixture, being sure to fold edges of pastry over tightly.  Take a fork and press down all along its seam.

Brush with more egg wash and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until pastry is fluffy and golden.  Feel free to brush with more wash halfway through the baking process to enhance colour.

As the pasty is baking, add butt to skillet and bring to medium heat.  Add the wine and stir constantly with a wooden spoon.  The wine will bubble and steam briefly before coming down in temperature.  This is deglazing, where the wine and steam help us scrape up the leftover chicken and veggie bits that will make our gravy so savory.  Toss in a few leftover thinly-sliced mushrooms.

Add gravy mix and water to skillet and cook according to packet directions.

Voila!  Chicken Pasty and Mushroom Gravy!

Tender Pulled Chicken Sandwich

After several tests, I have put together a very simple recipe that makes a very tender and succulent pulled chicken sandwich that will now replace sloppy joes when we have the craving. Recipe for 2-3 sandwiches.  Enjoy!

  • 1 tablespoon buttery spread or margarine
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 1/2 cup favorite buffalo sauce
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • French hamburger buns (or favorite sandwich bread)

Heat margarine over medium high heat and add the onions, sauteing until translucent, but not brown. Add the chicken breast and sear both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Gently break up chicken into chunks with forks, but do not completely shred. Add the buffalo sauce and pepper, return cover and continue simmering 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. 20 minutes prior to serving, mix the cornstarch with a small amount of water until dissolved. Add to sauce and stir. The sauce will continue to thicken until serving time. If the sauce is too runny for your liking, simply cook 10 minutes longer with the cover ajar.

When ready to serve, spoon chicken over lightly toasted buns and serve immediately.

A Healthier Toad-in-the-Hole




Though I always stress the presentation of food, here is an exception: Toad-in-the-Hole, a classic British supper that consists of Yorkshire pudding and sausages.  Not the most attractive meal but you will be hooked and the family will ask for it by name.  It is also one of the easiest meals to make when time is short.

As always, we use chicken sausage to cut of the majority of the fat in this recipe.  Goes well with vegetarian baked beans or roasted potatoes.

  • 1 1/2 cup of plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb of good-quality sausage (we always use chicken)
  • salt and pepper

Place your baking dish in the oven with some vegetable oil and pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Sift flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Make a well in the center of the flour. Whisk the eggs and the milk into the center of the well in the flour, gradually to smooth out lumps. Cover and let stand 30 minutes.

Place the sausages into the preheated baking dish and return to the oven to brown for about 10 minutes, turning once.

Pour the batter over the sausages and return to oven. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the batter is risen and golden. Serve at once.

Serves 4-6

*This picture is courtesy of watkiss online. co. uk. I will update this post with our own picture next time we serve this tasty dish.