The radio show I listen to every morning recently had a segment about the Love Languages. I had heard about them before and am vaguely aware of them, but something clicked when they talked about “Acts of Service.” I realized that cooking food is one of the big ways that I show my family I love them. I do enjoy cooking quite a bit, but the weekly grind of having to get something on the table every night is driven much more by my desire to serve my family than it is a love for cooking. So the question becomes how do I balance a full time working mom schedule, early bedtime for the 2 year old and providing a home cooked meal at least 4 nights a week?
Enter Freezer Meals. I have tried the freezer meals prepped in a bag that you thaw and drop in the crock pot in the morning, but I wasn’t really satisfied with the quality of the finished meal. Yes it was edible, yes it was much less expensive than take out, but it didn’t taste like it was made with much love. So I started writing down meals I thought would do well to make in a batch and freeze to pull out on a busy weekday.
The first of these is Chicken Enchiladas:
3-5 Baked Chicken Breasts (or the meat from 1 large rotisserie chicken): If baking boneless skinless chicken breasts I drizzle olive oil, garlic powder, paprika and ancho chili powder, salt and pepper on them and bake at 350º for 30-45 minutes or until they read 165º in the thickest part. Not over cooking the chicken will help keep it nice and moist.
1 large onion, I use sweet yellow sliced
2 medium bell peppers, I use one yellow and one red sliced thin
1-2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning, I use Penzey’s Original Taco Blend
16 soft taco size tortillas, approximately
1 large can enchilada sauce
Shredded Cheese, I have used the bag kind or block cheese that needed to be used up, I recommend cheddar, Monterey jack, or other melty cheeses
Optional: Green Onions, Chives, Cilantro
Saute the sliced onions and peppers until soft with a little browning, add taco seasoning.
Slice or shred the chicken and add to pan with onions, peppers and spices.
Get out several 8×11, 9×13 or whatever size oven safe casserole dishes you have. I use the glass ones with plastic lids, like this one.
One tortilla at a time add the filling, wrap up the tortilla and place in the casserole dish. My dishes held 4 filled tortillas each. Once they are all filled, pour enchilada sauce over them all, top with shredded cheese. You can now freeze them all or leave one refrigerated to have tonight or one day this week. To bake, take casserole out in the morning and put in the refrigerator, when you get home take it out and put it on the counter while the oven preheats to 350º, bake for 35-45 minutes or until the middle is hot. Top with optional fresh garnishes: green onions, chives or cilantro. Serve with a side of salsa and sour cream. Enjoy a stress free home cooked dinner with almost no kitchen time on a weeknight!