My husband and I have recently developed a friendship with a young woman in our church who is a campus minister with Western Michigan University’s Intervarsity chapter for the Arts Community, Imago Dei. This chapter is designed to reach artists of all kinds on campus by creating an authentic community for students to integrate their faith and art as they work together to make a difference in the world, both while they are in school and after college as they engage professionally in the arts community.
Darin and I both have hearts for artists and for college students. So, when Bette asked if I would be willing to make dinner for 15-20 of her student ministry leaders I said, “YES!” As I walked away, I began to question what I had just done. What were you thinking? How are you going to do that? What will you make? Will everyone like it? The questions eventually quieted as I decided what I would make: Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas…my mom’s recipe and one of my all-time favorites.
My excitement grew until the text came later in the week. “Bethany, we need a gluten free and vegetarian meal. Will you be able to do that?” I hesitantly responded, “Yes.” The questions resurfaced and I began spinning, wondering what in the world I would make with this new twist. As I researched menu ideas, I kept coming back to my original plan. I could change it up. I would just have to figure out a way to meet the dietary restrictions in front of me. Surely there was still a way to make these enchiladas.
Fortunately, I had all Saturday to shop, cook, and create before the dinner that evening. I visited our local farmer’s market and stocked up on seasonal veggies then headed to the grocery store for the remainder of the ingredients. It turned out to be quite a fun day! I have realized that I love to create new recipes on the spot and this gave me the perfect opportunity.
So whether you make these the traditional way with chicken or with veggies, with corn tortillas or gluten free corn tortillas (yes, they exist!), have fun and enjoy the recipe with those you love or choose to serve. Oh, and one more reminder. When you deliver your beautiful meal, including a large pitcher of ice tea, make sure to grab the entire pitcher, otherwise it might spill all over you just before you walk in to meet 20 new people…just speaking from experience!
4-6 chicken breasts, 6 thighs (cook, cool, and cut into bite size pieces)
2 lbs Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded (one will go in the enchiladas, one to top)
6 cans green enchilada sauce
20 corn tortillas
Milk to moisten (add by tablespoon)
White pepper, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together chicken, 1 lb of cheese, white pepper, garlic powder, and milk. Pour 2 cans of the enchilada sauce in a 9×13 in pan. To prepare the tortillas and keep them from tearing, dip lightly in vegetable oil. Add the mix into a tortilla, roll it up, and place it in the pan. Repeat for 10 enchiladas. (You will have enough for at least two pans of enchiladas.) Pour 1 can of green enchilada sauce on top and cook for 30 minutes. Add cheese and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
To change it up and make it vegetarian, switch out the chicken for seasonal veggies. I used sweet corn, black beans, red, orange, and yellow peppers, zucchini, and cilantro. Mushrooms and squash would be really good too You could also add any of these veggies to the chicken enchiladas as well. Feel free to make it your own!
Blanch the corn to keep it from getting mushy when you cook the enchiladas.
Sauté the veggies slightly to remove excess liquid prior to cooking.
Mix together veggies, corn, black beans, and cilantro.
Stuff the tortillas and repeat as you would for the chicken enchiladas. Enjoy!
Bethany Cabell is a Texas transplant, residing in Michigan with her husband and their two young boys. A lover of beauty, she lives life chasing after wide-open spaces: sharing her heart with others, in relationship with Jesus, and through music and photography. She tells her story here.