Monday, January 30, 2012

Skinny Touchdown: Chicken Enchilada Lasagna

I could give a rat's you-know-what about football. You could tell me Mars is playing Venus and that would sound legitimate. It's just not my thing. I'd rather watch Coolio make spoon steaks on the Food Network, but hey, that's just me.

I do, however, like game day food fare and since the football finale is approaching, I'd thought I take part in all of the food festivity even though I don't know a touchdown from a field goal. It all started last week when a whole chicken was on sale at the market. I needed some more chicken stock, having used all of mine making the Sweet Potato and Chipotle Soup from the new Everyday Food Light cooking book. (I've made three recipes so far from this book and they have all been winners. This does not happen very often.)

So I decided to cook the chicken my new favorite way which is simply by chopping up an onion, throwing it in the bottom of the slow cooker, putting the whole chicken on top and sprinkling it with salt.

I let 'er rip on low for about 3.5 hours. The juiciest chicken emerges without the slightest bit of hesitation.  Do not plan on eating the skin though because it turns into this rubbery piece of slop whose only future involves making friends with the garbage can. But who cares about the skin? Word on the street is that the skin is the worst part of the chicken to eat -- so to the garbage can it goes! Lo and behold: I had all of this delicious juicy chicken meat on my hands and of course, I knew immediately that I wanted to make chicken enchiladas.

But then I started thinking. All of that cheese and sour cream and cream cheese isn't going to help what has become my upward spiral on the scale. I crossed my fingers, closed my eyes and decided to make over my original chicken enchilada recipe, a lighter more better-for-your-waistline chicken enchiladas. And then I just got lazy and didn't feel like rolling up all of those enchiladas (actually, I really couldn't figure out a way to keep the corn tortillas soft during the baking process without frying them in oil, so I decided to use the tortillas the same way one would use lasagna noodles -- as roofs to each little layer.)

I also didn't feel like using a ton of flour to make an enchilada sauce. Seemed like a waste of calories and only a minor problem that a little tomato and tomato paste could solve.

Turned out great.

And it's only 258 calories per serving. This is the perfect bite for a Superbowl buffet table. People who don't care about saving calories won't detect a thing. It's rich without being rich. How's that for a mouthful? Perfect I say!

Chicken Enchilada Lasagna


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced tomato
2 garlic cloves, minced
Shredded meat from a whole chicken (about 3 cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 can black beans, rinsed
3/8 cup chicken stock (or 6 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups 1% milkfat cottage cheese
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 corn tortillas, cut in half
1 cup 2% mexican cheese blend


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add onion and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until softened, about four minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes. I used fresh tomatoes because it's what I had on-hand.

Add the tomatoes to the onions and cook for a few minutes, until soft.

Add the garlic cloves and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the shredded chicken.

Add all of the spices and mix well. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste and black beans and cook until the flavors start to meld about eight minutes. Remove from heat. This is your meat mixture.

In a small bowl, combine the cottage cheese and sour cream. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix well.

Line the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with 4 of the tortillas (which will be 8 tortilla halves), by placing the flat edges around each side.

Spread 1/3 of the meat mixture on top, 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture on that and sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat the layer twice.

Line the remaining tortillas on top and sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese.

Place in the oven for 30 - 35 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes to cool. Slice into twelve servings and serve.

I like it with some chopped scallions on top, while my husband prefers it with salsa verde. Either way, it's fabulous!

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 258; Total Fat 7g; Total Carb 26g; Fiber 5g; Sugars 3g; Protein 22g 

*Nutrition information has been calculated using an online recipe calculator tool.

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  1. I love the use of cottage cheese in dishes like these. Looks great!

  2. Great minds think alike :) I saw your chicken enchilada recipe just after I posted mine on Slightly Indulgent Tues. Lovely pictures and recipe!

    1. Haha! Yes! You have a GREAT dairy-free version that I must try!

  3. That looks so delicious! Im definitely making this one! Glad to be a new follower :)

  4. Just made this tonight, as a trial run. My mother just found out she has celiac disease, so I'm trying to find her some gluten free recipes. This one was very good, and I shall be making it again next weekend when she comes to visit. Thank you!

    1. I am so glad you liked it! Slashing gluten from your diet is so very very hard at the beginning, but she'll get the hang of it in no time!


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