Winning Creamy Chicken Enchiladas


On our third date, my husband made me dinner. It was our third date in three days. It was also the night we decided to get married. We make quick decisions.

I did not know the trouble he had had making these enchiladas before I got to his apartment.

He burned the chicken for the filling and had to run out. For some reason he substituted it with canned chicken. Gulp. He was also on a health kick and used all low-fat ingredients. Double gulp. Needless to say that dish is a bit different than the one we make today.

I say “we” but I really mean “I.”


1 1/2 pounds of salsa chicken (recipe here. It will make double the amount of chicken you will need for this dish. You can halve it, double this recipe or save it for a different dish. I use the leftovers from tacos the night before)
15 oz. can green enchilada sauce
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
8 oz. softened cream cheese
10 white corn tortillas
2 cups shredded mexican cheese
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Optional toppings:

Sour cream



Make my salsa chicken in the crockpot. This will take 4-5 hours. Shred. Set aside. I used leftover chicken from the night before.


Pour vegetable oil in a small skillet. Heat over medium heat until hot. Fry tortillas one at a time for approximately 8 seconds each side. You do not want the tortillas hard, just soft and malleable. Don’t worry about any little holes in a tortilla. It will be covered with cheese and no one will ever know. Well, unless you post the pictures of it on the Internet. But who would be dumb enough to do that?


Lay two paper towels on a plate. Place the tortilla on the paper towel lined plate. Lay four-five tortillas on paper towels in a single layer. Repeat paper towel layers. Repeat tortillas until all fried. Allow tortillas to cool while moving on to the next step.


In a large skillet, mix together cream cheese, cream of chicken soups, and green enchilada sauce. Heat and stir ingredients in skillet over medium heat.


It will be lumpy at first. Keep stirring. I use a whisk.


And then, in a miraculous moment, it will all come together. Turn off heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Smear some of the enchilada sauce in a 9 X 13 pan.


Take a tortilla and rub some sauce down the middle.


Place a good handful of shredded chicken in the middle of tortilla. Roll up tortilla with sauce and chicken inside and place seam side down in pan.


Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. I fill the pan, even on the sides because I do not want to dirty more dishes.


Pour remaining sauce on top of filled tortillas. With a spatula, flatten it into place.


Cover with the scrumptious cheese.


Cover with foil and bake for twenty five minutes. After twenty five minutes, remove foil and bake for an additional ten minutes.

Remove from oven and serve!


We used to make this enchilada dish every Christmas Eve. This was the first year we made it for Christmas instead.

You see, a few years ago my husband decided to switch up the recipe. He abandoned this one and made The Homesick Texan’s Chicken Enchiladas. And everybody loved them. And all was good. But I missed his old recipe. There was something divine in the simplicity of its creamy essence.

So, we had a battle of the chicken enchiladas on Christmas day. As one does.

My husband won.

Or so he thought.

He forgot one very important factor.

While he may cook ten days out of the year.

I cook on almost all of the days in-between.

That’s a lot of days.

I had not given up on the chicken enchilada recipe.

So, I made them the next week.

And the next.

And the next.

I kind of could not get enough.

My family, on the other hand, finally caved. “Okay! You win!” My daughter finally shouted when she saw the enchiladas make an appearance for the fourth time.

My son did not have her tact. He dragged himself to the dinner table on his knees. “Not again,” he murmured from the floor as he shuffled morosely towards his chair. I did not take it too personally. He dislikes any sort of enchilada. The poor guy had reached his limit.

My daughter was not done. “Look, Mom, these were great the first time. Good the second time. Fine the third time. But, oh my gosh! I don’t know if I can eat any more of these! We have had them so often!”

But I was not done either. “All right. I might not make them again for awhile,” I heard my family give a sigh of relief. I relentlessly continued, “if you can answer me one simple question.”

They looked up at me with shadowed eyes of enchilada weariness. “Anything,” they would have said if they had not fallen into a creamy-cheese-induced-coma.

“Whose enchiladas are really the best?”

“Yours!” Came the pleading sobs from my family.

Just as I suspected.


It’s The Little Things: Some Pantry Staples

First, the items I want to discuss are more like refrigerator staples and not pantry staples, because that is where these things are stored. But “refrigerator staples” does not roll off one’s tongue in quite the same way that “pantry staples” does. What? You don’t think “pantry staples” is pure poetry? Next you’re going to say that “Mops and Brooms” is not your favorite song. It’s a rap, by the way. And it’s sweeping the nation.

There are three products I always have in my refrigerator. They are not your typical staples. Let’s discuss:


Trader Joe’s Cilantro and Chive Yogurt Dip is my go-to staple. I love it with my my favorite grilled chicken in the summertime, but I have also paired it with steak and fish and it is equally delicious.

Even served simply with some grilled flat bread and rice is yummy.


It is a greek yogurt (tzatziki type sauce) blended with herbs and it is outstanding. I do not typically care for premade sauces and dips. I much prefer making my own, but this one is perfection. It is easy. I highly recommend it. I always have a container on hand.


This brings me to my next staple. I love Stonefire’s Naan Flatbread (I have found mine at a local little grocery store and in the fresh bread section at Albertson’s). Usually you would serve pita bread with the yogurt dip, but I like naan better. It is wonderful dipped in the yogurt sauce above.

I smear melted butter on each side of the bread and toast both surfaces for a few minutes each in a hot skillet. Then I cut it with a pizza cutter and serve.


This bread freezes wonderfully. When I want to use it, I simply defrost the package for an hour and then I cook it as I previously described. It is a healthy little appetizer served with veggies and the sauce above in case company spontaneously stops by.


Which leads me to the last staple I will be writing about today. Broccoli. It has always been my favorite vegetable. My kids enjoy it, too. Two nights ago my son had two servings of broccoli before he even touched his main course. “The secret is butter.” As it always is. By the way, that’s my second favorite song. It’s creaming its competition.

I love these prewashed and chopped broccoli florets that come in their own plastic bag. You can serve them raw with the tzatziki sauce. But I usually eat them hot as a side instead of with the dip. I puncture the bag with a fork two times and then microwave the bag for three minutes on high. I let the broccoli rest in the bag for one minute then I dump the broccoli in a bowl with two tablespoons of salted butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper. I mix it together and serve it as a side to my family’s dinners throughout the week.

When I was taking the broccoli pictures my daughter begged me to make the broccoli even though it was almost nine o’clock at night (which explains the great lighting). I did. And we ate it up. I have heard that eating after nine is bad for you but broccoli doesn’t count right? Let’s see…

Brocolli after nine
Is perfectly fine.
Just drink some wine.
Don’t have a last line.
For this bad rhyme of mine.

What is your favorite pantry refrigerator staple? Do you use any of the ones I mentioned? What is your favorite thing to serve to unexpected company? I would not recommend poetry. They seem to leave after that. Hey, where are you going?

The Lord Of The Pizzas


No. This pizza is not really “Lord of the pizzas.” Nor am I, “Lord of the pizzas.” In fact, the title was simply in reference to some silly movie quotes throughout this post.

Blame my thighs. They lord over everything around here.

One of my favorite things to make at home is homemade pizza. We take the term “homemade” a little loosely in our house. We made it in our house. But everything is bought and put together. As in pre-made. And put together.

As in my lazy soul continues to be happy.

And my thighs continue to rule them all.

Isn’t that how the saying goes?:

“One thigh to rule them all. One thigh to wine them.
One thigh to eat it all and in the kitchen dine them.”

Or somethin’ like that.

I have tried almost all of the different store’s pre-made pizza dough. And I know which dough is my favorite. Safeway’s pizza dough can’t be beat. And I will not use any other pizza sauce except for Pastorelli. As for the cheese, I use whatever I can get on sale.

So, my ingredient list has my preferred labels for the pizza I make at home.

With school being out for the summer soon, I know my kids will want to be in the kitchen cooking more. I wanted to post this in case you, too, want to trick get your kids to cook dinner for you this season.

This would be great for second breakfast, too.


Ingredients for two pizzas:

2 Safeway Select Traditional pre-made (but not precooked) pizza balls of dough (usually found next to their pre-made take and bake refrigerated pizzas and usually $1 each)
2 8 oz. cans of Pastorelli Pizza sauce (you can use a 15 oz. can and split it in half. I buy the two little cans so each child has their own can to work with)
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


We use:

1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 bag pepperoni
1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes

Any other topping you like. Maybe Po-ta-toes.


Let refrigerated pizza dough rest on counter for thirty minutes before using.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Since I have two children, I let each of them roll out one ball of dough. Stretch the dough. Pull the dough. You really cannot hurt it. The more you work pizza dough, the better it gets.


My kids do all of the following instructions. What do I do? Well, somebody has to drink the wine.

I always have them make it in a rectangular shape. This is so the finished product fits on my baking sheets.

The baking sheets should be lightly oiled with olive oil.

Once the dough is made into the desired shape, place each pizza dough on a baking sheet.



Pour one can of pizza sauce on to each pizza dough. Sprinkle two cups of cheese onto each pizza. Then top with your ingredients. One of our children likes plain cheese. The other, pepperoni. And our whole family likes sun dried tomatoes and feta.


Those last two ingredients are not added until there are only two to three minutes left to the baking time. I want them warmed up but sun-dried tomatoes burn very quickly, so you can not put them on at the beginning. I feel like feta dries out if I put it on for the entire baking period because the flakes are so small. But you can definitely add it for the entire baking time if you prefer.


Bake pizzas for 13-15 minutes. The cheese should be melted but not brown.

Let the pizza rest for 3-5 minutes. Cut the pizza into slices.

Plate the pizza.

Serve the pizza with salad. I use this easy recipe.


Homemade pizza. Spinach salad. Red wine.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

Isn’t that right, my precious?

“Mom, You Smell Good!”

That sounds nice, right? Sweet, right?

Well, it does sound nice. And it does sound sweet.

But, unfortunately, it was not.

It ended up not being true.

Let me backtrack.

I was making sloppy joes for dinner. I had wanted to make my Sloppy Joe Pie, but time only allotted for the making of sloppy joes.


I was browning my meat. I was humming. I was drinking my Kung Fu Girl wine. I decided, Hmmmm, maybe someone would like to see how I make my sloppy joes. My husband is smirking at my secret thoughts right now. I added my dashes of worcestershire sauce and garlic powder to my meat. And I took a picture.


Oh, yes! This is lookin’ good, thought my Kung Fu brain.

I took another picture.

Which turned out fine.

But what you cannot see.

What you are not seeing, is me dumping the whole sloppy joe packet down the front of my pajamas (don’t tell me you don’t cook in your pajamas, my heart could not bear it. Actually, I was wearing these pajamas).

It landed all over the floor.

Of course, I thought.

Of course. I am making Sloppy Joes. How could I make them and not be sloppy?

I couldn’t.


My husband sweetly vacuumed up my mess while I finished dinner. Here is a tip: I add a quarter cup of ketchup to my sloppy joe mixture, in addition to the tomato paste the packet calls for (and yes, I had to open up a new packet. Because my other one was consumed in equal parts by the floor and the vacuum).

We ate dinner. I forgot about my mishap. Moved along. Took pictures of my fancy food.


Later, I laid down in our bed to read my husband and my son a bit of “The Magician’s Elephant” (review coming soon. Spoiler: I give it a ten out of ten).

My son cuddled up next to me.

“Mom. You smell good!”

My heart melted.

“I do?” I thought about what it could be. Could it be my deodorant or my IF perfume? I had worn both forever. I was surprised it had taken him this long to comment on liking them.

“What do I smell like?”

He thought. Then he sniffed loudly.

“Garlic bread!” He proclaimed.

“Whhhhhaaaaaatttttt?” I unhappily asked.

He tried to make me feel better. “I love garlic bread!” He assured me.

This was still not what I wanted to hear.

I sniffed my shirt where he had been laying. It did smell like garlic.

I looked inside the pocket. And I gasped. Inside the pocket of my top was half of the sloppy joe packet I had dropped earlier.

I guess my shirt was hungrier than the floor and the vacuum.

I quickly went into the laundry room and changed. But I could not help reflecting on the fact that making sloppy joes had turned out to be messier than I had thought it would be.

I was downright sloppy.

Wait for it.

I was a Sloppy Jenni.

But it was okay.

Little boys are crazy for the stuff.

And I can think of a lot worse things than smelling like garlic bread.

But not much.

P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day! Today I am wearing a bright pink caftan that I bought on sale. It makes me feel ultra feminine and romantic. What are you wearing today? Doing today? We are going out to lunch as a couple and then I am making homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner with the family.

I hope your day is sweet!

And that you don’t smell like garlic. Or sloppy joes! Or worse, Sloppy Jenni!


P.S. I shared this on Savvy Southern Style.

And My Romantic Home.