This is NTKO Dad’s favorite meal and one that I can cook outdoors in a Dutch oven or indoors in an oven. If you know me, you know that my kitchen skills are pretty, meh. Inside this dish is an entire bag of spinach. Yup. The whole bag. I had a self-proclaimed spinach hater eat 2 servings before realizing what they just ingested. Got picky eaters? They’ll never know with this one!
This recipe also won 1st place in Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Outdoor Cooking Contest!
I make this meal in a dutch oven over coals and I make it in the kitchen using a regular casserole dish. Where do I prefer to make enchiladas? Outside! Everything tastes better outside…and washing dishes is less of a chore, too! Still a chore, but not as dreadful.
This recipe is mild and can be adapted to include any veggies or beans you like. I’ve made a version while camping with North Texas Kids Outside where I used black beans versus spinach. I’ve also made a version where I used kale and chard (from my garden) instead of spinach. Get creative!
You can use my camping version to make this dish at home! For the kitchen version, scroll down, after the camping directions!
Green Chile Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas
16 corn tortillas
3 large chicken breasts, shredded
3-4 cups+ spinach (kale, chard, greens), or 1 can black beans
1 pkg Neufchatel cheese [similar to cream cheese] (softened)
1 can diced green chiles
1 28oz can green chile sauce ( I like the “Las Palmas” brand)
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 large zip-loc bag (for the camping version)
1 12-inch dutch oven (for the camping version)
AT HOME STEPS:
- Cook your chicken in any method you choose so it can be shredded. I usually bake or boil it, but I have tried cooking it in a pan on the stove. Baking it makes it much easier to shred, in my opinion. Shred the chicken and set aside.
- Place a pan over the stove on medium-low heat. Add the shredded chicken, Neufchatel cheese, spinach (drained black beans, chard, kale, or other veggies), and diced green chiles to a pan.
- Cook on medium-low heat until all of the cheese is melted and the spinach is wilted, usually 5-7 minutes. Let the mixture cool. (Tip: add the cheese in small chunks)
- Once mixture is cool, use a spatula to put all of it in a gallon-size zip-loc bag. You can easily put this in your cooler until you’re ready for dinner at the campsite.
- You’ll need to take the other items so you can make the meal at the campsite. Don’t forget: the can of sauce, a can-opener, a dutch-oven (been there, forgot that), shredded cheese, tongs, a spatula, a lighter, charcoal (or wood), and a leather glove for handling hot tools. Take the tools you need to have a comfortable meal!
AT THE CAMPSITE STEPS:
- Light enough coals to heat your dutch oven to approximately 350 degrees. We have a 12-inch dutch oven and usually heat enough to have about 14 coals on top and 8 on bottom, give or take. There’s a handy chart showing the approximate number of coals you may need, from Camping with Gus.
- Heat the dutch oven on the bottom coals for a few seconds and then pour some sauce straight from the can into the bottom of the oven.
- Place a layer of tortillas at the bottom of the pan, overlapping them as needed. Spread a layer of your chicken and spinach mixture (or chicken and black bean/greens mixture) on the first layer of tortillas. Repeat this step twice to have more tortillas in the “casserole” or do this step once to have a more creamy version.
- Cover the enchiladas with a layer of tortillas and pour the remaining sauce into the dutch oven. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top.
- Place the lid on the dutch oven, add the coals on top, and cook for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted. For best results, turn your dutch oven 1/4 turn every 5-7 minutes for more even cooking.
- Use your spatula or spoon to serve the enchiladas, and enjoy!
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook your chicken in any method you choose so it can be shredded. At home, I usually boil or bake it. Baking it makes it much easier to shred, in my opinion. Shred your chicken and set it aside.
- To warm the tortillas, heat each tortilla on a skillet over medium-high heat for about 5-10 seconds on each side. Place them in a tortilla warmer, or wrap in foil to keep them warm. For an even quicker method, take about 5-6 tortillas and completely wrap them in a damp paper towel. Cook in microwave for about 30-40 seconds. Remove and do the same with the rest of the tortillas. Then, wrap them in foil to keep them warm the next steps.
- Add shredded chicken and neufchatel cheese to a pan on the stove and cook over medium-low heat. Drop the cheese in small chunks to help it melt into the chicken more quickly.
- Add spinach (or drained black beans/greens) and diced green chiles to chicken and cheese and stir occasionally. Turn the heat to low when the spinach begins to wilt. Add about 1/4 cup of sauce to the pan and stir.
- Coat a 9×11 inch casserole dish with oil or vegetable oil spray. Pour some sauce into the bottom of the dish to cover the entire bottom.
- Unwrap your warm tortillas to begin filling them with the creamy chicken mixture.
- Spoon some filling, usually a heaping spoonful, into the tortilla.
- Roll and place the rolled part of the enchilada down when you put it in the casserole dish. Repeat this step with all of the tortillas.
10. Pour the remaining sauce over the entire dish of enchiladas and move the dish around to coat everything.
11. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the enchiladas, place them in the oven at 350 degrees, and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
12. Serve warm with beans, rice, and a salad. Provecho!