Healthier Chicken Enchiladas

Healthier Chicken enchiladas

I have come to the conclusion that the reason why my mojo has been slightly wonky over the last week, is because I am now trying to cook healthier. I know, I know…healthy food CAN be delicious. But it’s so much easier to add a pot of cream and a handful of cheese to make something look and taste more appetizing.

And then I started thinking about the masses of you out there who are probably also dieting or trying to lose a couple of kg’s and I thought if I’m struggling to come up with inventive and tasty but yet healthy dishes, surely you must be struggling too? So I’m on a new mission to find healthy alternatives for certain things but without losing flavour and I’m going to try keep it as interesting as I can. I think the problem is that people think of healthy food as piles of grey lentils, beans and leaves. I’m going to try to debunk that myth.

I can’t promise you that the meal will have 3g of fat per 100g or that it will be sugar free, but if you feel like you can swop out one ingredient for a healthier one in one of my recipes, please feel free to do so, and let me know about it! I’m still learning here and although I’ve found a magnitude of AWESOME products over the last couple of weeks, I’d still love to hear your suggestions.

So last night I knew I was making Enchiladas, the only problem with that is that usually my chicken enchiladas are drowning in cream sauce, topped with more cream sauce and kg’s of cheese are piled ontop. Then I serve it with even MORE cream in the shape of sour cream. Yes, it tasted flippin good and that was why I was so determined to have it still taste AS good without all that fat.

I swopped the cream sauce for a bechamel made with half low fat milk and half chicken stock (try to get a low sodium one or make your own) and I used low fat cheddar and about 70g of mozzarella for the top. The chicken mixture I fried in 2tsp of canola oil and added kidney beans for extra fibre. I served the enchiladas with avocado and red onion salsa (so delish!) and instead of sour cream, I made a kind-of tzatziki with fat free plain yoghurt, chopped up cucumber and garlic.

But then came tasting time. My brother, his wife and son came for dinner last night so I knew this would be the chance of testing the waters with the new healthier way of cooking. I think the biggest compliment is that NO ONE noticed ANY difference. Everyone cleaned their plates, said “that was great, thanx!” and carried on with the conversation. Pretty good, no?

And now for the last “Guess The Ingredient”. Remember to send all 3 pictures (the first 2 are in the previous 2 posts) to alida@simply-delicious-food.com as soon as you get them today (Thursday 28 October) to stand a chance of winning a copy of Marcus Wareing’s “How to cook the perfect..”

Guess the ingredient #3

Serves 4

800g chicken fillets (I finely chopped mine but you could also use chicken mince)
1 large white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp each nutmeg and ground cloves
Salt & pepper to taste

8 flour tortillas (you could also use wholegrain)
3 cups bechamel/cheese sauce
70-100g grated mozzarella

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
  • In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic until soft and translucent.
  • Add the chicken and spices and saute until golden and cooked through. Season to taste.  Add 1 cup of the bechamel and set aside.
  • Wrap the tortillas in foil and heat in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
  • Spoon half of the left over bechamel on the base of a oven proof dish.
  • Place 2-3tbsn of the chicken mixture on a warmed tortilla and roll. Don’t use too much of the mixture as you want to be able to roll it quite easily.
  • Place seam side down into the oven proof dish and cover with the rest of the bechamel. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and golden.
  • Remove and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Avocado & red onion salsa

Avocado Salsa:

2 large avocados, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste

  • Combine all the ingredients and mix well.

Chunky Tzatziki

Chunky Tzatziki:

1 cup fat free, plain yoghurt
1 medium cucumber, halved and seeds removed then finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste

  • Combine all the ingredients and mix well.


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Alida Ryder
Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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  • simone

    Looks nice Ally.A suggestion for a low fat chicken enchilada is to rather do a chilli and tomato base for the chicken. That would cut calories alot as the tomatoes are ‘free veg’. I like the use of the beans;-)

    • http://www.simply-delicious-food.com Ally_R

      Simone : I have made it with tomato before but I don’t like it as I feel it makes the tortilla too soggy. But that’s a good suggestion for other people.

  • simone

    Really? I make mine tomato based all the time. What I do is just spoon the chicken (thats been cooked in the sauce) and about 3tbsp of the sauce into the enchilada. Then I top the enchilada with the leftover sauce…another 3tbsp worth of sauce on each one, add some cheese and you know the rest. I’ve never found them to be soggy. Have never had ‘creamy’ enchiladas though…will try it some time.

    Great that you’re trying to do lower fat meals and the family is enjoying it as well, so thats a bonus.

  • simone

    Oh just a time saver…I heat my tortillas in the microwave for about 20 seconds to get the ‘roll-able’.

  • Jen

    Fat free smooth cottage cheese is a fantastic substitute for cream, cheese, sour cream, salad dressing, mayonnaise – you will be surprised at how versatile it is. I use it with so much these days – tuna and cottage cheese salad, burrito’s baked with cottage cheese, guacamole made with cottage cheese – the possibilities are endless.

    • http://www.simply-delicious-food.com Ally_R

      I love fat free smooth cottage cheese but I don’t like it that much for cooking. It goes slightly grainy, but it’s a great substitute for mayo and margarine for bread.

  • gloeiwurmpie

    I love all your recipes. I am so excited about your “healthier” cooking, since I have been trying to loose a few kilo’s lately. PLEASE post more!!!! Thanks for a brilliant blog!

  • Tess

    So sad, no tortillas in the house! Looks delish though, will try it soon….

  • J.T

    Hi Ally
    I love your website and this post about eating healthier really hit home for me. My husband (bless) had a mild heart attack at 27 (he’s now 30) and struggles with high cholesterol which he’s on meds for. I also love to cook, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but I had to seriously review the fat and salt content of what I was putting on the plate. It was frustrating at first (simply because EVERYTHING tastes better with cheese), but I’ve made real changes and it was just a matter of thinking ‘out of the box’. One of the best tools that I’ve found is low fat or fat free Greek yoghurt. You get the creaminess but little or no fat. It’s a great base for just about any kind of sauce. Also, I’ve started to rely a LOT on the Asian trinity of Chilli, Garlic, and Ginger. These add loads of flavour (I tend to use insane amounts) and are obscenely good for you. Also, pulses (particularly dried beans) are both cheap and very high in fibre, so I’ve started relying on them too. I’ve found that my husband (steak, egg and chips lover) can be happy with toasted pita wedges (rubbed with a garlic clove before going into the oven), low fat hummus, pesto, and a roasted butternut and feta brown pasta salad! Also, I’ve started using only ‘Heart Mark approved’ oil and invested in non stick pans which need little oil. Simple change, but it all adds up and I don’t feel that I’m compromising on the taste. Next step – get the man to relish raw mushrooms!!! LOL.

  • Kiki

    ooooh this looks soooooo delicious :) thank you for the great healthier recipes!!!

  • http://www.acquired.blogspot.com/ Acquired

    Well done on the healthier version. I read it with doubt until you mentioned how nobody noticed the difference LOL.

    Perhaps I need to learn something from this!

    • http://www.simply-delicious-food.com Ally_R

      Gloeiwurmpie : I am going to try to post ONLY healthy recipes from now on but I might slip here and there. :)

      Tess: Let me know how it came out when you do try it.

      JT : My heart just sank when you said your husband had a heart attack at such a young age. I am currently living in fear of developing diabetes so I know where you’re coming from. I also LOVE garlic, ginger and chilli. I also love using fresh herbs, spices and lemon juice. I love roasting and grinding my own spices…the flavour is so intense and you need less salt, same with lemon. Thanx for all your fantastic ideas. (Oh and I LOVE greek yoghurt!!)

      Kiki: My pleasure doll! :)

  • http://www.treasuredays.com Lulu

    Now THIS is going to be a lifesaver for the left-over turkey next week!
    For flavour I might switch in a small amount of very finely grated parmagiano and dijon mustard.
    Although parmesan is not tagged as low fat, you don’t need very much if it’s microplaned finely, and it’s got the umami feelgood factor :-)

    • http://www.simply-delicious-food.com Ally_R

      I use most of my chicken recipes after Christmas to get rid of Turkey leftovers. :) Good idea with the parmesan, but I have to be honest, there’s no need for extra flavour. :)

  • http://winedinedaily.com Judit – Corina @WineDineDaily

    Your healty chicken enchiladas loock delicious!
    Cheers:)

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