Make Ahead Meals

We are right in the midst of summer, and boy has it seemed to go by fast! And it’s been busy. Has it been that way for you, too? Lots of things to do, places to go, people to see. Summer camps, sports, day trips, vacations. It’s hard to keep the days straight!

We have several friends and family with cottages and places up north, so we’ve been spending a little time away from home. I love my time on the lake or at the beach, listening to waves on the water or taking a nice quiet walk. Of course there are parts of my day to day routine that never change, like cooking. I mean, we have all to eat right? I’m always on kitchen duty!

There are a few things that I try to do to make cooking simple during the summer. The obvious one is to grill as much as possible. For one, it’s easy. It also keeps your kitchen cool. There are also endless possibilities when using your grill. From burgers to chicken to ribs, to never-ending grilled vegetables, you can grill just about anything.

The other thing I love to do, especially when we are traveling and staying with friends, is to prepare make ahead meals. I love to spend a Sunday afternoon making up a few casseroles and stashing them in my freezer specifically for these situations. And this Chicken Enchilada Casserole happens to be one that my family adores! It’s a cinch to make, especially since it starts out with a store bought rotisserie chicken. Prep time is just 10 minutes or so, then you partially bake the casserole before freezing it. Tote your frozen casserole to your vacation house and when you’re ready to bake it off, dinner will be served in 45 minutes! It’s just that simple. And trust me, it’s delicious too!

Make Ahead Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Serves 6

2 cups shredded chicken, from a rotisserie chicken
½ tsp kosher salt
2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
3 Tbsp chopped chives
¼ cup plain Stonyfield Greek yogurt
2 oz. low fat cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cups prepared salsa verde
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
12 (6-inch) white corn tortillas, halved
Cherry tomatoes, quartered, and additional chopped cilantro for topping, if desired

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Into a large bowl, add the shredded chicken, salt, 1 cup of Colby Jack cheese and the chives. Mix well until combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt and softened cream cheese until smooth. Add in the salsa verde and the two tablespoons of cilantro and stir until combined.

Spread about a cup of the salsa mixture onto the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange 8 tortilla halves over the sauce in the dish, then top with half of the chicken mixture. Add another 8 tortilla halves, the rest of the chicken mixture, the remaining 8 tortilla halves, then top with the rest of the salsa mixture. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining cup of Colby Jack cheese.

Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Cool the partially baked enchiladas to room temperature in the baking dish, then cover tightly with foil, or seal with an airtight lid. The dish can be frozen for up to 2 months.

When you are ready to reheat, there is no need to thaw the dish. Just bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the enchiladas are thoroughly heated and the sauce is bubbling. Top each individual serving with tomatoes and chopped cilantro.


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