Chicken Enchiladas Bake

I am calling this a Chicken Enchiladas Bake, as I have taken 3 recipes and created one glorious monster. I revised the dishes, but you can find the original recipes below. But trust, you’ll never look back.

Chicken Enchiladas Bake

Original recipes:
Crockpot chicken
Cheese Enchiladas
Mexican Taco Seasoning

Mexican Taco Seasoning

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
*I also throw in parsley for fun

Crockpot Chicken

  • In 4- to 5-quart slow cooker, toss chicken with half of the taco seasoning mix mentioned above (or you can use a pre-mixed taco seasoning packet) to coat evenly, and 2 cloves of garlic.
  • Top chicken with 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce, 1 8 oz can of petite diced tomatoes, 1/2 of an onion, diced (You can also use salsa as the the original recipe calls for). Stir until well combined. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 to 4 1/2 hours or until chicken is tender.
  • Remove chicken from slow cooker to bowl. Shred chicken with 2 forks. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker along with remaining taco seasoning mix. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 30 minutes longer. Will use for enchiladas momentarily.

Cheese Enchiladas

Enchilada Cauliflower & Cheese Tortilla shells

*Shells can be made ahead.

1 16 ounce bag frozen cauliflower, thawed, drained and diced/processed (about 3 cups)
3 eggs
3 cups mozzarella or Monterey jack cheese
Optional 1 tsp each of garlic, onion powder and parsley

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

  • Mix cauliflower, eggs and cheese.
  • On two greased cookie sheets, drop dough by scant 1/3 cup, to form 12- 6” rounds.
  • Bake one pan at a time for 12-14 minutes or until edges have browned slightly and crust has slightly golden hue. Let cool on pan. Once shells have cooled, carefully loosen them from the pan and let set.

Makes 12 shells.

Enchilada Sauce

Can be made ahead and stored

1/2 cup onion, chopped (I omitted this because I put onion in my shredded chicken)
2 large cloves garlic, chopped and crushed
1Tbsp chili powder
4 Tbsp oil of your choice (I only used 3 Tbsp since I omitted the onions)
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup pizza sauce (I used tomato sauce to cut on sugar and carbs and because it already has so much seasoning in it!)
2 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded
2 cups Pepper or Monterey Jack, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Cook and stir onion, garlic and chili powder in 4 Tbsp oil in a pan on the stove over medium heat, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add oregano, cumin, salt, pepper and tomato sauce. Stir until sauce is heated. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • Mix cheeses.
  • Take each shell and dip into heated enchilada sauce and then place golden-side up into an ungreased 9X13” casserole pan. Add ¼ C Monterey jack or a mix of cheddar jack cheese in each shell. Add 1/3 cup of the shredded chicken in each shell on top of the cheese. Roll and place seam-side down in pan until all shells have been used. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese. (Because I had extra shredded chicken, I added it on top of the sauce, and added the cheese on top of the chicken, hence the “bake”) Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden.

Optional: Top with shredded lettuce, olives and chopped, fresh tomato.

Makes 12 servings of 2 enchiladas each.

Nutritional Information (2 enchiladas)

Calories: 376
Total Carbohydrate: 8 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Net Carbohydrate: 6 grams
Protein: 25 grams
Fat: 32 grams

Note: The original cheese enchiladas made a servings of 6, but since I added in the chicken, mine made 12. However, I would double the amount of sauce. I had used my extra can of sauce in the chicken, and it was more of a tomato juice. This will definitely depend on how saucy you like your enchilada’s. I didn’t think mine were dry with only the 8 oz can of tomato sauce.

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Oh, Crockpot

Dear Crockpot,

I always had a good feeling about you, but had not yet had the pleasure of meeting your acquaintance until recently. You see, I had tasted of your delicious meals through other people’s dishes, but never my own. The first time I used you was for turkey meatballs. It was the first thing I ever cooked in you, our love child. They were delicious. But I had not yet seen your full potential.

As you know, Crockpot, I have embarked on a journey that requires cooking significantly more than I used to. So, I am trying new ways to cook, and new dishes more then I ever have before. This also means, because I’m worn out from all the cooking, I am looking for easier ways to cook. That is where you come in, you fine appliance, you!

You may recall, it was a Sunday afternoon. I had already been cooking for 2 hours, and had plenty more ahead of me for our weekly bulk of meals. As I was contemplating on how I wanted to cook the chicken for our chicken enchiladas dinner, I remembered you were relaxing in the cabinet, waiting patiently to be used again. Immediately, I brought you out and looked up a Chicken crockpot recipe for reference so I didn’t burn it. I busily got to work, setting you up and getting the chicken dish together and embracing you as my sidekick for the afternoon.

Hours later, a delicious aroma rising from you, I opened your top, and tried the most delicious chicken I have ever tasted. It was so flavorful and moist, with the chicken practically falling apart. You, my perfect companion, had created something so wonderful, I may never go back to oven baked chicken, or regular enchiladas from an “authentic” Mexican restaurant. No, I had found it. The perfect chicken to mix into anything. Tacos, enchiladas, casseroles, an afternoon snack. My eyes have been opened to a new beginning in our lives. I foresee many more lovely and enriching afternoons, and perhaps evenings, where you sweep me off my feet and take me on a journey I have never experienced before now. My world is forever changed because of you, Crockpot, and I never want to look back.

Love,

Your Faithful Companion

Cheese Chive Waffles

(Cauliflower) Cheese Chive Waffles

*Original receipe found here!

Ingredients

1 cup processed, raw cauliflower (should resemble coarse crumbs)
1 cup processed mozzarella shredded cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese/shredded
2 eggs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp chives
fresh parsley, optional (Not optional in my opinion, I add parsley to everything!)
sun-dried tomatoes, optional

Instructions

  • Heat waffle maker until ready.
  • Add scant 1/4 cups filled with batter on the griddle.
  • Set the timer for 4-6 minutes, peeking after minute four. If the waffle maker sticks, let cook slightly longer. Remove once cooked. allow to cool on a plate. Refrigerate remaining.

Makes 6 waffles.

Nutritional Information per waffle: Calories: 135, Carbohydrates: 3g, Fiber: .8g, Net Carbohydrates: 2.2g, Protein: 11.7g, Fat: 8.5g

Note: These turned out so good!! And it’s made from Cauliflower!! (I told you it’s magical.) I used the Jolly Green Giant Cauliflower crumbles pack and steamed them. Super easy. I also did not have a waffle maker, so I used the measuring cup and poured them on parchment paper, on a cookie sheet. Make sure you flatten them out pretty thin, they’ll puff up a little. I cooked it on 400 for 20 minutes. These would be a good substitute for bread on different sandwiches. I used them with my low carb sloppy joe mix, recipe link coming soon! Don’t forget to check out how they turned out on my Instagram! @idreamaboutcarbs

Low Carb Pepperoni Pizza Chicken Bake

Low Carb Pepperoni Pizza Chicken Bake with Alfredo Sauce

*Original Recipe found here!

Ingredients

1 jar (14 oz) pizza sauce (lowest carb), reduced to 1 cup (I used the Creamy Garlic sauce found from my previous post here!)
4 large boneless-skinless chicken breasts (6-8 oz. each)
1 T olive oil
1 tsp. Greek oregano (sometimes just called oregano)
1 tsp. garlic powder
6 oz. piece of part-skim Mozzarella, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
2 oz. sliced pepperoni (regular or turkey pepperoni)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F/200C.  Put the pizza sauce in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat until it’s reduced to one cup, about 20 minutes.  Don’t skip this step or the dish will be watery.
  • While the sauce reduces, trim the chicken breasts and cut each one crosswise to make two same-size pieces.  Put chicken pieces one at a time inside a heavy plastic bag and use a meat mallet (or something heavy) to pound the chicken until it’s as thin as you can get it without it shredding apart.  (Don’t worry if some pieces break apart a little.)  Mix the Greek oregano and garlic powder in a little bowl and then sprinkle both sides of each piece of chicken with the mixture.
  • Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in the largest non-stick frying pan you have (you may have to do this in 2 batches if your pan isn’t big enough.) Add the chicken pieces and cook 1-2 minutes on each side, just long enough to brown the chicken but not long enough to cook it through.
  • Choose the smallest glass casserole dish you have that will fit all the browned chicken pieces, and lay the chicken in the dish in a single layer.  Cut the Mozzarella into slices and cut the slices as needed to make enough pieces to mostly cover the top of each piece of chicken.
  • By now the sauce should be nicely reduced, so spread sauce over the top of each chicken breast.  (Use it all.)  Top each piece with sliced Mozzarella and pepperoni slices, covering the top of each piece of chicken as much as you can.
  • Bake uncovered about 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown and the pepperoni is slightly crisped.  (Some pieces of pepperoni will slice off the chicken, try not to obsess about that like I did.)  Serve hot.

*Note: I pretty much followed the recipe except for substituting the red pizza sauce for the creamy garlic alfredo sauce (Posted here!). I highly recommend it this way, it is so good!!! It is a little heavy, but would also be good served on a bed of noodles if not on a low carb plan!

Yay, carbs!

Let’s get one thing straight… I love carbs. I crave them. I even dream about them. I mean, literally dream about eating them. Three nights ago, I had the most glorious chocolate covered doughnut with sprinkles. In my dream. It was amazing. A couple nights before that, I dreamt I took my mom to Krispy Kreme and I ordered a half dozen doughnuts. For myself. This is the sad, sad life I live now with only 24 carbs at my disposal.

A month in, and the cravings haven’t been too bad. Actually, they’ve been the worst this past week. I think maybe it’s because I’m getting close to that 30 day mark where supposedly habits start forming/breaking so I think my body is finally freaking out. “What, wait, we’re really do this?! No, no no. I won’t stand for it! I want sugar and carbs and all the delicious food we used to eat!” Strike banners go up, momma’s hungry. But I have fought through it so far. And in the process, I have become addicted to honey roasted peanuts. I kid you not, they are delicious. Granted, I’m only allotted 1/4 cup per day, but for those 2 glorious minutes I am scarfing them down, it is pure bliss.

So, suffice it to say, I love food. I love all the delicious baked goods, with their creamy frostings and melting morsels, those beautiful bastards. But I am in this for the long haul. While I miss my old friend snicker doodle cookie and almost done brownie, and let’s not forget Mr. Chocolate Chip Cookie dough ice cream, I feel amazing. I mean, for one, I don’t have that guilt of a gluttonous day hanging over my head when I go to sleep. Second, I have tried some amazing recipes so far! It truly is amazing what you can do with cauliflower. (Yes you will “hear” me talk about cauliflower quite often. It’s magical.) But seriously, it’s amazing what kind of recipes can be concocted out of what? What was that? Veggies?! Yes, veggies and meats and cheeses and spices and more veggies. The healthy carbs, ooooh, aaaaah. Gasp over the amazement my friends because I’m here to tell you, there are wonderful recipes out there that don’t leave you feeling alone and confused over your food baby. In fact, you feel full and ready to take on the world! And you don’t even crash later. While I still drink my fair share of caffeine (hello, coffee!), I don’t feel as though I have less energy. For me it actually feels better. I used to crash pretty hard about an hour or 2 after my lunches, and even with my afternoon coffee, it was still hard to save me. This, I believe, was happening because I was engulfing roughly 50+ carbs during my lunch alone! (Pb & J sandwiches and chips, I never even thought how bad it was.) Not to mention all the sugar. No wonder I was crashing hardcore. So, my friends, here I am, about to go to bed at 10pm, feeling full from my Pizza Toppings Casserole dinner (under recipes here!) and I am feeling pretty good about my life choices.

Now this is in no way to gloat or feel superior to anyone else or to tell anyone else how to live their life. This decision to do a low carb meal plan is definitely not for everyone. And hell, it may not last long for me, but I have had a taste. I’ve had a taste of eating good and feeling good about myself, and from this point forward, I never want to go back. So, join me on this wonderful roller coaster of life and eating low carb meals. I’m sure all my posts won’t be this cheery because there are some days I would most certainly do many various things to get a taste of all my old friends. But I will share all the good, the bad and the delicious!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust and Creamy Garlic Pizza Sauce

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

*I got this recipe off of the back of the Green Giant cauliflower crumbles bag and tweaked it a little

Ingredients

1 bag (16 oz) Green Giant Fresh Cauliflower Crumbles
1 egg white
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (I only used 1/4 cup)
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of pepper
1/4 cup cornmeal or flour (I used cornmeal)

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 425° F.
  • Steam the cauliflower. (If you get the crumbles, follow the directions on the bag to steam.)
  • Line large baking sheet with paper towels. Place cooked cauliflower on baking sheet and let cool for 10 minutes. (I used paper towels to get as much moisture out of the cauliflower as I could, but using cheesecloth would probably be best to wring out the moisture.)
  • Return cauliflower to a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the cooled cauliflower. Stir well to combine. The mixture should come together to form a loose dough ball. (Since I used cornmeal, it didn’t really make a ‘dough ball’, but it was manageable to spread out onto a pizza pan.)
  • Place mixture on parchment paper; pat into a 10″ circle. Place parchment paper with cauliflower crust onto wire cooling rack. Place rack in oven. Bake 15-17 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes before topping.
  • Carefully flip cooled pizza crust over onto cookie sheet or pizza pan. Remove parchment paper. (I cooked my crust in the pizza pan to begin with, so I skipped this step.)
  • Add your favorite pizza toppings; bake 6-10 minutes at 425° F or until toppings are hot and cheese is melted.

Enjoy!

*Note: I made a low carb cream cheese sauce, recipe below, and put grilled chicken, spinach and mozzarella cheese for the toppings. Seriously, one of the best pizza’s I’ve ever had!

Low Carb Creamy Garlic Pizza Sauce recipe:

*Original recipe found here!

Ingredients

1 cup of cream
1/2 cup of butter
4 oz low fat cream cheese
3 cloves of garlic

Instructions

  • Saute garlic in butter until fragrant and starting to turn translucent.
  • Add cream cheese and let get creamy.
  • Add one cup of cream and simmer, stirring every few min for about 25 min until thickness desired. Let cool a touch and put on your choice of pizza crust.

Serving Size: Makes enough sauce to put on two large rectangle pizzas **Either I like my pizza extra saucy or this is a bit of an exaggeration so be aware that mine only made enough for 1 full pizza, size of a round pizza pan. I did have some leftover, but not enough for another pizza.

My Initial Goals

One of the “cherry to the toppers” that pushed me to eating healthy is a couple friends of mine who recently got engaged. They called and said they wanted to have a wedding in Mexico in the spring of 2017. My first thought was Yay! I’ve never been to Mexico! My next thought was oh god, I’ll have to be on a beach at a resort in Mexico where everyone is wearing a bikini and have beautiful cocoa bodies, I don’t want to look like this. And my goal was born.

Current weight as of July 12th 2015: 218

Goal weight: 160

Goal date: Spring 2017

Mental goal: Being healthy and more food knowledgeable

One of the other things I wanted to accomplish aside from the obvious weight loss is to be more aware of what I put in my body. I will eventually have cheat days/meals and will get down to my ideal weight and be able to maintain it more, therefore, be less strict about my calorie and carb count. But I want to make myself aware and to really think about what I put in my body. I want to look at food as a nourishment, and an occasional treat, but not as a treatment for emotional distress or boredom, or even an addiction. I want to change my mindset, and that will be the hardest part of it.

I started this mid-June, and weighed approximately 224. I have lost 6 lbs and 3 inches in most places. I will post my monthly measurements as progress as well and will be updating with a graph of weightloss as time progresses!