Friday, July 29, 2011

Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

Ah, here we are again, two months passed and not a single post to show for it. Yes, I am a slacker. But it's summer, so I prefer to think of it as a vacation. The husband is off for the summer, so I am too....

Oh wait. I forgot. I still have to go to work everyday. I'm reminded of that every morning as I'm showering, frantically searching my closet for something to wear (an act that 13 years of Catholic school has made extremely difficult for me on a daily basis as an adult--seriously, sometimes I wish we all could just wear uniforms in life!), and still finding time to consume a healthy breakfast and spend a few minutes rubbing my dog's belly, all while telling her, "You're the most beautiful girl in the whoooooole world!" because, well, she is. This is my summertime routine. I run around like a maniac every morning doing all of these things in the span of about forty minutes because no matter how hard I try, I cannot wake up any earlier. I've tried. I've tried. My body will not allow it. So this results in my giving dirty looks and sticking my tongue out at my husband as he sleeps peacefully. I know, I'm like, so mature. During the regular school year, he's up early and his clanking around in the bathroom is usually what wakes me. He's my human alarm clock that I have come to rely on. Which means when summer rolls around my alarm clock stops working and I actually have to get up all by myself. Insert scream here. The horror! It wouldn't be so infuriating, though, if he didn't actually revel in the joy of reminding me about it. On Sunday nights, as I'm hanging onto every last trashy second of 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' (God, I so miss Dina and wish she would come back to the show), he actually laughs at me and taunts, "Ha ha! You have to go to work tomorrow!" He thinks he's so hilarious. But just wait. The end of summer is making haste. It will be here before I can sing neener-neener-neener right back at him. Ahh...sometimes it feels so good to NOT be the bigger person.

Anyhoo, I've been meaning to share my very simple recipe for Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas. Black beans have become a true staple in my diet and I try to incorporate them into meals whenever I can. This recipe involves all ordinary ingredients that you most likely have on hand. The key to these is the cayenne pepper. It's what gives the enchiladas their true kick. I consider cayenne, paprika, cumin, and chili powder to be my Four Horsemen--without one man, they lose their power. I recently made these not realizing I had run out of cayenne, and I had no choice but to skip the ingredient. Sadly, it resulted in pretty boring enchiladas. They were still tasty, but they lost their pizazz. So make sure you have plenty to keep the other Horsemen alive!

Enjoy my friends...

(WW points plus: 7 points* per enchilada)

-2 large chicken breasts (equalling 9oz), trimmed of fat, diced
-1 medium onion, chopped
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
-10 Mission or Chi-Chi's brand multi-grain wraps
-1 15oz can enchilada sauce (I use mild or medium)
-2 oz shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
-1/2 cup water
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 tbsp cumin
-1 tbsp chili powder
-1 tsp paprika
-1 tsp cayenne pepper (if you're afraid of too spicy, use 1/2 tsp)
-salt and pepper to taste
-sour cream (optional, with extra points)
-cilantro, scallions, or parsley to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat bottom of a 9 x 13 in baking pan with 1/3 of the enchilada sauce.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and let heat till it gets the shimmer effect. Add onions and saute till softened, about 5 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds till fragrant. Add diced chicken to pan.

Stir chicken till no longer pink and cooked through. Add extra oil if needed, but sparingly. When chicken is cooked through, add all seasonings to pan and stir to coat the chicken mixture. The pan will be a little dry, so add the 1/2 cup of water. Scrape the bottom of the pan to release the fond. This will form a flavorful little sauce. Add the drained black beans to the pan and stir to combine. Cook just till heated through. Remove from heat.

Using the edge of your cooking spoon, divide the chicken and bean mixture into ten even sections in the pan, thus assuring each enchilada receives the same amount. One by one, spoon a section out onto one of the wraps. Wrap tightly, but gently, and place seam side down into the coated baking dish. You may have to push them tightly together to fit into the pan.

Pour remaining enchilada sauce across the wraps. Top with shredded cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes till cheese and sauce is bubbling. Let cool 5 minutes.

*For a slightly fatter enchilada, you can decrease the amount of wraps to eight. Just add one extra point to each for an 8 point enchilada.