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Food for Thought: -ized and Chicken Enchiladas

Food for Thought is a weekly collaboration between Thick Fit Mom and Flexible Fork encouraging thoughtful eating and easy, balanced meals for you and your family.

Taco Bell was recently voted best Mexican food in the USA and I was flabbergasted. I love Taco Bell, but Mexican food it is not. It is a highly Americanized version of Mexican food.

For years I thought I didn't really like Mexican food. When people would suggest it, I'd go along with it and order a couple of ground beef tacos with cheese and rice. It was good, but I could take it or leave it. Then, in my late teens a friend's mom brought Pozole to a potluck and I was hooked. What were these magical flavors? Next my sisterfriend taught me about pillowy soft corn tortillas & salsa verde and her husband grilled carne asada for me that was like nothing I'd ever had before. Turns out I love Mexican food. What I don't really like that much is Tex-Mex. It's an Americanized version of Mexican food (still not Taco Bell level Amercanized though). There are some delicious dishes, but it's just not my favorite. The thing is , I shied away from anything that said Mexican food for a long time simply because I didn't understand that it was different. The same with Chinese food. What we have here in the States is usually not authentic Chinese food. It's been Americanized so that we'll eat it. I do like Chinese food, but sometimes the sticky, sweet sauces are just too much for me. However, now that I have had a bowl of noodle soup in China and I have eaten at a traditional Szechuan restaurant in St. Louis I know that I very much enjoy some authentic Chinese foods. Are we the only culture that does this? Definitely not, lol.

I went to a restaurant in Seoul called 건트리 맨주 (Country Man), it was supposed to be Southern American food. Yeah... no. Most of the things on the menu were definitely not things I had ever eaten down south and the flavors were definitely not familiar. This was the Korean-ized version. I ordered some cheese fries and I did not get what I was expecting:

There's sugar in that Parmesan and what are those sauces?

It makes sense that we are all trying to adapt things to our tastes though. We have the urge to try new things, but we like what we like so of course we want it tweaked for our taste buds. I just have to make sure that I remember to give the real thing a try and not judge it based on my ideas about the Americanized version. The American version is an entirely different cuisine to be judged on it's own merits. I have to work hard to shed those preconceived notions though.

So, when Micca sent me this week's recipe for Chicken Enchiladas, I was concerned. I looked at the recipe and I knew these weren't going to be my beloved Mexican enchiladas with the corn tortillas fried in sauce made from dried chilies and onions and then stuffed with tender chicken. This recipe has cream cheese in it?! Oh no... Turns out I didn't need to worry, Micca did not lead me astray.

Micca's Chicken Enchiladas


2 lbs Cooked & Shredded Chicken*

8 oz Neufchâtel Cheese (AKA light cream cheese)

1 cup Shredded Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese, divided

1 cup Shredded 2% Cheddar Cheese, divided

1½ cup Salsa, divided

10 Whole Wheat Tortillas


1. Cook chicken (see * at the end for suggestions) until cooked fully and shred.

2. Preheat over to 425 degrees.

3. Mix cream cheese, chicken, half of the salsa, half of the cheddar and half of the mozzarella until well combined.

4. Divide mixture evenly in whole wheat tortillas and roll up. Did you know that tortillas have a right side and a wrong side? You want your filling to be on the side that's bubbliest like in the first picture below. Also, these are going to be pretty full, don't be stingy with the filling or you're going to wind up re-stuffing them or with one GIANT enchilada at the end.

5. Place in 13 x 9 baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.

6. Top with remainder of salsa and cheese.

7. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and filling is heated.

*I used my pressure cooker to make the chicken. I put 2 pounds of chicken breast tenderloins in the pressure cooker with the minimum amount of water required to operate it (6-8oz for many models) and a little seasoning. I didn't want to add to the sodium or calories so I used Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy. Then I set it for the chicken setting or 15 minutes. I drained it and shredded it by smashing it with the back of a rice paddle. Quick & easy. Alternatively you could bake the chicken.

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