Now that Labor Day has come and gone, we can officially welcome all the best fall things. This is by and far our favorite season, for so many reasons. Before we jump into all the other fun, today we are focusing on the one right in front of us. Football season!
Now I know not everyone is a football fan, but even if you aren’t, you have to appreciate Sunday Fundays. It’s just an excuse to get everyone together, do some day drinking, eat endless appetizers, and scream at the TV. Sounds glorious right? It sure is.
And there’s something about that first game of the season that really sets the tone for the rest of the year. Yes it means summer has ended, but it also reminds us cooler temps mean cozy sweaters, spending time indoors means curling up the couch, and just the company of our friends and family is enough.
Especially when you have a core group of friends you look forward to seeing every week. And, surely you all experience this too, the one friend who is such a fanatic about his team that he may just burn the house down if they lose, much to the chagrin of everyone else. Dear friend, you know who you are.
But I digress, back to the food. We tend to go overboard and prepare a massive spread, treating the opening game much like a holiday. I’m talking numerous appetizers, ranging from healthy vegetable-based items to cheesy-fat-filled-you-may-wake-up-with-a-clogged-artery concoctions. Something for everyone, of course. But you need a main dish as well, because people can only eat so many chips.
While the weather is still pleasant, the leaves are falling, and nature is practically begging you to be outside, we encourage you to grill a main dish. Everyone can head outside together, and assuming you have a yard or somewhere to run around, some can play football while others relax around the grill.
Not only that, but a warm, comforting one-pan dish is perfect for a football party. It means less mess, everyone can enjoy a sizeable portion, and it’s easy to serve. Which is why we’ve combined the best of both worlds to bring you Grilled Chicken Enchiladas Verdes. Hello match made in heaven.
We are serious fans of Mexican food, especially for parties. It lends so well so the atmosphere, making it feel like a football fiesta. Who doesn’t want to attend a football fiesta? Doesn’t that sound so fun? Speaking of which, you could really set the tone by serving our Ginger Thyme Margaritas alongside the main dish. Winner-winner chicken dinner, with a side of margaritas.
Traditional enchiladas are wonderful as well, but verde is where it’s at for us. The green sauce is creamy from coconut milk, but still maintains heat from the jalapeños. And the smokiness from the grill adds a depth of flavor that pushes it all over the edge. Bonus – if you can find fire roasted salsa, you’ll enjoy even more smoky flavor.
In this recipe we’ve kept things extra easy by using jar salsa, and only a few simple ingredients for the filling. The entire dish can be easily prepped the day before, or, you can whip up everything on game day and take advantage of that weather.
So gather your friends, set your DVR, and get ready for the first of many game days. Let the fall party season begin.
- 2 pounds chicken thighs
- Zest of 1 lime
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems
- 1 small white onion , roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- Grilled chicken, cooled and shredded
- 4 cloves roasted garlic, minced (or 1 tablespoon prepared roasted garlic paste)
- 2 jars all natural medium salsa verde, 16 ounces each (fire roasted preferred)
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk or heavy cream
- 12-15 corn or Paleo tortillas
- 2 cups Mexican blend finely shredded cheese, optional
- ½ cup cilantro leaves
- ½ small white onion, cut in half and sliced very thin
- 1 lime, cut into small wedges
- Sour cream for topping, optional
- Add chicken thighs to a large zip lock bag and set aside.
- Combine all remaining ingredients in a high-powered blender, and blend until smooth. Poor marinade over chicken, zip bag, and massage to combine. Set bag flat on a plate or in a shallow dish, and let marinade in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
- Remove chicken from the refrigerator and heat your grill. Grill thigh pieces over medium-high heat, about 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Set on a platter to cool.
- Once cooled, shred with two forks and set aside with any juice that collected.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and prepare a large baking dish by spreading a thin layer of salsa in the bottom.
- In a separate shallow bowl or dish, whisk together both jars of salsa with coconut milk. Set aside.
- Place cooled shredded chicken and minced roasted garlic or paste in a large bowl. Add ½ cup creamy salsa, and mix everything together thoroughly.
- Wet several paper towels and tear into small pieces, about the size of your tortillas. Layer tortillas and damp paper towel pieces on a small plate, ensuring paper towels are in between each tortilla. Microwave on medium power for 1 minute, or until warm and pliable.
- Dip one tortilla into creamy salsa then fill ⅔ with chicken mixture. Roll up filled enchilada, and place seam side down in large baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas, arranging first in horizontal rows, then in vertical rows, until your dish is filled. Pour remaining creamy salsa on top, then sprinkle shredded cheese to cover entire surface.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes until bubbling, and cheese is browned. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then top with cilantro leaves and onion slices. Serve immediately with lime wedges and sour cream on the side.
**Break up the prep work by marinating your chicken the night before, and grilling it the next morning.
***You can also prepare the dish through rolling and placing the enchiladas in the pan, then chill the dish until ready to bake. Bring the dish to room temperature before baking, or add an extra 5-10 minutes on to the baking time.
Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart’s Chicken Enchiladas with Creamy Green Sauce
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