Author

Kim Hudson

Kim Hudson has 87 articles published.

Best Chicken Enchiladas

Food from our childhood evokes such strong emotion, doesn’t it? My mother’s Chicken Enchiladas were one of the staples of my youth — but honestly, they weren’t my favorite. Fast forward twenty years to the point where I started cooking for myself. This was one of the first recipes I tried making on my own. I considered what I didn’t like about them and knew with a little tweaking they could be so much better! Over time, I worked out what I think make these pretty much perfect. Unfortunately, at the time, I eyeballed everything and had to share the recipe verbally with a lot of suggestions. I’ve finally taken the time to figure out the basic measurements. However, I do have a few tips and suggestions to follow.

First, there are some recipes that are worth making in large quantity and this is one of them. I always make at least 2 meals worth (sometimes it turns out to be 3) and I freeze what we won’t be eating right away. There is nothing better than having some fool-proof meals ready to pop in the oven at a moments notice. The amount this recipe makes varies on a few things — size of tortillas, how many pans are used and how full the enchiladas are filled. The good news is, the recipe is quite forgiving and flexible. Second, I’ve tried many different varieties of chicken, but this is the one I keep coming back to. Yes, you could use a rotisserie chicken, but I found the meat to be drier and stringier than the large diced breast meat. You could also swap the breasts for thighs, but they weren’t quite meaty enough for me. I’ve seen my mom use canned and pre-cooked, packaged chicken (ACK!) but that completely makes my head spin. Whatever you do, don’t do that! Poaching the chicken in salsa is simple and gives a nice, subtle flavor.

Lastly, I realize these are not exactly traditional. Enchiladas are supposed to be made with corn tortillas but I prefer to use flour for these. I’d call this “American-Mexican” comfort food at it’s finest. All I know is, they are the number one thing my children and husband request I make.

Best Chicken Enchiladas
Print
Ingredients
  1. 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  2. 1 jar of salsa (I always use Frontera Foods)
  3. 5 cups of grated cheddar cheese
  4. 3 containers of whole milk sour cream (16 oz/ea)
  5. 2 cans diced green chiles, drained (4 oz/ea)
  6. 1/2 can of cream of mushroom soup (optional)
  7. 1 TBL milk
  8. Freshly ground pepper
  9. Olive (or other vegetable) oil
  10. Flour Tortillas (approx 12-15 medium sized ones)
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken breasts in a large sauté pan. Pour the salsa over the chicken and make sure to coat all of the pieces evenly. Cover with a lid and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes (flipping them over halfway through.) Don't worry if the chicken isn't fully cooked through. It should be close, but definitely don't overcook it. Remove the chicken from the pan and set on a cutting board. Heat the remaining salsa in pan on high until substantially thickened and reduced. Once chicken has cooled enough to touch, slice it into bite-sized cubes and place in a large bowl. Pour the reduced salsa over the top.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine 2.5 containers of sour cream, the canned chiles (drain first), the mushroom soup mix (if using) and 3.5 cups of grated cheddar cheese. (These amounts are quite flexible. I usually just wing the ingredients in and stir until it feels right. It should be quite thick.) Mix well and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 375º F, if cooking right away.
  4. Now here's where it gets a little tricky; figure out which pans you want to use and what size your tortillas are. *See note below.
  5. Line up your baking dishes, place a little bit of oil in the bottom of the first one. Rub it around to coat the bottom and sides of the dish, so the enchiladas do not stick. Grab a tortilla, fill it with a 2" wide line of chicken all the way down the center of the tortilla, then spread the cream mixture over the top, following the line. They will look nearly equal in size, with perhaps a tiny bit more chicken than cream. Set the tortilla down in the pan and roll it up tightly, flipping to place the seam side down in the dish. I leave the ends of mine open. Repeat until the baking dish is full. Keep making more enchiladas and filling up other pans until you run out of chicken. Now, there should be extra cream mixture left over. If not, throw a little sour cream and cheese into the bowl. Add a splash of milk to the mixture to thin it out. It should be fairly runny. Pour this over the top of all of the enchiladas, then using a spatula spread it around. It shouldn't be a huge amount, just enough to lightly cover a little bit of every enchilada. Then sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over the top. Finally, I like to add some freshly ground black pepper for a little extra seasoning and color.
  6. If eating right away, bake in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on top. These can also be made in advance and left in the fridge for a few hours. I personally like to freeze anything that won't be eaten that day. I cover the extra pans with plastic wrap, then a layer of foil. They can be cooked straight from frozen. It will likely take a few extra minutes, or if you can remember, take them out a little earlier to defrost prior to cooking.
  7. I like to serve mine with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, Cholula, salsa, and a side of refried beans. But they are just fine on their own, too!
Notes
  1. TORTILLAS: I've tried all different kinds of tortillas, from the "Traditional" Whole Foods brand, to the Flame Cooked ones at Trader Joes, to the "Traditional" Trader Joe's variety, to the Indian Life from WF, to most recently, the Siete Grain-free Brand Almond and Cassava flour variety. They are all different sizes and thickness, so it will change the amount of enchiladas you get in the end. The key is to pick whatever tortilla you like the taste of most.
  2. BAKING DISHES: I generally start with one 13x9x2 Pyrex, then fill a couple of smaller pans that I will freeze. Sometimes I do two 13x9x2 (and freeze one of them). Other times, I'll do a mix of 3 different baking dishes of varying size. It can be nice to occasionally make smaller portions for when I only need a couple of enchiladas. You want the enchiladas to fit snugly together, so it may take a few tries to get it right for your pan and how many are needed at one time.
180360 http://www.180360.com/
Poaching + Assembled

 

North to Alaska Roadtrip: One Day in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is one of those places I’d heard about my entire life but really had no idea what to expect. I did know that it is most certainly not a park to visit in one day! It truly deserves days and probably multiple visits to really experience it correctly. However, we knew going into this trip we’d have to make do with our brief stay and luckily, picking the top places we’d see was fairly easy. First, we had to stop at the most famous geyser in the world, Old Faithful, and then, we’d swing by the other-worldly and technicolor Grand Prismatic Spring. 

We drove up from Jackson Hole via the scenic route on US-191, giving us more of the park to see. As we were there in July, the traffic definitely wasn’t ideal. However, the slowness allowed us more time to look out the window. After a quick picnic lunch, we went to the geyser area. 

Highway to Yellowstone

I have to admit that I had no idea that Yellowstone contains the majority of the world’s geysers and the largest concentration in one area! In the Old Faithful area alone, there are multiple geysers to view. Prior to the eruption, we checked out the Old Faithful Inn, the Visitor Center, some of the other geysers and grabbed some ice cream to eat on the boardwalk. Sure, it was all a bit touristy, but also one of those things everyone should probably experience once!


Geothermal pools and springs along the boardwalk

Good Old Faithful


Old Faithful Erupting

After visiting the Upper Geyser Basin, we continued along the road to our next stop, the Grand Prismatic Spring. I had seen photos of this on Instagram and it looked incredible. The parking area but was full, so we parked along the road. Although I would’ve preferred to do the Fairy Falls Trail hike that overlooks this area, my children weren’t feeling up for it. Instead, we simply hiked straight to it from the road, which is a dead easy walk over a bridge and to a boardwalk. I carried our littlest one in the Ergo because I was worried he might be tempted to dive into the steamy, colorful pools. Despite not getting the best photo op from above, I’m so glad we saw it. It’s such an incredible wonder of the world!

180360_Yellowstone_FireholeRiver

180360_Yellowstone_River

180360_Yellowstone_GP

180360_Yellowstone_ExcelsiorGeyser2

180360_Yellowstone_ExcelsiorGeyser3

180360_Yellowstone_GPLines

180360_Yellowstone_GrandPrismatic_2

180360_Yellowstone_GrandPrismatic1

180360_Yellowstone_GrandPrismatic_6

180360_Yellowstone_GrandPrismaticKids

180360_Yellowstone_GrandPrismatic_Tourist

Finally, we got back in the car and headed to our hotel in West Yellowstone. This was one of the places that was well-booked in advance, so we didn’t have many options. The Days Inn hotel was our least favorite on the trip, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. Honestly, nothing looked too spectacular in this small town. We walked down for a casual pizza dinner at the Wild West Pizzeria, came outside to a beautiful double rainbow and then called it a night.


Definitely not taking anything from this hotel. HA!
 

Up next– Day 4: Yellowstone to Glacier National Park

North to Alaska: Salt Lake City to the Grand Tetons

On our way out of Salt Lake City, we figured we should visit at least one site in Utah. Even though we’ve been to the Great Salk Lake before, I’m kind of fascinated by endorheic basins, so we quickly stopped at the Saltair to see if anything had changed since we were last there. It is so perfectly creepy! (I wish I could go back in time and see it when it was a full-fledged resort.) From there, we drove towards Logan, so we could take Highway 89 through Idaho and into Wyoming. I must admit, it’s pretty cool to drive through 3 states in a matter of a couple of hours!

Honestly, I wasn’t originally planning to stop in the Grand Tetons, but my friend Desi told me that it would be a mistake to miss it. As it wasn’t out of the way, I decided to add it to the itinerary and I was so glad that I did! It turned out to be absolutely beautiful and a place I’d really love to return to. We stayed the night in a cabin at the Cowboy Village Resort  and for dinner, we walked down to Wyoming’s oldest brewery, Snake River Brewing Company. It was the perfect place to take children that had been cooped up in a car for hours.

The following morning, we visited Jenny Lake, the Mormon Row Historic District and a few different overlooks on the way to Yellowstone. 

180360_GrandTeton_Road

Scenic Drive

The Teton Range

180360_GrandTeton_MormonRow

Mormon Row Historic District

180360_GrandTeton_JennyLake

Jenny Lake

Snake River Overlook

Oxbow Bend Overlook

Reflections

Up next — Day 3: Grand Teton to Yellowstone National Park

North to Alaska: Las Vegas to Salt Lake City

The first day of our road trip to Alaska was not exactly the most exciting. However, it would’ve been far too long of a day had we tried to drive from Las Vegas to Jackson Hole. In fact, starting off slowly and with no real rush meant that we were able to begin on a very relaxed note, which was nice given that it would soon be a lot more intense.

The drive to Salt Lake is dead simple, albeit rather boring and long. It was 430 miles from our house to the hotel which took about 6 hours. Since we’ve done this drive a few times, there was no need to stop and sightsee along the way. One of my favorite parts of driving in Utah is the 80 mile/hr speed limit on the I-15. Pedal to the metal, Mama!

We stayed at Hotel Monaco, which was probably one of the nicest and most expensive hotels on our entire journey. Our room had great views of the city and the children loved that they offer “goldfish companions”. For dinner, we walked to our favorite pizza restaurant, Settebello. Then, we tucked in early so we could get on the road first thing the next day. 

Up next — Day 2: Salt Lake to The Grand Tetons 

 

The Car Cruise: North to Alaska

Recently, I wrote about an idea called “The Car Cruise” — a road trip that covers a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Since spring and summer holidays are rapidly approaching, I wanted to finally share some of these trips we’ve taken. Although it might seem daunting to travel long distances with children in a car, I promise it’s not that bad! All it takes is some proper planning, making sure to not overdo it and factoring in some fun activities like visiting local parks, museums, playgrounds or simply getting a special treat after a long journey. And truly, the same principles apply for those traveling solo or as a couple.

Perhaps one of our most grand drives to date came to be around two summers ago when my husband had a work trip in Calgary. I had been waiting for a reason to drive to Alaska for my annual visit home and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Driving the infamous Alcan highway is definitely a rite of passage for all Alaskans and I was the only one in my family that hadn’t done it. Here was my chance, even if I’d have to do over half of the trip on my own with 3 kids!

As I looked at the map, I realized we’d be passing a bunch of national parks between Las Vegas and Calgary and it seemed silly to not see them. So, I decided that our stopping points would be Salt Lake City, the Grand Tetons/Jackson Hole, Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. Then we’d spend a few days touring around Calgary and Banff (while my husband worked) before heading up to Fairbanks, Alaska with him via Grand Prairie, Muncho Lake and Haines Junction. All in all, we would be driving a little over 3500 miles.

I imagine most people would plan a trip like this many months if not a year away, but that wasn’t an option for us. First things first, I ordered The Milepost, the most famous Alcan guide book that graces many a coffee table in Alaskan households. Then I started booking our accommodations, as the trip was less than two months away (eek!) and many of the best hotels were already fully booked. To make the most of time, we would have only one night in each place (except for Calgary) and we’d focus on visiting one or two sites before moving on to our next destination. This was a bit tricky given that Yellowstone and Glacier are enormous parks, but the point of the car cruise is to get a taste of each place. We can always return for a longer visit later!

As for packing, we each brought a week’s worth of clothing, with the intention of doing laundry once we got to Calgary. I tried to keep things as streamlined as possible since we’d have to haul everything in and out of different places daily. I also filled reusable shopping bags with food and drink provisions. This included an electric kettle, reusable plates, cutlery, cups, mugs, dish soap, granola, oatmeal, granola bars, coffee, tea, bread, bagels, boxed milks, wine and lots of other snacks. The idea was that we’d make our own breakfast daily, make some lunches (sometimes by visiting a grocery to get fresh fruits, salumi and cheese) and mostly plan to eat out for dinner. Dining out for every meal can be very costly and not so great for our waistlines, so I try to keep it to a minimum whenever we travel. 

Finally, I had to figure out what we were going to drive. My husband wasn’t keen on the idea of putting so much mileage or wear + tear on any of our vehicles, as the road can also be notoriously rough. So, I looked into all sorts of options: from renting a car or motorhome to buying a car for someone in Alaska that I could drive up to them. However, I quickly found out it’s surprisingly difficult to find rental companies that allow you to drive through Canada to Alaska. Motorhome were out because they were incredibly expensive and honestly, I wasn’t that excited about driving something so big and slow. In the end, we decided to sell our Volvo XC-90 at the end of the trip and fly home. It was a bit of a risk, but thankfully it sold pretty quickly since there aren’t that many Volvos in Alaska. Although I would’ve loved to take the alternate route back and drive the Cassiar Highway home, it would’ve been a much longer and more intense journey. It guess it just means that I’ll have to do the drive again someday!

Next up — Day 1: Las Vegas to Salt Lake City

Modern Mixtape Vol. 23: Caught Up Inside

They say blogging is dead, but I’d like to think mine is just in a coma or battling some kind of chronic illness called busyness. I won’t bother making any false promises that 180360 will come back to life any time soon, even though I really want it to. Until then, I have a little Christmas gift for you — a new mixtape! 

As always, I’ve picked my favorite alt-indie-electro tracks, most of which are new releases from the past few months of 2017. I don’t know if there’s an exact science to making mixes, but I spend a lot of time working on the flow and creating a kind of backstory to mine. This one goes through several emotions, so I hope you stick with it to the end. And turn the last song up LOUD!

As far as the bands go, I’m really digging the new ‘Antisocialites’ album from Alvvays. There are so many amazing songs on it! Sadly, I missed their tour this year. I also recently discovered Brooklyn band, Big Thief. The song I picked for the mix is a little different than the rest, but it kind of reminds me of Liz Phair, which is always a good thing! And of course, there are loads of bands that regularly make their way onto my compilations. Lastly, be sure to check out more from Japanese Breakfast and Beck’s latest album, Colors. +++

Happy Holidays and fingers crossed, I’ll be back in the New Year with a bunch of new photo and travel posts that I’ve half written. 

Listen on Spotify

Listen on 8tracks

MODERN MIXTAPE Vol. 23

01 Diving Woman // Japanese Breakfast

02 Dreams Tonite // Alvvays

03 Hard to Say Goodbye // Washed Out

04 Stars Last Me a Lifetime // Cut Copy

05 Electric Blue // Arcade Fire

06 Dear Life // Beck

07 Los Ageless // St. Vincent

08 Little Dark Age // MGMT

09 To the Moon and Back // Fever Ray

10 Find Me // Porches

11 You’re So Cool // Jonathon Bree

12 Mourning Sound // Grizzly Bear

13 Do I Have to Talk You Into It // Spoon

14 Mythological Beauty // Big Thief

15 Apocalypse // Cigarettes After Sex

16 How Can I // Plastic Flowers

17 PDA // Day Wave + Hazel English

18 Moonshine Freeze // This is the Kit

19 oh baby // LCD Soundsystem

20 St. Purple & Green // Wolf Alice

1 2 3 15
Go to Top