Wanna know how to make a pan of delicious, creamy, cheesy, hearty enchiladas even better? Make it festive!
This Creamy and Cheesy Valentine Enchilada Casserole is a labor of love for those you love! Such a fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your family or perhaps to make for a Valentine’s Day party or potluck. Wanna know how to make ’em?!
Get your red tortillas and start cutting ’em into some heart shapes. I got 2-3 heart shapes out of each tortilla and reserved the scraps. I used kitchen shears, but you could easily use a metal heart-shaped cookie cutter for this.
I just cut them free handed, and I learned really quickly that I couldn’t cut these the “middle school Valentine way” by folding a tortilla in half and then making one cut to make a heart shape. The corn tortillas split easily, so I learned after a couple of tortillas that bending them to cut them wasn’t a good idea.
Side note: THIS STEP IS OPTIONAL. If you notice in the photos below, you won’t see the larger hearts that go inside the casserole. However, if you’re making these with kiddos and the idea of cutting the red tortillas into heart shapes sounds fun, and if your kids would get a kick out of that (my older daughter definitely would!), then take a little extra time and do this part for fun! But if not, just do the hearts for the top. 🙂 If you skip this step of cutting hearts, just tear up some tortillas and use them when it comes to layering (see images below).
Look how fun this is already! Make sure you reserve those scraps. You’ll use ’em. (Make sure you reserve a couple of tortillas to cut small heart shapes at the end to decorate the top of the casserole.)
After you bake the chicken & veggie mixture, you’ll spread half of it it all out on the bottom of the pan with half of the beans, and then tear the scraps of tortillas and sprinkle them on top.
Then you’ll pour half of the creamy, cheesy mixture and half of the remaining Monterrey jack cheese on top of that. I love casseroles. They’re allowed to be messy, and they’re just so darn good.
After you’ve gotten your first layers down – half the chicken and veggie mixture, half of the pinto beans, the tortilla scraps, half of the creamy and cheesy mixture, and half of the remaining Monterrey jack cheese, you’ll repeat those layers, except instead of tortilla scraps this time, you’ll layer those heart-shaped tortillas on top of the chicken and beans. Overlap the edges a little bit as you lay them across the top.
Then pour on the creamy mixture and top with remaining Monterrey jack cheese (saving about 2 tbsp of cheese for after the casserole comes out of the oven) and bake for 30 minutes at 350.
Once the pan comes out of the oven, allow it to sit for about 5-10 minutes before serving.
Sprinkle remaining 2 tbsp Monterrey jack cheese on top, and then cut out small hearts from the remaining tortillas and sprinkle them across the top of the casserole. That little bit of extra cheese will help the hearts to stick to the casserole. You don’t want to sprinkle the hearts on too early – with the heat of the pan, they’ll buckle, so wait until a little closer to serving time to add them to the top.
The bonus of this casserole is that with red tortillas and the white cream sauce, this turns into a pan of pink enchiladas when you cut them!
Gather ’round and treat yourself and people you love to a yummy meal this Valentine’s Day! And what meal is complete without a sweet treat? Try these fun & festive Valentine’s Day treats to top off your meal!
- 15-20 red corn tortillas, divided
- 5 tbsp butter, divided
- 1 lb raw chicken breast, cut up into bite-sized pieces
- Dash of salt & pepper
- Juice from ½ lime
- ½ c diced yellow or sweet onion
- 1 jalapeno pepper, diced with seeds removed
- 2 c chicken broth, divided
- 3 c shredded/finely chopped fresh spinach leaves
- 2 c sour cream
- 3 tbsp flour
- ½ c heavy cream
- 2 tsp cumin
- 7oz can of green chiles, undrained
- 1 15oz can pinto beans, drained
- 2 c Monterrey jack cheese, divided
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cut red tortillas into heart shapes using kitchen shears or a heart-shaped cookie cutter, reserving 1-2 tortillas for later. Try to get at least 3 heart shapes out of each tortilla. Save the scraps from cutting out the heart shapes, and set them, the heart shapes, and the remaining tortillas aside.*
- Melt 2 tbsp butter in large skillet over medium heat.
- Add chicken to pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Squeeze lime juice on top of chicken.
- Cook the chicken until golden brown and no longer pink in the middle.
- Remove from heat. Transfer chicken from skillet to a glass plate or bowl and shred chicken using two forks.
- In the same skillet you used to cook the chicken, melt 1 tbsp butter. Add onion and jalapeno. Saute until soft (about 7-10 minutes), intermittently adding chicken broth (about ¼ c total) as needed for moisture.
- When veggies are soft, add additional ¼ c chicken broth to skillet. Stir. Add spinach and saute until wilted (about 3-5 minutes).
- Remove veggies from pan and mix with shredded chicken.
- In the same skillet you used to prepare the chicken & the veggies, melt 2 tbsp butter.
- Once the butter is completely melted, add 3 tbsp flour and whisk immediately and constantly.
- While continuously whisking, slowly add 1½ c chicken broth and continue whisking until all of the lumps of flour dissolve (maybe about a minute).
- Add ½ c heavy cream and whisk.
- Add sour cream & mix.
- Add 2 tsp cumin and chiles (do not drain the can) and stir creamy mixture until well-blended.
- Add ¾ c cheese and stir. Turn off heat on stove top and set skillet aside.
- In a 9x13 baking dish, spread ½ of the chicken and veggie mixture on the bottom. Pour ½ can of pinto beans evenly over chicken mixture. Tear up the tortilla scraps from cutting out the heart shapes and sprinkle them evenly across the top of the beans and chicken. Pour ½ of the cream and cheese mixture over the tortillas, and then sprinkle ½ of the remaining Monterrey jack cheese on top of the cream mixture.
- Spread remaining chicken and veggie mixture across baking dish, remaining can of pinto beans, and then line up the heart shaped-tortillas evenly across the pan, slightly overlapping the edges as you lay them down.
- Pour remaining cheese and cream mixture on top of heart-shaped tortillas. Reserve and set aside about 2 tbsp of Monterrey jack cheese, and then sprinkle remaining cheese (minus the 2 tbsp) on top of the creamy mixture.
- Place baking dish in oven and bake for 30 minutes at 350.
- Remove from oven and allow to sit for about 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Just before serving, sprinkle remaining 2 tbsp of Monterry jack cheese across the top of the casserole (this will help the small heart shapes to stick to the pan), cut small heart shapes out of remaining tortillas and sprinkle them across to decorate the top of the casserole.**
Another note: If you do cut larger heart shapes out to bake inside the casserole, keep the remaining tortillas (the ones you didn't cut) in the package until you use them. Corn tortillas tend to buckle fairly easily. When you cut the tortillas, DO NOT bend them in half to cut a heart shape. You know how you fold a piece of paper in half and then easily make one cut to get a heart shape? You can't do that with corn tortillas - they'll break in half. You can easily cut these with kitchen shears, or you can use a metal heart-shaped cookie cutter and cut them that way.
**Wait until you're almost ready to serve the enchilada casserole to cut out the small heart shapes out of the tortillas to decorate the top. You'll want to preserve their shape, so wait until closer to serving time to spread them across the top of the casserole.
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