I’ve written about my Grandpa Sells before and how he helped influence my love for cooking. When my husband and I first moved away from home I would call him every once in a while to say a quick hello. And when I say quick, I mean it. It only took my first phone call to learn that my grandpa wasn’t one for carrying on a conversation over the phone. He tended to ask a few questions, listen, and then hand the phone to my grandma or attempt to politely end the conversation. That is until I discovered that the key was to ask him about what he’d been cooking lately. Then I found out that he could talk for a lot longer than one would expect. He would go into detail about how he found this new recipe, or what made him think about making it, and then exactly how to prepare it. This recipe comes from one of those conversations.
It’s a very simple recipe that is very versatile, which I love. Originally, when I was talking with Grandpa, while standing in my itty bitty kitchen in a one-bedroom apartment in Pasadena, California he told me that the recipe he read was to make vegetarian enchiladas. The mixture was made as described below without chicken or cilantro and then topped with sour cream and cheese rather than your typical enchilada sauce. At first, I thought this would mean biting into dry enchiladas, but the chicken & green chile mixture is so moist that you don’t need extra sauce to go on top. The tang of the sour cream and coolness of the avocado help balance out the slight heat that comes from the chile powder in the mix. My grandpa was pleased after having making the enchiladas, but he had added chicken to his, which I agreed sounded amazing.
After first trying the enchilada version I’ve since made this as a quick filling in tacos, and as the main ingredient in a taco salad. The key, really, is to not omit the avocados or sour cream because the combination of those flavors with the mex-mix is what makes this dish so unique. If you decide to make a taco salad you won’t need any dressing as the mex-mix is moist enough on its own and the sour cream helps with moisture as well.
- 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 chicken breasts (I use rotisserie chicken)
- 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
- 1 7 oz can diced green chiles
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
- one bunch of cilantro, divided
- 2 avocados (at least)
- sour cream
- 1 16 oz bag Mexican cheese mix (cheddar cheese, & Colby jack)
- corn tortillas & oil for frying
- Cook and shred chicken breast (or just make your life easier and shred a store bought rotisserie chicken)
- Add oil to skillet and cook diced onion until translucent. Add chicken breast, tomatoes, green chiles and spices including 1 tablespoon roughly chopped cilantro. Cook until warmed through.
For a salad – serve the Mex-mix over romaine lettuce and then top with Mexican cheese, a dollop of sour cream, sliced avocado and fresh cilantro. If you have time I would highly recommend topping it off with tortilla strips.
For tacos – fry corn tortillas in oil until crispy and drain on paper towels. Fill with chicken & green chile mex-mix and then top with avocados, sour cream, extra cilantro and cheese.
For enchiladas – quickly dip tortillas in hot oil and then pat dry with a paper towel. The tortillas should be pliable, but not crunchy or tough. Fill the corn tortillas with the mex-mix and then roll and place into a baking dish. Top enchiladas with sour cream and shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Serve with sliced avocado and fresh cilantro on top.
Notes – Serves 4-6