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Enchiladas a perfect end to a busy day
These beef enchiladas can be assembled in advance and then quickly baked when a fast dinner is needed. - photo by Susan Tusa

Eagle Ranch graduate Shane Sullards describes his experience at the facility.

By: Brandee A. Thomas

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Family dinnertime can feel the squeeze now that classes - along with a host of school functions and sports - are back in full swing.

But it's crucial to have a plan when the kids ask, "What's for dinner?" Finding a dish that's easy to make, nutritious and something the kids will eat isn't always easy.

That's where today's Weeknight Chicken Enchiladas come in.

It takes little effort and time to roll chicken in tortillas. You can make the filling with any leftover cooked and shredded chicken. Grocery store rotisserie chicken works great.

And don't be put off by the number of ingredients in this recipe - everything comes together quickly. In fact, children can help assemble and roll the enchiladas. Once you get the method you will have them done in no time.

The traditional way to prepare enchiladas is to make your own sauce from scratch, dipping the corn tortilla in the sauce to make them pliable. (I simply warmed the tortillas in the microwave and spooned the sauce directly on it before adding the filling. It's less mess and easier.)

But when you're pressed for time, using canned enchilada sauce is just fine. There are plenty of varieties with heat levels ranging from mild to hot. And you can doctor up the canned sauce any way you like.

You will find a variety of enchilada sauces at most grocery stores and at specialty Hispanic stores such as Honey Bee Market on Bagley in Detroit. At many Hispanic grocers, you will also find a myriad of corn and flour tortillas in different sizes. Many of those tortillas are straight from southwest Detroit's tortilla factories. I've picked up packages from Honey Bee Market in the morning and the tortillas were still warm.

To save time, you can assemble the enchiladas the night before and refrigerate them. Just don't put the final sauce and cheese on them; do that just before baking.

These also can be assembled and frozen. Place them (with a little sauce on the bottom) in a foil pan or a dish suitable for freezing. You can sprinkle the cheese on or wait until you're ready to bake them. Cover the enchiladas with plastic and then with foil or place in a large freezer bag. Freeze for up to two months.

To bake, remove the foil and plastic. Add the cheese if you didn't add before freezing and spoon on the sauce. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees until the enchiladas are completely heated through, about 25 minutes.


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