cinco de mayo: a love story

My parents met at a Cinco de Mayo party 20 some years ago. My Aunt's neighbor knew a great guy and it just so happened that her sister in law was a fabulous single woman. She brought a blueberry pie that he couldn't get enough of, it was love at first bite...

A few months after they first met, my dad invited her over to his apartment for a dinner party. As a food lover, my mom was VERY impressed with his cooking + hosting skills. He made Kay's Green Enchiladas. My mom thought she hit the jackpot, a handsome, caring, and compassionate man who could also cook. Little did she know he only had 4 dishes up his sleeve - hot dogs, buttered noodles, god's eye (don't ask), and kay's enchiladas. 

Until a year ago, I didn't know who Kay was, and to be honest, I didn't really care. I was just thankful for her fabulous recipe. I recently found out that she was a co-worker of my Aunt's. While I've never met Kay, I'm sure glad my aunt did!

You might take one look at this recipe and go running for the hills. Don't get me wrong, it's not complicated, It's just.... well, untraditional. It has cream cheese and parmesan cheese in it. Seriously, Kay might just be a genius. These enchiladas will change your thought on what an enchilada should be. They have a fairly traditional green tomatillo sauce that's accented with green chilies and some cilantro. But the combination of the shredded chicken with sharp red onion bits and cool, slightly tangy cream cheese make the filling to die for. Wrapped in a flour, YES flour tortilla and then smothered with that delightful green chile tomatillo sauce. All sprinkled with parmesan cheese that gives it a nice crunchy golden top make these enchiladas perfection. Give it a try and I guarantee you'll start questioning why everyone doesn't make enchiladas with cream cheese and parmesan. 

kays green enchiladas
adapted from kay, my aunt's co-worker
yields 8 - 10 enchiladas depending on how generous you are with the filling


for the filling:
4 large or 6 small chicken breasts shredded
8 oz cream cheese
½ c. heavy cream or half n half
¾ c. finely chopped red onion
8 - 10 flour tortillas

for the sauce: 
1 small can chopped green chilies
1 - 12 oz can tomatillo, drained
2 T. fresh cilantro
¼ c. chicken stock
1 c. greek yogurt
½ c. heavy cream
1 egg
salt + pepper to taste

to top:
¼ c.  parmesan cheese
dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350º F. Warm tortillas in the oven for 10 minutes or microwave for 15 seconds until warm. While tortillas are in the oven, put all of your sauce ingredients into the food processor or blender and blend until combined. Set aside and assemble your filling. 

In a  medium bowl, combine shredded chicken, red onion, cream cheese, and greek yogurt. Stir until combined. Fill tortilla with the chicken mixture, fold over both sides and roll (or however you prefer your enchiladas).  Put into a 9x11 pan, roll and repeat. When you've assembled all of your tortillas, poor sauce over the top, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until bubbly and hot through.

Serve with your favorite toppings, I like a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream and some chopped fresh cilantro. 

improv style:
you can use any kind of chicken you like - thighs, breasts, rotisserie, canned (although fresh is always better if you have it). i'm sure shredded pork would be delish too! 

don't have greek yogurt? you can substitute plain non-fat yogurt, sour cream, heavy cream or half and half. the original recipe called for heavy cream and half and half but i actually like the tang and texture the yogurt gives to it. if you can't find canned tomatillos, i've found that salsa verde will do in a pinch. sometimes if i'm feeling crazy i'll add in some frozen corn or black beans. you cold make these completely vegetarian by leaving out the chicken and bumping up the beans and veggies. if you're not a fan of onions, you can leave them out OR try cooking them in a pan first so they caramelize a bit. this will get rid of their sharpness but you'll still get the great depth of flavor. 

you can use corn tortillas if you like but i prefer the chewy flour tortillas. plus they're much easier to work with since corn tend to be more rigid and break. traditional enchiladas call for you to fry the tortillas first but i find this to be an unnecessary step that adds more fat and calories so i skip it all together. 


  1. I love your parents. So cutie.

  2. I'm sorry, I really have to ask... god's eye??? What is this? haha

    1. if you ask him he just says "you know... gods eye. it's, you know." so... what i've gathered over the years is that it's some sort of dip. not sure if it's chili cream cheese with an olive in the center or if it's some form of bean dip. maybe one day the mystery will be revealed as i've never seen him make it, haha!

  3. There's a reason why you fry corn tortillas first...it makes them pliable and solves the problem of rigidity you refer to. It is definitely NOT an unnecessary step.

    1. my recipe calls for flour tortillas which are a lot more pliable than corn. i like to skip the frying step since you can get a lot more bendy with flour without all the extra fat of frying. if others are health conscious and looking to skip frying but want to use corn, they could always try steaming the corn tortillas for a few minutes to make them a bit more pliable. if you're not afraid of a little fat... FRY AWAY BABY!! i fully embrace all forms of cooking. it's all about doing it your style in the kitchen - whatever works best for you!

    2. Frying is not needed to soften the tortillas (corn or flour). All you need to do is heat them in the microwave wrapped in paper towels or quickly pass them over a hot burner on the stove.

  4. I love the color of these smoothies. So bright and wonderful.