April SRC: Cooking from “I Was Born to Cook”

by Shumaila

I have been busy the past few days and it’s going to be like that for the next few days as well. This is also the reason why there have been no Office Thursdays for a while and I missed last week’s GMT.

I’ll try to blog as often as I can but if I go missing in between it’s because my in-laws are here and I will be busy catching up with them. Also, unlike with V, where I can tell him to wait for food while I photograph stuff, I doubt I’ll be able to do that now.

Fortunately, I was able to make and photograph my SRC assignment few days back, and able to schedule my post while V’s parents were getting over their jet lag.

This month I was given Melissa’s blog “I was Born to Cook”. Melissa is 75% Italian and 25% Greek. And as she puts it 100% Mediterranean. You can see a lot of her family history in the recipes that she blogs about with dishes from other regions as well.

I know I always write this (I can’t help it since its always true), but it really was a difficult task narrowing down on one recipe for this month’s assignment.

There was her baked eggs with cheddar potatoes. I know, sounds delish right! Also on the plate was the orange chicken with green beans (I love orange chicken, so I was really tempted to try this). And since I want to include more artichokes in my cooking, this recipe of hers was bookmarked too.

But, eventually her cheater’s chicken enchilada casserole was the chosen one for this month’s SRC.

I already have a delicious chicken enchilada recipe on the blog, courtesy the Pioneer Woman. But it has plenty of steps and needs a lot of planning. This recipe thankfully is not as complicated and equally good. Even if you are making your own enchilada sauce. Which I highly recommend you do.

I got the recipe for the enchilada sauce from a Chowhound forum and its a great recipe that is quick to make. Its actually a recipe from Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network site.

I have changed the original recipe a bit. I used half the amount of chilli powder called for. The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup, but it also says Mexico chilli powder. The only chilli powder I had on hand was red chilli powder form the Indian store and I knew 1/4 cup of that would be a LOT. I also used freshly blanched, peeled tomatoes instead of canned for the sauce as I did not have any canned tomatoes in my pantry.

Someone on the Chowhound site recommended that you double the recipe and freeze whatever is leftover. I really wish I had, because the sauce was really good. But well its so easy to make that I don’t think that should be a problem for next time.

The whole dish in fact came together really quickly and tasted absolutely great.

Thanks Melissa for a lovely, lovely recipe. It’s definitely a keeper!


As Melissa puts it, “In case you get caught with nothing to make at the last minute, or if you only have tortilla chips in the house, this is a great dinner dish to make” and it takes a jiffy ( a little more than that if you make your enchilada sauce from scratch).

Melissa used black olives in the recipe, but since I was out of those I omitted them. It still tasted great.

Serves 3-4

Preparation time: about 20-25 min

Baking time: 20 minutes

Barely Adapted from I Was Born to Cook


  • 2 chicken breasts, diced ( I used about 1.04 pounds of pre-cut stir fry chicken breasts that I chopped into cubes)
  • 1 tsp cumin,
  • 1 tsp garlic powder ( I used 1 tsp garlic salt and adjusted the seasoning accordingly)
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cups crushed tortilla chips ( I used multi-grain tortilla chips with flaxseeds- sneaking in the healthy stuff!)
  • 1 cup fire roasted green chiles
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 serving enchilada sauce (Melissa used 1 10 oz can enchilada sauce, but I made my own. Recipe follows)
  • 1 package shredded cheddar cheese, or as much as your waistline permits

For the enchilada sauce:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 heaping tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 16 ounces chicken stock (I used the knorr concentrated chicken stock and diluted it as per package instructions)
  • 10 ounces tomato puree ( I blanched 5 tomatoes. For blanching tomatoes, boil water in a pan. Cut the eyes out of each tomato and cut crosses on the opposite side of the eye. This is how it should look like. Once the water is boiling, add the tomatoes in it and let boil ill the skin starts peeling off. Drain the tomatoes and run through some cold water to stop them from cooking and also to make it easier to peel the skin off. Peel the skin off and puree in blender. Its ready to use)


For the sauce:

  1. In a saucepan, heat the oil.
  2. Add flour and cook, whisking for 1 minute.
  3. Add the chili powder and cook 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in stock, tomato puree, oregano and cumin and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, lid partially off, until flavors are well-blended, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt.

For the chicken:

  1. While the sauce is being cooked, cook the chicken. For that, heat oil in a skillet on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the spices and temper for a few seconds only, being careful not to burn the spices.
  3. Add in the chicken and saute until cooked. Set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Putting everything together:

  1. In a 9×9 pan, layer chips, chicken, sauce, onions, chiles, cheese.
  2. Bake for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Serve with sour cream,guacamole and salsa.

Check out what the other members have picked up for their assignments: