While I am furiously scribbling down bookmarked recipes before the book’s due date, I thought I’d post one from The Best Make-Ahead Recipe, by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated and (I guess?) tested by the stars of “America’s Test Kitchen” (the former is a magazine and the latter a PBS show, and to my understanding the same people are mostly involved in both). Anyway, whoever they are, these people do work that makes you feel that they are really quite indispensable. So they take advantage of this and ask you to pay to access most of their website and stuff, but there are probably large cookbooks of theirs available at your local library to enable you to resist that temptation, for a while. Especially if you don’t have a scanner or printer, they will keep you busy enough, bookmarking and copying down an enormous number of pages that contain delectable but practical, doable recipes.

I made this recently—as it appeared in a slightly modified form in their e-mail newsletter awhile back—and if your family likes/tolerates (digestively, I mean) Mexican food with a slight kick, you must try it. By “freezer” they mean that you can freeze the sauce and enchiladas for up to 2 months; except for defrosting the sauce in the microwave, the dish can go straight from freezer to oven when you’re ready for it.

Freezer Chicken Enchiladas
For the sauce (just buy a big can if you’re low on time):
1 29-oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 med. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

For the filling:
3 c. shredded cooked chicken
2 1/2 c. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. pickled jalapeños, minced
10 6″ corn tortillas

1. To make ahead: Blend tomato sauce, onion, garlic, chipotle, cumin, coriander, salt, and broth in blender until smooth. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add tomato mixture, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until mixture is reduced to 3 1/2 cups, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Toss 3/4 cup sauce with chicken, 1 cup of the cheese, cilantro, and jalepeños.

3. Place 5 tortillas on baking sheet and lightly coat both sides with cooking spray. Bake tortillas until just pliable, about 2 minutes. Working quickly, transfer one tortilla at a time to work surface, fill with 1/3 cup chicken mixture, and roll tightly. Transfer, seam side down, to large plate. Repeat warming and rolling process with remaining 5 tortillas. Place plate in freezer until enchiladas are frozen, at least 1 hour.

4. Place remaining sauce in freezersafe container and press 2 layers of plastic wrap directly onto surface of sauce. Tightly wrap enchiladas in bundles of 5, first in plastic and then in foil. Freeze for up to 2 months.

5. When ready to serve: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Defrost enchilada sauce in microwave on defrost setting, about 12 minutes.

6. Coat a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange frozen enchiladas in single layer in baking dish and coat tops with cooking spray. Bake until tops of tortillas are just beginning to flake, about 20 minutes. Remove dish from oven, top enchiladas with 1 1/2 cups sauce, and bake 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle enchiladas with remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese and bake until cheese melts and center of casserole is hot and bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve, passing remaining sauce and garnishes (see note above) at table.

** If you want to serve this dish immediately (rather than freezing it), preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place an oven rack in the middle position. After rolling the enchiladas, place them seam-side down in a single layer in a 13×9″ baking dish. Pour the sauce on top, covering the enchiladas completely, then sprinkle on the remaining 1 1/2 cup of cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil sprayed with vegetable oil and bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted, 20-25 minutes.

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