Enchilada Stuffed Shells

Enchiladas are one of my favorite things to make so I was intrigued when I read the title of this recipe–it sounds so good–and something a little different.  And they turned out delicious!! One thing I really like about this recipe is that you can really adjust the flavor of the filling to exactly what you want-spicy or mild, beef or turkey or vegetarian even. I opted for ground turkey as I had some on hand.


Enchilada Stuffed Shells


  • 1 12 oz box jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 lb ground lean turkey
  • 2 10 oz cans enchilada sauce
  • 1 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed  to a pulp
  • chili powder to taste
  • coriander to taste
  • salsita sauce to taste
  • 1 16oz can fat-free refried beans
  • 2 cup freshly grated colby jack cheese


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350.  Spray an 11×7 baking dish with non-stick spray and spread half of one of the cans of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan. Set aside. 
  2. Cook pasta shells as per box instructions. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat cook turkey. Drain excess fat, reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the onion, shallot and all of the spices.  When combined add one can of the enchilada sauce and the refried beans. Stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  4. Using a tea or tablespoon fill each cooked pasta shell with the turkey mixture.  Place the filled shells filling side up next to each other in the baking dish until the dish is filled. It’s ok to smush them in a bit-they should be tightly set in the pan. You may have a few shells left over. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the shells.
  5. Cover the pan with a sheet of foil and bake for 20 minutes. remove the foil, sprinkle with cheese, and return to oven for 10 more minutes.
  6. Serve either plain or with any toppings you’d like-sour cream, scallions etc..

This made about 20 shells but that # will depend on how much you fill the shells and how many you can stick into the pan.

I printed this recipe out years ago.  I don’t know who’s it is.


Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

I will warn you before you start reading this-this is not a fast 30 minute recipe. In fact it’s more like 90 minutes but most of that time is simmering or reducing or things you can do while paying attention to other stuff so don’t be afraid of it. But it’s worth it! These came out so great. I did cook them on a weeknight so it can be done. Perhaps next time I can prepare the chicken and sauce over the weekend ahead of time and then just heat/bake to serve. That would make this a super fast dinner to put together. In any event they’re surprisingly filling and very very very tasty.  Don’t skip the sauce reducing or the chicken poaching-those steps develop very delicious flavor levels. 

I served these with the sweet corn and bell  saute on the side. Very nice together.


Chicken Enchiladas


  • 4 cups cold water
  • 2 cups fat-free lower sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 5 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 6oz skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 celery stalk, chopped coarsely
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 serrano pepper, cut in half most of ribs and seeds removed (remove all or none to taste. The more seed/ribs the hotter it is)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 7oz can salsa verde
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup tomato, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 ozs whipped greek yogurt cream cheese (or regular cream cheese)
  • 8 10 inch tortillas
  • cooking spray
  • 2 ozs freshly grated low-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • fat-free sour cream for topping
  • salsa for topping


  1. Combine the first 9 ingredients (water through and including onion) in a pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook it for 8 minutes or until chicken is done (time may vary depending on thickness of chicken pieces).  Remove the chicken and set aside. Drain the cooking liquid through a colander over a bowl. Keep the liquid and discard the vegetables.  When the chicken is cool enough shred it with two forks and set aside.
  2. Pour the cooking liquid back into the same pot and add the salsa verde and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until it’s reduced to about 1&1/2 cups (30-40 minutes). Reduce to low heat, stir in whipping cream. 
  3. Preheat oven to 400.
  4. Spray an 11×7 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  5. Place the chicken into a medium mixing bowl. Add tomato and next 5 ingredients (through and including cream cheese). Stir to combine.
  6. Dip each tortilla into the liquid for a few seconds then shake to remove excess. Place 1/3 cup of chicken mixture onto the tortilla and roll it up. Place the filled tortilla seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat until you can’t fit any more tortillas in the dish. Spoon some of the liquid over the top of the tortillas and then sprinkle all of the cheese evenly on the top.
  7. Bake at 400 for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
  8. Serve immediately with toppings suggested above or anything else you’d like.

Adapted from Cooking Light, October 2013.