These chicken enchiladas with pumpkin sauce are the perfect way to feed a crowd. The velvety pumpkin sauce is very unique and elevates the enchiladas into a fancy meal without any extra effort!
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Every Sunday night my extended family gathers for dinner – the adults chat while the kids play hard and everyone starts off the new week on the right foot. My mom and I take turns planning the menus for the meals; we are feeding a wide variety of palates so it’s not always easy to come up with something that will appeal to everyone! Over the years we’ve created a number of dinners that the family will happily eat and this recipe for chicken enchiladas with pumpkin sauce is one of our favorites.
This time of the year there are so many tempting pumpkin treats out there. I’m definitely doing my part to spread the pumpkin love and don’t worry, I’ve got more to come! That being said, the savory side of pumpkin often gets overlooked. While pumpkin does have some naturally sweet undertones, when you pair it with decidedly savory flavors like chili powder and garlic it turns into a totally different experience. Many enchilada sauces are made with tomatoes or dried chiles which are flavorful, but don’t provide much in the way of texture – if anything most enchilada sauces are on the watery side. This enchilada sauce uses pumpkin puree as a base which creates a smooth, velvety and creamy sauce – you may never want to make regular old enchiladas again!
I do my shopping for our Sunday family meals at Smart & Final. I like that they sell their products in different sizes so that I can buy what best fits my needs. For family dinners I prefer to buy in bulk since I’m feeding a lot of people! In this recipe I used a variety of First Street products including canned pumpkin, olives, seasoned salt and cheese. While you’re shopping keep an eye out for specially marked club buy items where you can save by buying larger quantities.
I took advantage of the bulk pricing and bought a large can of pumpkin for all of my pumpkin cooking and baking needs this fall. Pumpkin freezes really well so I divide the pumpkin into 2 cup portions and freeze it in resealable bags for future use.
Let’s talk about the recipe – the first step is to make the pumpkin sauce. The sauce is essentially pumpkin puree that’s heavily seasoned and blended with water to get to just the right consistency. After the sauce is made it’s time to roll some enchiladas! You can use your choice of tortillas – I prefer flour but I’ve made this before with corn tortillas and that also works just fine. The tortillas are stuffed with shredded chicken and cheese and laid in the pan. The pumpkin sauce goes over the top with some cheese and the whole thing gets baked until the cheese has melted and the enchiladas are warmed through.
I added some sliced olives, chopped tomatoes and cilantro on top for a fresh flavor to complement the richness of the sauce. These enchiladas are great as is or for a complete meal make up some mexican rice and cantina beans. I’ve written this recipe to serve 4 people, but it can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd. You can also make a big batch and freeze some for another day – the enchiladas should be frozen separately from the sauce for best results.
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Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce
- Cooking spray
- 2 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken
- 1 3/4 cups First Street pumpkin puree
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of First Street seasoned salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 8 tortillas I prefer flour but corn works fine too, 6 inch size
- 2 cups grated First Street Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 tomato seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup of First Street sliced black olives
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a blender, puree pumpkin, chili powder onion powder, garlic powder, seasoned salt and kosher salt with 2 cups of water until smooth.
- Pour 1 cup of the sauce into the bottom of the baking dish, spread to coat evenly.
- Lay the tortillas on a work surface. Spoon the chicken onto half of each tortilla, dividing evenly. Sprinkle the tortillas evenly with 1 cup of cheese. Roll up tortillas and place seam side down in the baking dish.
- Pour remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with remaining cheese cheese. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake until cheese is golden and sauce is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Arrange the tomatoes, olives and cilantro on top and serve.
Freeze It: The sauce and enchiladas can be frozen separately for up to 3 months. To bake, thaw the enchilada sauce and pour it over the frozen enchiladas. Bake according to recipe directions and add an additional 5-7 minutes to the cook time.