There are two kinds of meals in our house, Kevin meals, and Nicole meals. Kevin meals are full of meat, potatoes, and virtually no veggies. Nicole meals are packed to the brim with greens, fancy ingredients, and depending on if it’s a day where I care or don’t care about the two pounds of lingering baby weight, almost always include a carb of some sort.
Also, is it still called baby weight if your baby is almost 10 months old, or is it just weight at that point? I keep telling myself it’s the former, but deep down I know, it’s just the hoppy beers, mac and cheese, and pizza I keep inhaling on the weekends (and some weekdays), coupled with the lack of a regimented exercise schedule that’s keeping me from returning to my pre-baby body.
With its heavy hand of cheese, carbs, and chicken, at first glance, this Chicken Enchilada Baked Ravioli may scream Kevin meal, but it’s equally a Nicole meal for its heavy hand of veggies, cheese-filled ravioli and tex-mex vibe. Heck, it’s even a Teddy meal, confirmed as he scarfed down handfuls of it faster than he inhaled this spaghetti and meatballs last week.
This type of meal is something that seems to be on heavy rotation in our house as of late, because it’s easy, quick, and provides plenty of leftovers for lunches that Kevin can heat up at work, and that I can gobble up while chasing around a little guy who seems to be gaining more mobility every single day.
I will say, that while this meal is indeed quick and easy, there is one shortcut I’m not willing to take, and that’s making homemade enchilada sauce. I highly, highly recommend to forgo the store-bought stuff, and throw our super quick sauce together – I promise you won’t regret it. The ingredients are simple, and items most cooks have in their pantry at all times (and if you don’t, fear not, they are CHEAP and readily available), plus from start to finish the sauce takes less than fifteen minutes to throw together, so there’s really no excuse for you to skip it.
While the sauce simmers, the raviolis are cooked in salted, boiling water, I like to use a standard cheese ravioli, but if you find a spinach and cheese ravioli or something similar, feel free to swap it out.
As far as veggies go, I went with black beans and corn, but you could also use spinach, mushrooms, or even kale if you want a sturdier green, with a bit more heartiness to it. The chicken is just shredded, store-bought rotisserie chicken, but a simple baked chicken is really all you need.
Once the sauce has had a chance to simmer, and the ravioli are cooked, everything is layered into a baking dish, covered in cheese, and popped into the oven until it’s bubbly and gooey.
Garnish with cilantro, green onion, and some sour cream if you feel the need. Dig in, and enjoy!
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- ½ medium onion, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- ½ tsp salt
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 18 oz. low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 Tlbs. chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 Tlbs. apple cider vinegar
- 1½ pounds frozen or fresh cheese ravioli (45 ravioli)
- 3 cups shredded chicken, divided (I used a rotisserie chicken)
- 1 cup frozen corn, divided
- 1 cup black beans, divided
- 8 oz. colby jack cheese, shredded and divided
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season liberally with salt, the water should be as salty as the sea. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- While the water comes to a boil, heat a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add olive oil and onion. Cook until slightly softened, 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and salt, cook another 1-2 minutes until fragrant and softened. Add tomato paste, cook 30 seconds.
- Whisk in chicken stock, chili powder, cumin, and vinegar. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside.
- While the sauce simmers, cook the ravioli. Do NOT overcook the ravioli, they will continue to cook in the oven.
- Ladle ¼ of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x12 baking pan. Line up ⅓ of the ravioli on the bottom of the pan. Top with half of the chicken, half of the black beans, and half of the corn (1/2 cup). Ladle ¼ more of the sauce on top. Cover in ¼ of the cheese. Repeat ravioli, followed by chicken, black beans, corn, sauce, and ¼ of the cheese. For the final layer, line up remaining ravioli, followed by remaining sauce, and cover in remaining cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is hot. Serve with chopped cilantro, green onions, and sour cream if desired.
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