If there’s one thing I really enjoy doing, it’s got to be feeding people! Not sure why, but I’ve always gotten a lot of satisfaction out of seeing people feel cared for by a big plate of good food. I’ve done a lot of what we call “bulk cooks” for people in the past, friend who just had a baby, families affected by a death or injury, and just good, fun eating. Well, as you may have read, we recently did a bulk cook for our local Police Department as a “thank you” and “we appreciate all that you do” kind of a thing.
Normally when I cook, I don’t measure (unless I’m baking) and this time, I actually kept track of everything I did and used! If you know me, this is a BIG change for my usual m.o. So, I’m going to give you the exact quantities and ingredients that I used on the in case that you want to explore the magic that is bulk cooking.
What you’ll need for 10 11″ x 9″ pans of casserole:
– 4 – 3lb bags of frozen chicken breast tenderloins
– 7 1lb cans of green enchilada sauce
– 140 corn tortillas
– 15 cups grated cheese (I used cheddar and jack)
– 6 cups chicken broth
– 1 stick of butter
– 1/2 cup of flour
– 2 yellow onions, chopped
– 3 T garlic salt
– 2 T oregano
– 1 T black pepper
– 10 13″ x 9″ aluminum pans.
For the chicken: In a HUGE stock pan, put the chicken, 2 cans of enchilada sauce, 1 can of water, the seasonings, and the onions and simmer over medium heat. This part will take a while, but be patient. Stir the chicken every now and then to be sure it’s not sticking on the bottom. Once the chicken starts to break up, take it off the heat and let it cool for a bit. Once you can comfortably work with it, use large forks to shred it up. Taste it. adjust any seasonings to your liking. Set aside in a large pan to cool. I used two of the enchilada pans to store the meat in the fridge for later assembly.
For the sauce: In the bottom of a large stock pot (I used the same one from above) melt the butter over low heat. Once it’s melted, add the butter and stir constantly until it’s blended. Keep stirring for a bit until it starts to brown slightly, a couple of minutes. Add a cup of the broth and stir with a whisk. Keep whisking as it thickens, and gradually add the rest of the stock and the remaining enchilada sauce (5 cans). Let it simmer until it slowly bubbles. Set aside to cool.
For the tortillas: I like my corn tortillas heated over the fire. I realize that this is a lengthy process with 140 tortillas, so it’s up to you if you want to do it or not. There’s something about the fire toasting that activates the tortilla that you definitely want to do for tacos, but it can slide for this casserole since they get covered with cheese and sauce. I did it, though, just sayin…no pressure!
For the assembly: Get all your pieces ready; pans, chicken, sauce, tortillas, and cheese. Prepare for a bit of a mess…but it’s for a good cause. Grab a 1/2 cup measuring cup, it makes life a bit easier. Put 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of the enchilada pan. Spread it around a bit to cover. Line the bottom of the pan with 4 tortillas, torn in half. I put the straight edges around the edges of the pan and then two more halves in the middle. Now put a cup of chicken and spread it around evenly. Top that with 1/2 cup cheese, and a 1/2 cup more sauce. Cover with another layer of tortillas, chicken, cheese, sauce, tortillas. Top with a sprinkling of cheese and sauce and you’re done with your first pan! Repeat 9 more times!
We covered the pans with foil and threw them in the freezer for delivery another day. When you’re ready to eat, put the pan in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes covered, then uncover and cook until bubbly around the edges, about 20-30 more minutes. Add some avocado and sour cream with some hot sauce to spice things up a bit.
Some other random tips and info:
– You can use beef, pork, or veggies instead of chicken for this recipe.
– You can use red enchilada sauce instead of green, or your own kind of sauce.
– You can add more layers if you’d like it thicker.
– Always taste as you go to be sure you like the level of seasonings.
– Don’t be afraid to do you your own thing, add more cheese or less cheese. Add olives or peppers or spinach.
– This doesn’t have to be to give away, you can do a bulk cook to stock your own freezer! Cut the recipe in half if you only want 5 trays.
– Tell me about your ideas for bulk cook food! I’m working on my next cook.