Therapy in Session: Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas

Life likes to work in mysterious ways, sometimes in our favor and other times mocks us in the cruelest ways. We’ve all lost something we’ve hold dear to us at one point or another, whether it be a person, pet, or something sentimental, whatever the case, I can only say the pain that hits us, the wave of emotions felt, it’s more powerful and sometimes more hurtful than physical pain. It may sound ridiculous but until it happens, you’ll never know. 

In the long run, we’ll be alright, we’ll move past this instant in time and soon, it’ll just be a memory of what once was. That doesn’t mean it hurts any less or that it won’t bring us a little prick in the future whenever the memory surfaces again, but there are bigger things in life than to waste energy on things we cannot control. Motivation to move on is never easy, we can give and receive all the advice and comfort in the world but actually being able to take those and turn it into inspiration to start anew and be happy again, that’s the challenge. Many people fall into the trap of never being able to come back out of that darkness, that depression but my way of seeing things: you have every right to be sad, to be depressed, to be heart broken, to express sorrow, and to be angry but it is not wise to dwell. Being all those things are normal, it is our way of coping but it is not our way of life. We live to love, to smile, to find joy, to form friendships, and to forgive. If we hold onto the bitterness, we ourselves will become bitter. We only have one life, we can live it being bitter, angry, or depressed, or we can take life’s cruel jokes and laugh right back. Just another speed bump on the road, you might have tripped me, but as long as I’m still living, I can still go forward.

Me? I’m swimming somewhere in between the first paragraph and the second. It’s no easy task to overcome, but there are ways. We just have to double on the things that make us happy and remember happiness feels so much greater than despair. Things that make us happy also helps keeps our minds out of trouble; it prevents the mind from wandering into thoughts that are best left alone for now. Therefore one of my distractions for now: Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas (Printable Recipe Here)

(Adapted from Rachael Ray’s Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas, sorry no link, the recipe came with pan I bought.)
Makes 5-6 servings
  • Approx 1lb of chicken breast tenders
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated/finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of chipotle powder
  • 1 chipotle pepper (from chipotle pepper in adobe sauce)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon (or 2 pinches)
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • ½ can of tomato paste (approx 4oz)
  • 1 cup of milk (for creamy texture) or 1 cup of chicken stock
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 6 large corn tortilla or 8 regular sized corn tortilla
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of choice
  • ¼ cup cilantro (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cream (optional)

1.       Cook chicken with olive oil, flavor with a little bit of salt and pepper. Once cooked, shred the chicken meat with 2 forks or with your fingers, set aside.
2.      Heat a medium sauce pan with olive oil and sauté the onions until soft, add in garlic and spices, and toast a few seconds until fragrant. Add in tomatoes. Cook until well marinated then add in milk or chicken stock along with tomato paste. Shimmer for about 10 minutes until sauce begins to thicken. Stir in cilantro and lime juice, remove from heat.
3.      Add ladleful of sauce to the chicken and toss to combine. Reserve remaining sauce
4.      Heat tortillas by warming them in a dry skillet over medium heat or by layering moist paper towels in between each one and microwave for about a minute.
5.      Divide the chicken evenly among the tortillas and roll each one up. Add some of the reserve sauce on the bottom of a 9” square baking pan then line the pan with rolled enchiladas, seam side down. Pour remaining sauce over chicken enchiladas and top with cheese.
6.      Place in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes (or until cheese is melted, brown and bubbly) at 375 degrees.

Knowing cooking is a definite phase of the healing process, now even more so, when I went to the store, I didn’t care for pricing. I didn’t care whether I can or cannot do it, I bought ingredients to things I have always wanted to make/remake but have held back in the past. I can only handle so many negative things at a time. For now, logic will just have to play a smaller role when it comes to small indulgences such as food shopping. 

You know what’s another good healer? Exercise. Weird but somehow the physical pain in your lungs, your arms, your legs, will temporarily melt all that emotional nonsense away. It clears our heads, it makes us feel good. Natural endorphins, you can’t beat that. Not only will this make you feel good, but in the long run, it’ll make you better. You look better and in turn feel better. Be stronger, happier, and live longer. For me, its the best place to go. Exercising has never let me down which is more than I can say about anything else.


  1. Melinda,
    I hope everything is okay...I tried to focus on reading your recipe, but I couldn't help but notice the other theme in this post. Sending you many hugs for whatever it may be that is making you sad. <3

    1. Thanks Zoe <3, things have gotten better. I do try to keep things upbeat but sometimes things do get the best of us. As Kelly Clarkson sings "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger"


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