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From the food editor: A recipe for enchiladas, a good thing to make ahead for your future self

Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
Published Jun. 22, 2017

By the time you read this, I will be back from spending a couple of days bopping around New York City with a friend.

There will be lots of meals I don't have to cook, lots of gallivanting the night away. But as I'm writing this, I am in the throes of vacation prep. How will I fit everything into one suitcase? What subway line do I take from the airport? How soon can I get my hands on a slice of pizza?

To make my life easier when I return, I am also making it a priority to cook meals now that I can eat later.

I don't always do this. In fact, I hardly do this to such a thoughtful degree. But I know my wallet is going to take a hit on this trip, and I know I will be very thankful to my past self when I come home to a freezer full of food.

So I turned to something that keeps well but still has the wholesome and comforting taste I will crave after a week of traveling: enchiladas.

You can do this one of two ways. Since everything you are putting inside of the enchilada is cooked, you can prep the enchiladas ahead of time and put the dish directly in the freezer, thawing when you get home and then cooking in the oven according to the recipe below.

Or — and this is what I usually do to save even more time when I actually want to eat — you can make the entire recipe, let the dish cool, then freeze the enchiladas until you need them.

The tortillas themselves don't suffer much in the freezing process, because they're already drenched in sauce and cheese and goodness.

About that sauce. I made my own from scratch, partly because I already had some canned chipotle chiles in my pantry and partly because you know how I feel about processed ingredients.

I had never made it this way before, using whole canned chiles and then pureeing the ingredients to form a thick sauce, but the flavor is bold and exquisite. I highly recommend doubling the recipe and freezing it in a couple of batches for the next time you get an enchilada craving.

That is something Future Jet-Lagged Michelle will definitely appreciate.