Joy Bauer’s Slow-Cooker Chicken Enchiladas Pack Tons of Flavor With None of the Guilt

04/01/2016 at 11:56 AM ET

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Iain Bagwell; Inset: MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock

Everyone loves a good Mexican meal, but the dishes are not always diet-friendly.

Luckily, Today Show nutrition and health expert Joy Bauer has shared her “super-slimming version” from her new cookbook From Junk Food to Joy Food exclusively in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. Compared to two restaurant enchiladas that come in at 600 calories, a serving of Bauer’s enticing entree is only 315 calories.

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“My simple pulled-chicken recipe couldn’t be any easier and gives ordinary enchiladas an amazing shot of flavor,” she says.

The registered dietician nutritionist uses a slow-cooker method so you can easily prepare the chicken with little effort. Then just assemble the enchiladas and pop them in the oven.

“Dinner is served in less than 20 minutes and my family flips out for this indulgent Mexican classic,” says Bauer.

RELATED: 8 Healthy Snacks You Can Make in the Office

And for an extra kick without adding calories, “sprinkle a dash of cumin, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes or any other preferred seasoning on top,” she says.

Joy Bauer’s Chicken Enchiladas
Serves: 8

½ cup salsa
2 tsp. taco seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ onion, finely chopped
1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
16 (6-in.) corn or flour tortillas
2 cups enchilada or taco sauce, divided
2 cups shredded reduced-fat Mexican four-cheese blend

1. Stir together the salsa, taco seasoning, garlic powder and onion in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add chicken. Cover and cook until chicken shreds easily with a fork, 2½ hours on high or 4½ hours on low. Shred chicken, and stir to incorporate cooking liquid.

2. Microwave the tortillas on high until heated and soft, about 30 seconds.

3. Preheat oven to 350?. Spread about 2 tbsp. of the enchilada sauce in each of two 13×9-in. pans. Place one tortilla on sauce, and spread with 1 heaping tbsp. of the enchilada sauce. Spoon about ¼ cup shredded chicken just below center of tortilla. Fold opposite sides of tortilla over filling, and roll up. Turn seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling, placing eight enchiladas in each pan. Spread remaining enchilada sauce on top, and sprinkle with the cheese.

4. Bake in oven until cheese is hot and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Serve with your favorite toppings, like chopped tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, salsa and light sour cream or nonfat plain Greek yogurt.
Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: 3 hours
Per serving: 315 calories, 28g protein, 10.5g fat, 29g carbs, 1g sugar, 3g fiber, 843mg sodium

For more recipes from your favorite stars, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday.

—Ana Calderone, @anacalderone

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