mexican chicken casserole goes to college

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Mexican Chicken Casserole

Okay, this is pretty simple. So simple that the pictures can do most of the talking!

Because I was only making enough for my son to take to his apartment, I didn’t use as much chicken or other ingredients. I used a small-ish casserole dish. It measures about 7×10-inches.

I started by putting a little olive oil on the bottom of the casserole dish.

Then, a layer of crushed tortilla chips:

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About 2/3 of a can of black beans (drained and rinsed): *I could have used the whole can, but decided this looked like enough.*

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About 2 cups of frozen corn:

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In a large plastic zipper bag, I combined 1/4 cup flour with the following taco seasoning spices:

  • cayenne
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • paprika
  • oregano
  • sugar
  • salt

*If you want this to be gluten-free, omit the flour.*

Since this is being made into a casserole, I cut 2 large chicken breasts into pieces. These pieces were tossed in the flour and spice mixture, then placed in the casserole dish:

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On top of the chicken went about 1 cup of salsa:

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Then more crushed tortilla chips on top:

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I put a few bits of butter on top (about 2 tablespoons total) or I could have drizzled 2 tablespoons of olive oil. I covered with foil then baked at 350F for 30 minutes. After that time was up, I removed the foil then continue to bake for 10 minutes. Then I removed it from the oven and topped with an additional cup of salsa and a few handfuls of Mexican cheese. This was returned to the oven for about 5-10 minutes, until the cheese melted.

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I then removed it from the oven and admired the glorious melted cheese!

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I waited for this to cool a little while, then divided it into 4 equal sections. Each one was put into a freezer-safe container.

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Now he has 4 dinners ready to go!

latin chicken — again

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Shortly after starting this blog I posted the recipe for Latin chicken. It’s a great meal and one of my favorites. Because this recipe was posted when the blog was new and had only a small handful of followers (2? 3?), I thought I’d post it again.

So, here is the recipe again, with a few additional photos. Please try this recipe! Seriously, it is sooooo good!

*Note: I always, always, always make this with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but I goofed and purchased boneless, skinless chicken breasts last week. I prefer this recipe with the thighs, though it was still very good made with white meat.

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Latin Chicken (with black beans and sweet potatoes)

1. In crock pot (slow cooker), combine:

  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3-4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

2. In a plastic zipper bag combine the following:

  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

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Add a small amount of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over med-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned on both sides; about 5 minutes. Place chicken in crock pot on top of beans and sweet potatoes.

3. Lower the heat, and in the same pan whisk together:

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin

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Pour this mixture over the black beans, sweet potatoes, and chicken in the crock pot.

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Cook on high for about 5 hours.

When serving, squirt fresh lime over each serving and sprinkle on chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.

latin chicken

taco salad

My plan for dinner tonight was taco stew. While the onions and a few scallions were cooking in the oil I gathered the other necessary ingredients, starting with enchilada sauce. Well wouldn’t you know I am completely out of enchilada sauce. This astounds me, because I typically purchase at least one can each week at the grocery story. Or, I did, at one point, but then had such a stash that I stopped doing so. But I really didn’t think I’ve used them all up, yet the absence of enchilada sauce on my pantry shelves proves otherwise.

While searching frantically in the pantry, I took many items out thinking the enchilada sauce might be hiding behind bulky items. I found half a package of taco shells. Some really nice organic yellow corn taco shells that I had forgotten I had.

Hmmmm… this got me thinking. I could switch from taco stew to tacos. Sure! That would work.

But I didn’t want tacos, mainly because I get frustrated when the taco shells break at the first bite.

Okay, the other ingredients could be a salad and the broken taco shells can go on top…. voila! … taco salad!

After eating a large bowl of this salad, I was shocked that I don’t make this more often. So good. So easy. Ridiculously simple. I will be putting this meal into the rotation more often. And I will be adding enchilada sauce to my grocery list … for next time!

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Taco Salad

In a skillet saute chopped onions and scallions in olive oil or canola oil. Add 1 pound ground turkey breast and cook through.

Add a few tablespoons of taco seasoning.

Lower the heat and add about 1/2 cup salsa. Stir well.

Drain 1 can black beans, and add to the skillet. Stir well and cover.

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In a bowl start with cleaned and chopped romaine lettuce.

Add chopped tomatoes.

Add a large scoop of the meat and bean mixture.

Crush one taco shell and put that in the bowl.

Top it all off with shredded Mexican cheese and a scoop of sour cream.

Enjoy… dinner is done!

bean soup

*To see my most recent bean soup recipe, please click here.

 

For our Easter meal I serve ham. Each year, sometime in the week after Easter, I make bean soup. That’s because serving a ham at Easter results in a ham bone that must be made into soup or my mother will cut me out of her will (she’s got a thing about making soup from bones).

*Note: There aren’t many measurements in the recipe below, and I’ve found that is typical for many soup recipes. In my opinion, the quantities of individual ingredients just don’t matter when making soup. For the items that do have quantities listed, those are there based on what I used while making this soup today, but please know they can be adjusted as you’d like.

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Bean Soup

The night before you plan to make this soup, soak 2 cups (a 16 ounce bag) of dried navy beans in a large bowl with cold water. Other types of beans can be used, if desired.

The next morning, remove any shells. Drain.

In a large stock pot, place the beans and the ham bone and all remaining ham (I leave it in large chunks at this time).

Add cold water to come well above the ham bone.

To the pot also add 1 onion, chopped, and lots of celery, chopped. Also, as many garlic cloves as you like, chopped.

Season with lots of black pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Also add about 1 tablespoon dried mustard, if desired.

Simmer for hours, stirring every once in a while.

After it’s been simmering for at least 3 hours, take out the ham bone and large chunks of ham. Cut all ham into bite size pieces and return them to the soup pot.

At this time add some shaved cabbage and chopped carrots. Also, peel and cube 2 sweet potatoes (or white potatoes) and add them to the pot.

Cover and continue to simmer for a few more hours.

This soup is fine the day you make it, but I find the flavor is even better the next day. And it freezes well too.

salsa beans

Another side dish that I like to accompany the enchiladas is this one. It’s pretty basic, but I like it much better than plain black beans.  And if there are leftovers of both the beans and the Spanish rice, I’ll mix them together for lunch the next day. Just stir, heat, and add a spoon of sour cream and/or a sprinkle of shredded cheese. Yummy and filling.

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Salsa Beans

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup salsa (I use a spicy roasted chipotle salsa)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cilantro

Stir together all ingredients in sauce pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir well and reduce heat. Simmer at least 10 minutes.

To serve, top with a spoonful of sour cream, a small amount of shredded cheese and a sprinkle of cilantro, if desired.

Note: Depending on how many I’m serving, and whether or not I want leftovers, I often double the recipe.

latin chicken

latin chicken

I grew up thinking black beans were yukky. My mom hardly ever made them, possibly because out of our family of eight, only two or three would eat beans. She didn’t bother wasting her time cooking something that only a few would eat. It wasn’t until I made this crock pot meal that I realized black beans could be yummy.

My husband loves all foods, and strives to eat beans of all sorts. That’s hard for me since I didn’t enjoy eating beans, but for him I attempt new recipes that feature beans. When I first saw this recipe, posted on a message board by a friend, I knew my husband would like it, so I gave it a try. While tasting it to make sure the spices were right, I realized I liked it. A lot. And it had black beans! Wowza…. black beans could be tasty… who knew! (Okay, many people knew … and now I do as well!)

The recipe originated from Good Housekeeping, I believe, but has been changed a bit not just by the friend who first posted it, but in my trials with it. This is the version I make. Awesome for a cold winter day.

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Latin Chicken (with black beans and sweet potatoes)

1. In crock pot (slow cooker), combine:

  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3-4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

2. In a plastic zipper bag combine the following:

  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

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Add a small amount of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over med-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned on both sides; about 5 minutes. Place chicken in crock pot, on top of the beans and sweet potatoes.

3. Lower the heat, and in the same pan whisk together:

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin

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Pour this mixture over the chicken, sweet potatoes, and black beans in the crock pot.

Cook on high for about 5 hours.

When serving, squirt fresh lime over each serving and sprinkle in chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.