Enchilada Casserole

I grew up in the Southwest, eating a lot of Mexican food. As a result, I’m very picky about my Mexican food. However, while I grew up eating a lot of enchiladas, I’m not very good at cooking them! They are time consuming and difficult to get right. This casserole gives you the enchilada-y goodness without the hassle. It’s very simple and very tasty! Thanks to my mom for passing it along to me!

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 1 can nacho cheese soup
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 can sliced olives
  • 1/2 cup chicken bullion or chicken broth
  • corn tortillas

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cube and cook the chicken breasts on the stove top. In a bowl, mix the chicken, enchilada sauce, nacho cheese soup, onion, olives, and chicken broth.

Now you’re going to layer your enchilada casserole like a lasagna. Pour 1/3 of your enchilada mixture into an 8×8 casserole dish, then top with corn tortillas that you’ve torn into bite-sized pieces. Cover that with cheese, then spread another 1/3 of your mixture on top of that. Add a layer of torn-up corn tortillas, the last of the enchi mixture, and lots of cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes. YUM. Enchilada-y goodness without the hassle!

TIPS:
When I’m doing a layered casserole like this, I often find it helpful to pour the liquidy portion of the dish into a large Pyrex measuring cup. That way, I know exactly how much I have, and how much I should use for each layer. I usually use less for the first layer, so I can use more for the last layer, since the liquid will seep down from the top to the bottom. You don’t want to get to the top layer and realize you don’t have enough liquidy stuff left, so err on the side of caution, and use a measuring cup. If you have 3 layers, and 3 cups of liquid, use slightly less than 1 cup for the first two layers, and the rest for the top layer.

Mom says you can use lots of different kinds of meat in this, besides chicken — leftover pulled pork, for example.  Experiment to see what you like best.

You could also add a small can of diced green chilies for a little extra flavor and a hint of heat.

Italian Crusted Smothered Chicken

Easy, quick, and tasty — who could ask for more?

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Italian dressing
  • bread crumbs (they even make Italian herb bread crumbs if you want some extra Italian in your dinner)
  • 3 large mushrooms
  • 3 slices provolone cheese

Marinate your chicken breasts in the Italian dressing. Thirty minutes will do it, but if you have time to give it an hour or two, so much the better.

When you’re just about ready to get started, chop up your mushrooms. Pour some bread crumbs onto a plate. Heat some oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the mushrooms, then stir them around really well to get them coated, then push them to one side of the skillet to leave room for the chicken. Add a little more oil in the empty side of the skillet. While the mushrooms are beginning to cook, bread your chicken breasts in the crumbs and place them in the skillet, top side down.

Cook the chicken for about 7 minutes on that side, then flip and cook for about another 3 minutes. You’ll be wanting to move your mushrooms around a little during this. After you’ve flipped and cooked your breasts for another 3 minutes, scoop the mushrooms onto the breasts and cover with the provolone cheese. I found it took 3 slices to completely cover the chicken and mushrooms. Now, cover, reduce heat SLIGHTLY and cook for another 3 minutes.

Make sure your chicken is done, either with a meat thermometer, or by cutting into the thickest part of the chicken and making sure it isn’t all pink inside.

This goes well with any of the veggies I’ve previously posted. Tonight it was served with Brussels sprouts.

Squash Boats

So, WIC thinks we need to eat more beans, apparently. I’m not a big fan, but I didn’t need four more cans of chickpeas, so we got a couple different kinds and I was determined that I would find something tasty to do with them. This is what I came up with for the pinto beans (I also needed to use up my last squash!).

  • 1 large yellow squash
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can sliced olives
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes (if you don’t like spicy, just sub regular diced tomatoes)
  • olive oil
  • garlic

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

First, slice the squash in half down the center (so that they’re still round). Then slice them down the middle and scoop out the meaty part, leaving the rind intact. Drain the olives and tomatoes, and drain and rinse the beans. Dice the onion. In a bowl, combine the squash meat with the other veggies.

Once you have everything in the bowl, drizzle with olive oil, add some minced garlic, and mix well. Now brush some olive oil on the inside of the squash rinds, or boats. Scoop the veggie mix into the boats and bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on how well done you like your squash.

As long as your squash is not shaped oddly, you should be able to get 4 boats out of one squash. You will have lots of veggie mix left over, so you could either use more squash to make more boats, or do what I did — I used the extra to cover some chicken legs and wings and baked them for about 45 minutes. I won’t lie, though; the chicken was juicy and good, but not the high point of this dinner — the veggie mix was!

The next time I make this, I am going to add some herbs and other stuff to the olive oil. Maybe cilantro, maybe dill, probably some lemon juice…I haven’t decided yet. And definitely a little bit of corn.

Chicken, Asparagus, and Garlic Bread

This one is pretty easy and quick.

You will need:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Lemon juice
  • Seasonings
  • Butter
  • Cheese (preferably something like Monterrey Jack)
  • Asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Cheese (preferably something like grated Parmesan or finely grated Italian cheese)
  • Italian bread
  • Garlic spread

Marinate your chicken breasts in lemon juice and seasonings — I used garlic and herb seasonings — Mrs. Dash — for however long you want. I think I let mine marinate for about 2 hours, but I had to go take a nap with Elliott. 😉

Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a pan and brown your chicken breasts at high heat for just a couple minutes. Then turn the heat way down and cover them and let them steam/simmer while you do everything else. All told, they should probably cook for at least 15-20 minutes this way, but cut into the thickest part of one of them to make sure it’s not still pink before you serve.

Heat the oven to Broil.

While your chicken breasts are steam/simmering, get out your asparagus. This is really easy. Simply snap the asparagus where it wants to snap, and you won’t end up with those tough stringy ends. Then put all your asparagus in a Ziploc bag and put in some olive oil. Shake to coat all the stalks with oil. Then arrange them on a rack on top of a roasting pan.

Before cooking the asparagus, I prepare my bread. Just slice off the amount of bread you want, and then cut it lengthwise. Spread your butter/garlic spread on it (I cheat and buy the one from Wal-mart or Kroger). Because I only have one set of racks, and I’m using those for the asparagus, I just put the bread on a sheet of aluminum foil.

Put the asparagus and the bread under the broiler for just a couple of minutes — it really does not take long, and you don’t want to overdo it, because overdone asparagus is a bit gross, and you don’t want charcoal bread. For me, tonight, I checked the bread after 4 minutes or so, and it was perfect, so I pulled it out and then checked the asparagus. It was done too — but I like my veggies pretty crisp.  If you like yours softer, of course you’ll want to leave the asparagus in a little longer — but not too long!

When you put the asparagus and bread in, cover the chicken breasts with their cheese and put the lid back on.

When you pull the asparagus out, spray it with lemon juice and sprinkle it with cheese while it’s still warm. Serve right away, because cold asparagus just isn’t as good.

Easy easy dinner, and very tasty. Even our son has loved this asparagus since he was only a year old!

Thanks go to my mom for the asparagus recipe, and for teaching me that garlic bread does not live in the freezer!

Chicken Not-Quite Caprese

So, the other night I was in a bit of an embarrassing spot. I had proudly announced I was going to make Chicken Caprese (Caprese Salad needs grape tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil), and when I went to prepare it, my mozzarella was moldy. What was I going to do? Well, I had everything else I needed, and some shredded cheese…

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • flour
  • bread crumbs plus salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • shredded cheese
  • grape tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • basil

I like to prepare the Caprese salad early, so that the tomatoes (and usually mozzarella) have a chance to soak up the flavors. Cut up your tomatoes, put them in a Ziploc bag, and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil. Place in the fridge until you need them. I did mine about an hour before I was ready to cook dinner.

Heat some olive oil in a skillet. Coat the chicken breasts in flour, then dredge in egg and coat with the seasoned bread crumbs, pressing them into the bread crumbs to thoroughly coat. Place into the heated oil and cook on medium heat about 7 minutes, then flip them. Cook for about 3 minutes, then sprinkle shredded cheese on them, cover and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Either use a meat thermometer (temperature should read 170 degrees), or cut into the thickest part of the breast to make sure they’re done.

Once the breasts are done, place them on their plates and spoon the Caprese salad (in this case, just marinated tomatoes) over the chicken.

It really is quite tasty, even if it’s Not-Quite-Caprese. 🙂 My husband wants it again, anyway.