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Posts Tagged ‘Mexican’

One of my favorite Mexican foods are chicken enchiladas. As I was searching for a good way to make them, I came across several Mexican-style casserole recipes that caught my eye. I was inspired. This is an easy dish that cooks up quickly (especially if you have cooked chicken on your hands) and makes a great weeknight meal. I added one of my favorite Mexican flavors: chipotle. I also added a can of cannellini beans to add some fiber, meaty texture, and fill to the casserole. Another great garnish to have is chopped fresh cilantro and low fat sour cream–add this to the top and you have a complete Mexican meal!

Mexican Chicken Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 1-2 pounds cooked chicken breasts–shredded

    Perfect recipe to use up any leftover crock-pot cooked chicken breasts

  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • approx 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheese–I like to buy the Mexican blend already shredded
  • 1/4 cup tub-style light cream cheese
  • 1 (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce (medium or mild depending on your spice preference)
  • approx. 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese (or use Mexican blend from above)
  • tortilla chips, crushed (enough for a light crunch layer on top); I used multi-grain Tostidos.

To make:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in large nonstick pan over medium/med-high heat. Add onions and canned peppers and cook about 2 minutes, then add garlic and parsley and cook about 1 min longer. Add chicken broth, milk, shredded cheese, cream cheese, and enchilada sauce; stir well.  Stir in shredded chicken and beans; cook 2-5  minutes.

Mexican Casserole Sauce

Remove from heat.

Line bottom of a lightly greased (spray oil) 13×9 or similar dimensions casserole dish with corn tortillas. You can keep the tortillas whole, but I like to cut into fourths to make serving the cooked casserole a bit easier. Layer approx 2 cups of the chicken mixture on top. Repeat the tortilla layer then chicken layer about 2 times, ending with the chicken as the last top layer. Top chicken with last 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and crushed tortilla chips.

Bake in oven for approx 30 minutes. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.Enjoy 🙂 I topped with my favorite salsa, which adds a little extra kick!

A great pairing is to serve with sliced avocado and tomato salad. This casserole would freeze well (leave off the last cheese and chip layer). Cook all the way through then allow to cool completely before freezing in an air-tight container. Add the chip and cheese layer before re-heating in the oven at 350 until warmed through.

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Homemade (mostly) tacos are an easy, quick, cheap option for a weekday meal that are so versatile you could have a different kind almost every day of the week. The basic recipe is tortilla, stuff with your favorite ingredients, roll and eat. This recipe is one that makes a pretty hearty filling that could be used in tacos, quesadillas, or burritos–it just depends on how you want to wrap it 🙂

I haven’t braved the world of making my own tortillas yet, so I turn to white corn tortillas for soft tacos. I like the corn tortilla texture better than the flour personally but the real star of this post is the filling. I have not bought “taco seasoning” in..I cannot remember when. With a few basic ingredients, most of which I bet you already have in your pantry, you can make your own personalized taco seasoning. I like mine smokey and spicy, so the key ingredient for me is smoked Spanish paprika. It is not too hard to find in grocery stores these days, especially in the international food section. This particular brand can be found at Whole Foods.

Another trick you may notice is that (chicken advocates please skip this part) I used canned white meat chicken. Sounds gross and I had to get over the disgust myself–but I find the meat shreds easily and is already cooked so it makes for a (cheap) quick saute and absorbs all of the other flavors perfectly. The meat is not the star of my taco stuffing, so if you are looking for a meat heavy filling–go for “real” chicken, beef, or pork. Alternatively, leave the meat out completely and use black beans, rice, or mushrooms and peppers.

Weeknight Tacos

Ingredients

For the taco filling:

1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (or other meat/veggie option: see note above)

1 cup frozen corn (thawed)

1/2 large white onion, chopped

olive oil

2 cloves garlic, roughly minced

1 can diced tomatoes with peppers (mild, medium, or hot–your preference); drained but reserve the juice

For the Taco Seasoning: 

1 Tbsp smoked Spanish paprika

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cayenne

1 tsp Kosher salt

2 tsp dried oregano

1 Tbsp dried cilantro

ground black pepper to taste

Note: If you do not want to use fresh onion and garlic in the taco filling, add 1 1/2  tsp each of garlic powder and onion powder into the taco seasoning

corn or flour tortillas (smaller size for tacos; larger flour tortillas to use as a burrito or quesadilla)

Toppings (really anything you like, but here are my favorites):

shredded cheese

sour cream

guacamole

salsa

To make:

Start with adding the onions to a large non-stick skillet (on medium high heat) with just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook until tender and beginning to brown then add the garlic and stir. Add the corn, meat, and tomatoes. Stir all ingredients together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, now for the fun part…the seasonings!

My favorite....smokey paprika!

Add the spices: paprika, chili powder, cayenne, salt, pepper, oregano and cilantro. Fresh oregano and cilantro can be used instead, just increase the amount to 1 Tbsp (chopped) of each. If you are using the dry (like I did) gently rub the dried herbs in your hand before adding to help release the flavorful oils from the herbs.

Last but not least....cilantro!

Next step....stir!

After all of the spices are added, gently stir to incorporate well. As you can see I should have used a larger pan 🙂  Lower the head to medium and let the taco filling cook for about 3-5 additional minutes.

Almost done!

You will smell a nice aroma of the spices heating and blending together. If the mixture becomes too dry, add the reserved juice from the canned tomatoes.

Now you’re ready to assemble. To warm the tortillas either heat them in an oven (at 400 degrees) for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side. Another, more dangerous, option is using the burners on a gas oven. This is my preferred technique. First you must overcome your fear of fire (meanwhile take necessary kitchen safety precautions: fire extinguisher handy, large lid/towel to stifle the potential fire, etc.). Turn a burner on medium low heat, just place the tortilla on the burner for about 20 seconds on each side. This will depend on how high you have the flame, so really just watch it and turn it when you feel like it. Turning multiple times really doesn’t do anything except increase your chances of tearing the tortilla. Once it is done on one side you will notice the tortilla puffing up a bit. At that time use tongs (or your hands if you are feeling brave) and flip the tortilla to the other side–again looking for the puffing.

Note: I have only done this with the corn tortillas, but I imagine flour is somewhat similar.

You can keep leftover tortillas in a fancy tortilla warmer or on a baking sheet in the oven at 200 degrees (they will stiffen up a bit if you do this). Or you can just cook to order. I like to have all of my toppings set out before warming the tortillas so that I can just go straight from the burner to a warm plate and start assembling.  Tortilla–>filling–>toppings = Tacos!!

Weeknight Tacos with Homemade Seasoning

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One of my favorite snacks is chips and dip. And the dip of all dips…..Guacamole! Here is a pretty basic and delicious recipe for Guacamole that will be a hit every time. Try this dip with Food Should Taste Good, Jalapeno flavored tortilla chips to add an extra kick!

Guacamole Dip:

Ingredients:

2 ripe Hass avocados (ripe = should give slightly at the ends when pressed with fingers)

1 small shallot, finely chopped (or 1/2 red onion chopped)

Dash of garlic powder (or to taste)

1 tbsp olive oil (optional, but adds a velvety richness to the dip)

Dash of your favorite hot sauce Delicious, healthy snack to enjoy anytime!

2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro (or a pinch  of dried if fresh not available)

Juice from one small lime

1 tbsp Kosher salt

2 plum tomatoes chopped

fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit carefully, then spoon out the flesh and put into a medium-sized mixing bowl (or if you want to be fancy a mortar and pestle).  Mash the avocados slightly (will still be pretty chunky). Add the remainder of the ingredients and mix until well blended.

Alternatively: Leave the tomatoes out of the mix and use as a garnish

Feel free to leave the dip chunky if you like, just make sure all the ingredients are well blended so that each bite is the perfect bite!

Pair with your favorite dipping vessel (chips, veggies, etc.) and enjoy! Recipe serves 1, 2, up to 4–depending on how hungry you are and how much will power you have.

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