Chicken Enchilada Casserole (with magic sauce)

Chicken EnchiladasYou know you want this for dinner tonight.

Chicken EnchiladasI’ve made many different versions on chicken enchiladas.  All are great, but this one tastes the most like it came from a Mexican restaurant.

Now that you’ve decided what you want for dinner tonight, here’s how to make it happen:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 16-20 corn tortillas (the small ones)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 of chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 cup of salsa or enchilada sauce (I used salsa because I didn’t have enchilada sauce.)
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese (I used 1 cup of cheddar and 1 cup of Monterrey jack.)
  • 1 can green chilies
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1/2 cup of corn (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan on the stove.  Dice the chicken.  When the oil is hot, cook the chicken, 1/2 cup of onion, and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder.

chicken and onionsWhile the chicken cooks, mix together 1 cup of cheese, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup of corn, 1 can of green chilies, 1 tablespoon of cumin, and 1 cup of salsa or enchilada sauce.  

chicken onion and cheese

Add the chicken and onions to the mixture when it is completely cooked.

Layer half of the corn tortillas in a greased 9×13 baking dish.  I put the dish with the layer of tortillas under the broiler until they were just slightly brown on both sides.  I feel like my mom would probably tell me NOT to put a glass baking dish under the broiler…but she wasn’t there…oops. 🙂

Spread the chicken mixture on top of the toasted tortillas.

layer

Cover the mixture with another layer of tortillas. I didn’t toast these.  I figured they would cook enough.  They did.

top layerOk, now it’s time for the magic.  Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan (Yes, I used butter.  It will be ok!).  Add 1 tablespoon of corn starch after the butter melts.  Whisk around for a minute.  Add 3 tablespoons of whole wheat flour.  This makes a kind of paste.  Add 1 cup of chicken broth to the sauce pan.  Stir until thick.  Take the sauce pan off the heat and add 1 cup of Greek Yogurt.  Stir until combined.

Pour the sauce over the top layer of tortillas.  It should completely cover them and drop down under the tortillas a bit.  Sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over the sauce.

sauce over tortillasPut the dish in the oven for 25 minutes.

I got so excited to eat this, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product.  It’s already been partially devoured at this point.

chicken enchilada casseroleI chose to serve mine over a bed of shredded lettuce and a scoop of quinoa that I cooked by following the directions on the package.

quinoaIMG_0980

This dish is seriously good–probably one of my favorites.  As far as calories go, it’s really not that bad.  To reduce calories, reduce the cheese.  That’s really all you would need to do.

As with almost all my recipes, you can add anything you want.  Next time, I might try some black beans in the chicken mixture.  You could also put the mixture into individual tortillas and roll them up in the baking dish.

Just whatever you do, DO NOT mess with the sauce.  Ever.

Cranberry Chicken and Rice: Fail

It sounds really good, doesn’t it?  Yea, I thought so.

It was day three of the eat-only-what’s-in-my-pantry plan, and I found some chicken in the freezer.  I knew that I had read somewhere that you can cook chicken in the crockpot while still frozen.  Just dump it in there.  I was feeling lazy.

I also found a can of cranberries and some brown rice.  Thinking I had also read that you can cook rice in the crockpot the same way–just dump it in–I got lazier.

Chicken Fail

Long story short, I made a ho-hum chicken dinner that tasted as lazy as the effort put into it.  It had great potential when I put it all in the pot.  It looked like it was going to be great!

IMG_0872I even put a frozen corn on top.

IMG_0873

 

I think I let it cook too long.  I have one of those little crockpots that only has and on and off switch.  The chicken was done in a few hours, but the rice needed much longer.  By the time I took it all out at 4 p.m. (about six hours after I turned it on), the chicken was a little dry.  Some of the rice still wasn’t cooked.  Here’s what I dumped in:

  • two chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of chicken brother
  • 1 can of cranberries
  • 1 ear of corn

It was a fail.  I think I could have made it better if I had cooked the rice by itself, added some spices, and paid it all a little more attention while it was cooking.  So I have two questions for you:

  • What is your biggest cooking fail?
  • How would you have changed that recipe?  What did I do wrong?

 

Brussels Sprouts…what?

brussels sprouts

(Extensive research has been done to correctly spell and capitalize brussels sprouts.  I definitely learned something today!) I’ve been seeing brussels sprouts all over Pinterest.  I still get excited when I find out I like a vegetable I once thought … Continue reading

Turkey Enchiladas

Remember those turkey burgers I made the other night?  Well, there was a lot of uncooked meat mixture left over, so I browned what was left to make the enchiladas.

leftover ground turkeyI recommend using the same ingredients in the ground turkey that I used when I made the turkey burgers.  There was a lot of flavor in these enchiladas.  I used:

  • 1 package of corn tortillas (just because they have fewer calories than flour ones)
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 2 jars of salsa
  • 1.5 pounds of leftover ground turkey with the ranch, onion, and spinach mixed in
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I mean, you can use whatever kind of cheese you like!)
  • sour cream
  • 1 can black beans
  • lettuce (optional)

Brown the ground turkey. Drain the turkey.  Put in the taco seasoning and about 1/2 cup of water.  Let it sit for about five minutes.

ground turkey taco meat

Put the hot ground turkey in a bowl with one cup of shredded cheddar cheese and 1 cup of salsa.  Spoon the mixture into a double layer of corn tortillas and roll them up the best you can.  The tortillas will tear, but when the enchiladas cook, you won’t be able to tell they are ripped.  Cover the enchiladas with the extra cup of salsa.

turkey enchiladas

I got about twelve rolled up enchiladas in the 9×13 pan.  You will want to have a few extra because these taste even better as leftovers!

Put the pan in the a 375 degree oven for twenty minutes.  After twenty minutes, cover the top with the other cup of cheese.  Cook for ten more minutes.

turkey enchiladas20131229-192011.jpg

Pretty good.

(Tasty) Turkey Burger and Sweet Potato Family Dinner

My grandfather told a story tonight.

First, you must know that he cleaned–I mean seriously cleaned–my car for me yesterday.  By the visor on the passenger side was a large, brownish reddish splotch.  It was pretty gross.  On the way to work one day, I attempted to chuck my apple core out the window.  I missed.  It hit the inside of my car.  Pretty much exploded.  Rough morning.

After cleaning the car, my grandfather asked me if it was “blood or ketchup.”  Laughing, I told him the tale of the rouge apple.  He told the tale of the rouge firecracker.  Long story short, the firecracker was like the apple.  The explosion occurred between the man and the seat.  Ouch.

We all have a great time when we sit to eat and tell stories.

family dinner20131227-204955.jpg

Spinach Turkey Burgers and Sweet Potatoes

Dinner was pretty easy, but I think everyone enjoyed it.  Here’s what I used:

  • 2 pounds of ground turkey
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1 packet of zesty ranch
  • 1 red onion chopped finely
  • sliced reduced fat provolone cheese
  • whole wheat buns
  • Hamburger toppings (sliced onion, dijon mustard, light mayo, etc.)
  • 6 sweet potatoes (one for each person)

Cook the sweet potatoes at 425 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Click here for some helpful tips on cooking sweet potatoes.

Finely chop the onion.  I used my food processor and pushed pulse until it was the consistency I wanted.  Mix the chopped onion, the ranch packet, and the two cups of spinach into the ground turkey.  It is ok that the spinach leaves are big.  They will be smaller when you cook the turkey.

Use a 1/3 cup scoop to get just the right amount of meat for the burger.  Scoop it out of the bowl and onto a separate plate to prepare to cook.

turkey burger pattiesNow, there are two ways to cook these things.  If you have access to a grill, GRILL THEM.  It makes the burger leaner and won’t smoke up your house.  Tonight, it was cold outside, and my dad wasn’t here to do the whole gas grill thing.  I decided to cook these in a skillet on the stove top.  Not my best decision, but it worked.

Turn the heat to medium/high and cook the burgers on each side for about five minutes.  Make sure they are cooked throughout.  Before you take them off the skillet, melt a piece of reduced fat provolone cheese on top.

turkey burger

They couldn’t even wait for me to take my picture before they started digging in!

Serve the sweet potatoes with whatever you like on top of a sweet potato.  I like salt and sour cream.  My brother ate greek yogurt on top of his, and my grandparents were happy with some butter.  Everyone got what they wanted.

turkey burgers and sweet potato

Finally, there was a little dessert, but that recipe will have to wait for tomorrow.  It’s been a busy day! UPDATE: See the recipe here!

holiday chickpea cookies

Not quite as good as Chipotle…but close!

Here’s a workout to try.  Spend 30-45 minutes on the cardio equipment of your choice.  After the cardio, do 15 minutes of my whatever-you-can-think-of routine.  Basically, set a timer for 15 minutes and change your exercise each minute.  Do push-ups, sit-ups, squats, bicep curls.  JUST KEEP MOVING!

Today, I tried something new. I spent about five minutes rotating in what I will start calling the circle of death.

  1. 20 sit-ups
  2. 10 hip dips on the right side
  3. 5 push-ups
  4. 10 hip dips on the left side

I just went in a circle without resting in between.  It was awesome/awful.  I received a text from a  friend during the process asking what I was doing.  Usually, I don’t take my phone in the gym, but I had it today.  Instead of answering, I sent a picture.  This is how awful/awesome it was:

IMG_0291

When I left the gym, I had to make a Christmas gift run, so by the time I made it back home I was nauseatingly hungry.  I almost stopped at Chipotle on my way home, but then decided I could make my own  salad at home.  By the time I walked in the door, I already had it planned out.  I used:

  • the leftover rotisserie chicken
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • cumin
  • garlic salt
  • lettuce
  • spinach
  • 1/2 cup of canned corn
  • 1/2 cup of black beans
  • 1 tablespoon of sour cream

Put the tomatoes, onion, pepper, cumin, and garlic salt in the food processor and use the pulse button to chop.  I did this because, for some reason, the jar salsa just didn’t sound good to me.  At Chipotle, they always spoon out the pico.  I really like that, so I made my own version.

Homemade Pico

Heat the chicken, the beans, and the corn in the microwave.  Fill a bowl with all the lettuce and spinach you want.

IMG_0295

Top the spinach and lettuce with a few spoonfuls of the salsa mixture.

IMG_0298

Spoon on the beans, corn and chicken and put the sour cream on top!

IMG_0299

Mix it all together.  Take that Chipotle!

Mexican Salad (Chipotle Style)