Chicken Enchilada Casserole

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Guys, guys. Yesterday night I perfected a recipe that my friend Claire and I came up with as an on-the-fly, clean out the pantry maneuver. Chicken enchilada casserole. NOM.

I used a bunch of fresh herbs, because I have a fantastic phenomenal boyfriend who lovingly put together an herb garden for me, but I think it would be just as good using dry ones. Recipe follows, just try not to start drooling on your keyboard. I’d like to preface all this by saying that it makes a huge casserole. I could have easily fed 8 very hungry people, but instead my boyfriend and I have a lot of leftovers for the week—which I always consider a win!

I wasn't able to get a great picture, it got eaten really fast!

I wasn’t able to get a great picture, it got eaten really fast!

  • 2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can green chille peppers
  • 1 brick of shredded spicy monterey jack cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 box couscous (1 1/3 cups), prepared according to box instructions
    • Optional: I added some fresh oregano, thyme and minced garlic while it was simmering
  • 12 oz. enchilada sauce (I buy mine at Trader Joes and that’s the only size it comes in)
  • Taco seasoning or make your own by adding the following ingredients in a measuring cup then filling it with water to the ½ cup mark. Note: this will be less than ½ cup liquid since the volume of the spices will take up a noticeable amount.
    • 1 tbs chili powder
    • 2 tsp cayenne
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • Salt and pepper
  1. Soften the diced onions in a large pan and then add the chicken and taco seasoning.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the couscous to your liking.
  3. In a very large bowl, combine the prepared couscous, chicken, corn, black beans, chille peppers and all but ~3 oz. of the enchilada sauce. Slowly mix in most of the shredded monterey jack so that you don’t end up with huge clumps of it melted. Leave enough to sprinkle on top of the casserole.
  4. Spread out in large baking dish, then sprinkle remaining jack and cheddar cheese; then drizzle the remaining enchilada sauce over the casserole.
  5. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Makes about 8-10 servings.

Feastly Fun – Part One

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For those of you who are wondering what Feastly is, let me tell you. It’s this wonderful website that connects people who love being a part of new dining experiences with those who love to cook for others. It’s so much more than going to a restaurant because you actually have the option of dining in either a cook’s home, a farm, a park, a warehouse, and so on. Think daily dinner parties with various settings where you’re constantly meeting new people and tasting amazing food. Sounds intriguing, right?

I’ve been hooked on this concept since last year and finally took the plunge towards hosting my first dinner. As you can imagine, I’m pretty much jumping out of my skin with excitement. The theme is “An Ode to Smitten Kitchen”. Both Naomi and I are guilty of loving just about everything that comes across Deb Perelman’s blog. If I ever meet her, I just might pass out (after getting her to sign her cookbook for me, of course). The dinner’s taking place on Monday August 16th at 6:30pm at my residence. The menu and other information can be found by clicking here. If you’re interested, purchase a seat and come join me!

In other news, the personal chef service is slowly but surely starting to kick off :-). One client gained, 3 more to go! By mid-fall, I should be sitting in a content place, if not before. My current client is gluten and dairy-free and so far it’s been a blast cooking for her. While I’ve known what restrictions come with gluten and dairy allergies, I never actually had to cook for someone who actually had those allergies until now so it presented an awesome challenge. It definitely allows you to get more creative with ingredients and substitutes. Take for instance, this vegan lasagna: zucchini “noodles”, tomato and red pepper marinara sauce with squash, onions, mushrooms, and herbs, and soft tofu with lemon, salt, pepper, and lots of fresh herbage. I’m not vegan but I’d eat this. Just needs some ground turkey or beef. The “noodles” were so simple to make, too. You just take a zucchini and peel away it vertically to make strips. This can be done to zucchini and yellow squash. Add spaghetti squash to that and you’ve got yourself a slammin’ pasta substitute.

Clockwise left to right: chicken breast with garlic herb "cream" sauce, Mongolian beef with jasmine rice, lamb stew, and vegan lasagna.

Clockwise left to right: chicken breast with garlic herb “cream” sauce, Mongolian beef with jasmine rice, lamb stew, and vegan lasagna.

The chicken dish had a creamless “cream sauce”: herbs, garlic, shallots, and unflavored almond milk thickened with a slurry. I have to admit, that was pretty tasty as well. Cooking for someone with a severe allergy has definitely opened my eyes to alternatives that work just as well, if not better. As much as I love pasta, cream, butter, and cheese, I might try to implement one of these into what I cook at home for me and the hubs. I’m a strong believer of having what I want in moderation, but it also definitely wouldn’t hurt to go just a bit healthier with some things.