Friday, August 20, 2010

Mexican Chicken Casserole

112º in the shade is hot... darn hot.  As our last few days of summer vacation tick away, we are enjoying this darn hot weather sitting by a pool in Palm Springs.  The condos at Shadowridge have full kitchens and my friends and I have produced a couple of amazing meals in lieu of eating out. 

The day of our arrival our travel companions gave us an excellent meal.  I actually think they felt sorry for me after my 4½ hours of school registrations before our 2 hour drive to the desert!  I was beyond extraordinarily thankful to be greeted with a tasty, tropical, rum concoction reminiscent of our vacation together a few years earlier at Atlantis in the Bahamas.  This was quickly followed by bean dip, a mouth watering pasta casserole (blog post coming soon!), grilled chicken and a rubbed tri tip. 

The next evening brought my turn to cook in the desert.  Planning ahead, I timed the purchase of my avocados perfectly as they ripened on the correct day for my husband's special request of homemade guacamole.  His favorite Mexican Casserole had been assembled at home and frozen for simple, pop into the oven preparation.  Our favorite side of this summer, Cilantro Lime Corn, was easy to toss together by pre-grilling the corn and poblano peppers at home, leaving the ingredients ready to be stirred together at the last minute.  Angie's amazing Tomato Onion Salad, and a pot of creamy refried beans rounded out our dinner.  Ah... not to forget Michelle's (The Brown Eyed Baker), decadent Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats (blog post on that one coming soon too!).

With the southwestern flavors of this Mexican Casserole mixed together and topped with a dollop of sour cream, guacamole and diced tomatoes, then lightly sprinkled with a heaping spoonful of crushed tortilla chips, this recipe has become one of our most repeated.  Preparing and freezing beforehand makes it very portable and easy for weekends out of town or simply that quick, "I need something from the freezer" evening.  The addition of extra vegies and a can of black beans added a bit of variety to the casserole, making it almost a full meal in a bowl. 

Three short days remain of summer vacation... I'm really not ready to face the gauntlet of papers, volunteer requests and loss of my kids again as the school year ramps up.  Having them home during this all too brief summer break has been a true gift.  Time is moving far too quickly... my baby boy is becoming a man.  He is already 5 inches taller than I am and really doesn't need Mommy any more.  My daughter is entering Middle School and I know that she will begin her transition from little girl to pre-teen over these next few months and will quickly become that full fledged teenager.  We have one more day here in the desert...  I plan to enjoy each and every moment!!

Mexican Casserole
adapted from Cooking Light

1  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2  (4.5-ounce) cans chopped green chiles, divided
3  skinned, boned chicken breasts
2  teaspoons  olive oil
1  cup  chopped onion
1  cup chopped red peppers
1 cup corn (fresh, canned or frozen)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1  cup  evaporated skim milk
¼  cup  (2 ounces) tub-style light cream cheese
1  (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce
12  (6-inch) corn tortillas
Cooking spray
½  cup  (2 ounces) shredded cheese (Mexican blend, cheddar, jalapeño jack, or other cheese of your choice)
1  ounce  tortilla chips, crushed (about 6 chips)

Combine broth and 1 can of chiles in a large skillet; bring to a boil. Add chicken; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until chicken is done, turning chicken once. Remove chicken from cooking liquid, reserving cooking liquid; cool chicken. Shred meat with two forks, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 can of chiles, onion and red pepper; sauté 3 minutes or until soft. Add black beans, corn and reserved cooking liquid, cook until heated through.  Add milk, cream cheese, and enchilada sauce; stir well. Stir in shredded chicken; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place 4 tortillas in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Spoon 2 cups chicken mixture over tortillas. Repeat layers twice, ending with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese of your choice and chips. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


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  2. Wow that looks delightful..loving the first pic with the avocado in it !!

  3. This sounds great, nice and easy! Enjoy your vacation and all that sunshine!

  4. That looks great!! Love the pic of the avocado, yum! Enjoy your day! :)

  5. That casserole looks amazing! I bet the flavors were outstanding.

  6. now that casserole sounds delicious! I love the plate especially the watermelon garnish, it looks perfect!
    They do grow up too fast, leaving us wondering where the time went.

  7. This sounds great! I love all the ingredients in this recipe, thanks so much!

  8. Great idea to prep food in advance for a vacation. The location looks absolutely beautiful! Your meal looks and sounds delicious as well. Funny thing is that I, too, plan to make Cilantro Lime Corn, though I believe my recipe is different. Still, so happy another foodie loves this dish, which makes me more excited to try it! Hope you enjoy the rest of your time on vacation!

  9. That looks so delicious, very colorful too!

  10. How insanely delicious this is! Very hearty too. It sounds like you're enjoying every minute of your vacation!

  11. That sounds like a great casserole. Nice presentation, I espically like the watermelon, nice colors.

  12. Those are some amazing pictures. You've made me want watermelon and avocado now. The casserole looks very yummy too.

  13. This looks really awesome!

  14. What a delicious looking meal, thanks for sharing!


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