Friday, August 21, 2009

When you are feeling lazy...casserole it!

One of our favorite dinners is enchiladas. I could make them everyday and K-man would be dancing like Gene Kelly around here. Even when I tell him what's for dinner during the week, it's the day that enchiladas are made that he tells me that he was thinking about them all day at work. I guess I am doing something right!?

But let's be honest here, there are some family favorites that are a bit messy and/or time consuming. Enchiladas are one of those dinners I am talking about.

Here's how I cut some time:

1. Roasted Chickens on sale each Sunday at Harris Teeter for 4.99 = already cooked, just de-bone and shred.

2. I didn't have fresh corn tortillas around but I did have leftover tostadas to use up. It is essential to have CORN flavor. Even if you have to use leftover tortilla chips!

3. In order to soften the crunchy tostadas, you must have lots of salsa....THE GOOD STUFF, buy fresh not the jarred, room temperature, cooked junk. This cuts down from all the chopping of fresh veggies you want in your enchiladas. Find it in the refrigerated section of your grocery!

4. Make sure you have plenty of enchilada sauce for the tostadas to soak up!

5. Lots of your favorite shredded cheese!

Let's go shopping:

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

2 cups pre-made roasted chicken, de-boned, skinned and shredded (use whole chicken if using 13X9)
16 oz container of FRESH salsa
CORN! (either corn tortillas, tortilla chips or tostadas - not FLOUR, you need the 'corny' taste, people)
2 cups shredded cheese (I've been using Fat Free to make it healthier for us), divide into 3 piles.
15 oz. (29 oz if you are making a 13X9 sized pan) Enchilada Sauce
1 cup sour cream (we use the light version)
Chopped avocados

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

1. Spray your pan with non cooking spray. The casserole dish I used was 1 qt or 6X9 (don't ask me....I acquired it from mom probably circa 1970) you can double this for a 13X9 size if you like.

2. Pour about 1/4 of the can of enchilada sauce on the bottom. Just enough to cover the bottom.

3. Layer your CORN choice on the sauce. If one layer of corn tortillas, cut them in half if you need to get them to fit better. If doing chips/tostadas: cover the bottom as best as you can....don't worry about how high and uneven the chips are (we'll take care of that later).

4. Place half of the container of salsa on the layer of chips....spread gently as you can without making holes among the chips. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese on the salsa, then all of your 2 cups of chicken.

5. Now, take your hands and gently press down to hear a lovely CRUNCH. This way all the chips are coming in contact with the wet sauce and salsa.

6. Sprinkle with another 1/3 of the cheese then the remaining salsa. Top with the last layer of tortillas (if using the dry ones...lay palms on it and crunch gently.

7. Pour all the remaining sauce on top and around the edges. Cover with foil or if your casserole has a glass top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Turn off oven and place last 1/3 of cheese and put back into the oven to melt the cheese only and remove to set while you get your plates ready. You know, getting out the sour cream, chopping the avocados.

Cut slightly cooled casserole into portions and top with dollop of sour cream and avocados. Include a sprig of cilantro if you wish.


For those of you who may have had a 'naked' preview of this post yesterday with no pix or recipe...sorry about that. Clearly I was 'out to lunch'!


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