Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Chicken Gets Me Every Time

I don't go to the grocery store hungry.  I know that lesson.  But I do shop once a week, having planned out what we will eat.  My cart is full of makings for breakfast, lunch, dinner, including something for that day's dinner.  But by the time I get to the deli, I start smelling those rotisserie chickens and my mouth starts watering.

I know that it is easy to roast a chicken at home, but that cooked chicken with greasy, golden skin always calls my name.  I throw it into the cart, pick up a package of rolls, grab some steamer vegetables from the freezer section, and dinner is done in five minutes once I get home.  We can usually eat the chicken for dinner, a casserole the next night, and still have chopped, cooked chicken to put in the freezer for dinner later.

This recipe calls from ground beef, but I found that the cooked chicken is just as good.  If you want to add ground beef, use a pound in place of the chicken and brown it with the onions and garlic.  Then, proceed with the recipe.

Frick loves this and asks for "that pasta".  It took me a long time to make the connection.  This is one of those dishes that gets better the longer it sits.  The tortillas become very soft, almost pasta-like.  Left-overs are deadly for breakfast with all the black beans, but I recommend that you try it to start your day.

Quesadilla Casserole
1 lb. ground beef  or 2 c. cooked, chopped chicken
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
2 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce  (Have also made this with salsa when I didn't have tomato sauce.)
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (8 3/4 oz.) whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can (4 1/2 oz.) chopped green chiles, undrained
6 flour tortillas (8-inch)
2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

Brown the beef and onion in a large skillet on medium heat.  Add in garlic when the beef begins to brown.  If using chicken, soften the onions and garlic in skillet and add the chicken to warm.  Add tomato sauce, beans, corn, and green chiles.  Stir in all of the spices, except red pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low; simmer five minutes.  Add red pepper if desired for extra spiciness.  Spread 1/2 c. of the sauce mix on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Top with three of the tortillas, overlapping as needed.  Layer with 1/2 of the remaining sauce mix and 1/2 of the cheese.  Repeat with additional layers.  (I always end with tortilla and cheese on top as the final layer.  That tortilla gets crunchy.) Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until heated through.  Let stand five minutes before serving.



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