Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Arriba, arriba!

Here it is!  The first official installment of Monday Food Fest for 2011!  (I really need to rename this...)
Read here to get the DL on Monday night posts for the coming year.  In short, I’m cooking my way through a cookbook put together by someone at my church.  The good news is that I discovered there are still a few books available for purchase, so if you like the recipes you start seeing here, you can order a cookbook for yourself!  The cookbooks cost only $10.00 plus $2.00 shipping and handling.  If you are interested in ordering one, please email me at bugaboominimrandme(at)yahoo(dot)com and I will give you the ordering information.  (And you’ll help a kid out with his Eagle Project too!)
So, on Sunday night, I was perusing the cookbook for something that seemed relatively easy and economical - I’m trying to ease my way back into this weekly large meal to do since I’ve taken so many weeks off.  I happened upon this:
Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole - submitted by Kevin and Marsha.  
It sounded perfect - with a lot of the ingredients coming from cans (which are cheap) and with a total prep and cook time of approximately 45 minutes to an hour.  Doable.  For my side dish, I chose:
Green Chile Rice - submitted by Mary (which states it is to be served with her sweet pork recipe, also included in the book.  I’m gonna have to check that out.)
And for dessert, I found something Mexican-y to go along:
Easy Churros - also from Kevin and Marsha.
It all looked good, I was pretty excited.  
When putting the casserole together, I was initially pretty nervous about my enchilada sauce.  I got a different kind than I usually do this time, (it was cheaper) and it was PURE LIQUID.  I was pretty positive that it would make the casserole runny and soggy.  I thought I might have to turn it into casserole soup... fortunately, I was wrong!  The corn tortillas soaked it up nicely and all the flavors together... so yumm-o!  mr said it best when he observed, “You know, by outward appearance it seems unimpressive - just a normal casserole - but then you take a bite and it’s phenomenal.”  He was right.  We all loved it.  My big tip:  It’s definitely worth the extra 20 minutes added to your grocery shopping time to find the CORN tortillas, which are - apparently - an endangered species these days.  I almost caved and bought the flour ones - the only ones I could readily find, but at the last minutes I found mini corn tortillas that were perfect and I’m glad I suffered through bug’s lamentations of being sleepy and sick of shopping and having a hangnail and needing to throw up and wanting to go home when I bit into those corn tortillas inside the casserole.  It would have been all wrong with flour.  All wrong.  And no, he didn’t really need to throw up OR have a hang nail.  He’s just overly-dramatic.
So, since this baby is going into our regular rotation FOR SURE and is definitely one of our favorites now, I’ve decided to share the recipe with you.  You’re welcome.
~Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole~
2 C diced chicken
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T chopped fresh Cilantro
Juice from 1 lime
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
1 (4.5 oz) can diced green chile peppers, drained (I used chopped chiles and did NOT drain)
1 (10 oz) can red enchilada sauce
12 (6 inch) corn tortillas (I used 15... use your discretion)
2 C shredded cheese (Mexican blend or similar)
1 (8 oz) container of sour cream
NOTE: I also bought some Mexican Cheese (the kind you can find by the eggs) to crumble over the top.
Preheat the oven to 375.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.  Sauté the chicken with salt, cumin and coriander until the chicken is cooked through.  Transfer this to a medium bowl.  Add the garlic, cilantro, lime juice, black beans, corn, and green chile peppers and stir well.  Spread half of the enchilada sauce over the bottom of an 11x7 inch baking dish (I used 9x13).  Place 6 tortillas, overlapping,  over the sauce.  Spoon half of the chicken mixture on top of the tortillas, sprinkle with half of the cheese, and dot with half of the sour cream.  Spoon the remaining enchilada sauce over the cheese and make another layer of of tortillas.  Layer the remaining chicken mixture over this and cover with aluminum foil.  Cook for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese, dot with more sour cream, and cook uncovered for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Enjoy!
I should have read the Green Chile Rice recipe first before starting dinner, not because it was difficult or anything, but it needed longer to cook than I’d assumed so the casserole was done well before the rice.  But we survived the wait, thank goodness.  The rice was sooooo flavorful!  It wasn’t like rice I’ve had out at Mexican restaurants, but it was every bit as yummy.  It was super fluffy (which I liked better, actually) and had all this salty, lime-y flavor.  Which reminds me, I added a touch of lime to it, which isn’t in the original recipe.  I’d say it’s probably good without it, too.  
And the churros?  Holy cow, people.  At first, I thought about scrapping the idea because dinner was running a little late (thanks to not realizing the rice needed to cook for an hour) and everyone was hungry and I thought the churros would be hard and messy... but I was wrong!  They were easy and... well, still kind of messy.  I totally botched some of them (and have no idea why they kind of EXPLODED in the hot frying oil) but some of them turned out perfectly.  We dusted them with cinnamon sugar, just as the recipe suggests and they were GOOD.  Does anyone frequent Taco Time?  Think their churros, but softer - kind of donut-y - and fatter but not as long.  I totally should have served them with homemade whipped cream and cherry pie filling like Taco Time does, but maybe next time.  My dad (who lived in Mexico for two years) said these were better than any churros he had there.  Woo hoo!  So, due to that simple comment, and my surprise at the ease of making them I’m giving you this recipe, too.  I kind of want to go make them again right now.
~Easy Churros~
2 C water
3 T white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 T veggie oil
2 C all-purpose flour
8 C oil for frying *
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, sugar, salt and 2 T oil.  Bring to a boil and remove from heat.  Stir in the flour until the mixture forms a ball.  Heat oil in deep fryer or deep skillet to 375.  Pipe strips of dough into the hot oil with a pastry bag **.  Fry until golden.  Drain on paper towels.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon to taste.  Roll the churros in the cinnamon sugar and serve warm.

* I didn't actually measure out 8 cups, I just used an entire normal sized jug of corn oil.
** I don’t have pastry bags, but I do have gallon sized ziplocs.  I cut the tip off a bottom corner and put the dough in, then zipped the bag up and squeezed the dough through the hole.  You probably know that trick already.  

And there you have it!  Our version of the Easy Mexican Dinner.  One that WILL be duplicated in the future.  Thanks Kevin, Marsha, and Mary!

Check out the parties I link to below!


Unknown said...

Mmmm all of that looks great :) I can't wait to read all about your adventures through this cookbook!

LP aka A Crafty Southern Chick said...

I'm 6 mos. pregnant with my first kiddo, and have not been liking food too much! Or cooking. But THIS looks SO yummy...thanks for sharing, I can't wait to try!

Melissa said...

That ALL looks so good!

Nancy said...

Making my mouth water! These look so good! I'm a new follower from Katie's Cucina. I would love a follow back!

angie said...

found this through Tatertots & Jello - thanks for sharing! i love black beans so I'm definitely bookmarking this recipe.

Katie said...

Fabulous recipe set again! Love to have Mexican night once a week at our house. I've never made an enchilada casserole but have always wanted too! I will definitely be making this sometime soon. Honestly, I had no idea how easy churros are to make! Next taco night; churros are being made! Thank you for linking up to Katie's Cucina. I featured your recipe set today!


Jami said...

This looks delicious! We love Mexican food, so I'll give it a try. :)

Katie said...

Thanks for adding another great link to A Crafty Soiree. We love enchiladas but I've never made a casserole version. I normally make chicken ones with green sauce but I'd love to expand and try a new version, we love black beans and would probably find yours yummy too!

Jenn said...

Yum!! I was gonna try putting dinner off until 6 but it looks so good i might have to start now (5). Love it! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for linking this up today! :D

Hope you have a great weekend!

Courtney @ {not so homemade} said...

Oooh, these recipes sound SO GOOD! I'm a big mexican food fan. I've never tried to make my own churros before, but I'll bet it's really good!

If you get a chance, I'd love for you to link up to my What's Cooking Wednesday!

Kitty Deschanel said...

Mmmmmmmm! You had me feeling so hungry after reading your casserole recipe - then you threw in those yummy churros!

If you get a chance tomorrow, I'd love for you to link up to my Not "Baaad" blog hop :)

Ginger said...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.....Thanks for linking up to Mad Skills Monday!

Christine - Tutorial Addict :) said...

I made your casserole the other day and the WHOLE FAMILY LOVED IT!!! It was a HIT! Put my normal recipe to shame ;-) Thanks so much for sharing, it's going into the dinner rotation!

Unknown said...

looks fantastic! I love mexican food, I so need to try!

hugs! Kim @ Party Frosting!

Courtney @ {not so homemade} said...

Just wanted to let you know this has been featured this week on What's Cooking Wednesday!

I hope you'll stop by this week and link up more awesome recipes :)

1/19 What's Cooking Wednesday

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