Sunday, October 31, 2010

Real World Cooking - Here we go again...

So the thing about the real world is that you don't always have the right ingredients or the time to do what you really want to do in the kitchen.  In the real world, today is Halloween.  And since this Halloween fell on a Sunday aka "a school night" I wanted to eat dinner before we went trick-or-treating.  I wanted something simple, tasty and reheat able.  I also would like to pretend that it's fall outside and not 83 degrees right now.

With all those factors in mind I settled on a Texas favorite - King Ranch Chicken.  Now, typically, K.R.C. is not the most low-cal, healthy casserole you can eat, but with a little tweaking it's easy to make it something you can have when the occasional urge hits.  I also decided I would make Mini King Ranch Chicken Casseroles - individual servings ready to go!

So I started with a store bought deli roasted chicken.  This is one of those great time savers that is worth the cost.  You generally won't pay but $1.00 more for the roasted chicken than you would for the raw one from the meat department, but you save a ton of time by having this ready to rock and roll.

You can see that you get quite a bit of meat from this little bird.  I'm going to use about 1 1/2 cups of chicken and this bird's generously provided about twice that.  I'm thinking chicken salad for lunches this week....I diced up the chicken into bite sized pieces, making sure I had about 1 1/2 cups ready to go.

Next, I diced a small onion and 1 green bell pepper and sauteed them over medium heat.

Once they'd cooked about 4 or 5 minutes I tossed in the cut chicken, 1/2 of a can of the healthy version of cream of chicken soup, 1/2 a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (Rotel!), 1/4 tsp of chile powder, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, some salt and pepper.

They all got mixed together well and heated through.

Next I cut about 6 corn tortillas into strips 1" wide.  I also sprayed the inside of my 7oz green Le Creuset ramekins with some Pam.

Now comes the fun part!  I started layering.

1st - corn tortilla....

2nd - chicken mixture....

3rd - grated cheddar cheese...

Then you repeat the layers one more time and your ramekins are full and look like this -

At this point, you can either bake your casseroles or you can cover and refrigerate them.  If you're ready to bake them, put them on a baking sheet, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then bake the Mini King Ranch Chicken Casseroles for 18-20 minutes or until they're nice and bubbly.  Dinner!!!

Individual King Ranch Chicken Casseroles
Serves 6

1 small onion, diced
1 small bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken breast
1/2 can cream of chicken soup (reduced fat works great here)
1/2 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (such as Rotel)
1/4 tsp chile powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
6 corn tortillas (6")
4 oz 2% cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sautee onion and bell pepper over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.  Add the chicken, cream of chicken soup, diced tomatoes with green chiles, chile powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Mix well and heat through.

Cut the tortillas into 1" strips.  Spray the inside of 6 - 7oz ramekins with cooking spray.  Layer tortilla strips, 1/4-1/3 cups chicken mixture then a bit of cheese.  Repeat the layers ending with a filled ramekin. Place all 6 ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the casseroles are bubbling.

Calories 123, Fat 4g, Carbs 7g, Protein 14 g

Oh...and Happy Halloween!!!


miss tejota said...

I'm loving these gluten free options. Thanks!

Carole said...

This sounds yummy! I've now had to start eating a gluten free diet - not sure the soup is gluten free, but I'll have to see how I can create my own.