Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pick a Pepper

One time I ate a pepper off of a bush in my Aunt's garden. I wouldn't advise this culinary exploration - ever. It wasn't tasty, it wasn't pleasant and it was probably the hottest thing I have ever experienced on my tastes buds. I didn't snack on the pepper bush because I was hungry or even because someone dared me. I actually downed the pepper because one of my brothers dared my other brother to do so. And as I often have a tendency to do, I stuck my nose where it didn't belong and involved myself in someone else's business. My Dad has often told me, "Bizzy, your plate is full. Worry about what's on your own plate and don't concern yourself with anyone else's plate." And although I know my dear father was speaking in metaphoric terms he couldn't have been more right in this situation. I should have only worried about my own plate and my plate didn't need to have a burning hot pepper bush on it that night.

Did I mention drinking was involved? And I am not talking about the gallon of milk I had to drink to try to subside the burn.

Mexican Chicken Casserole
Adapted from Cooking Light December 1998

  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 2 (4.5-ounce) cans chopped green chiles, divided
  • 1 3/4 pounds skinned, boned chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Pepper Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) tub-style fat free cream cheese
  • 1 (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 10(6-inch) corn tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Combine broth, cayenne, cumin, chili powder, salt 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 and onion;

sauté 3 minutes or until soft. Add reserved cooking liquid, milk, Pepper Jack, 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 cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

After reading the reviews of the original recipe online I decided to doctor it up a bit. Several of the reviewers stated that the casserole could have used a little more flavor so I added the spices into the broth in which the chicken is cooked. This was very good but I found that the tortillas broke apart/dissolved during cooking. Next time I make this I will toast the tortillas first to give them a better shot at survival during the baking process.


Kat said...

Wow, sounds great! Thanks for the recipe I am bookmarking now for future use. And love your wedding pic, you guys are adorable!

Krista said...

This looks yummy!

I've (foolishly) eaten a pepper off of the vine also. Well, I didn't actually eat it. I bit it. As you know, that's enough.

I tried the Saltimbocca of Zucchini recently. Amazing! Thanks for posting about it. I posted it on my blog tonight with a link to Elizabeth's Edible.

Hope you're all settled in to your new place.

Kerstin said...

What a yummy casserole - I love all the cheese on top!

Oh no, did the milk actually help?

Elizabeth said...

Not really, Kerstin

Donna-FFW said...

This casserole dish sounds delicious. Cooking Light has great stuff, Ive only recently started trying their recipes. I may make this and toast the tortillas first like you said! Thanks for the tip.

Gabriela said...

Good one! When I was 5, I ventured out to my grandmother's garden and found a cute little bush with cute little red "berries". So I told my 3 year old sister it was a candy bush and to go ahead and ry one of the red candies. Ever trusting soul that she was, she obediently complied. I remember her mouth wide open as she let out a blood curdling scream and I remember feeling embarrassed only because I got caught! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

teresa said...

Oh these look beautiful! I loved the pepper story, gave me a chuckle!

Anonymous said...

that night was great. This looks yummy. I'm a sucker for anything covered in cheese. Lou

Swedish Mike said...

I like the look of this, definitively something that I'll have to try.

// Mike

LeahLoo said...

I love this recipe, but I found that the tortillas get all soggy and yuck. I decided to try it with tortilla chips....still the same thing. I now make it with rice(to go in the layers) and serve tortilla chips on the side. Delish!