The Keeper's Kitchen, June 2016
Author: Jaim al'Bearach
It’s that time of year again, May, a wonderful month, heading into Summer, Spring is about done and the weather is picking up. It’s also that time of year when we celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Now, as some of you probably know, the Keeper is a huge fan of Mexican food, in fact I swear she’s part Mexican! So what better time of year to have some cold cerveza (me) and a delicious Mexican bake?
When you have a family as large as mine, you have to think ahead and plan things out. One of the things I love to do is make meals ahead of time so they can be reheated. It saves me time on week nights when there’s not enough time to really fire up the Keeper's Kitchen. The recipe we’re making today does exactly that. In addition it’s super tasty, very versatile and easy to make.
First up, the ingredients list:
- 5 large chicken breasts
- 3 Peppers
- 3 Onions
- 1 tin diced tomato
- 3 tins of mixed beans
- 3 tins of chicken soup
- Taco seasoning
Cook time is about 35 minutes.
NOTE: I used chicken breast which is more expensive; you can use chicken thighs if you prefer. Also, this makes about 15 portions, which is enough for 3 meals for us. So just dial back the recipe quantity if you prefer less – though it freezes great and reheats well!
Alright, so first step is preparation. With all things, if you get everything ready in advance, it makes cooking it easier. So we want to slice our peppers and onions and dice our chicken into nice sized pieces. You can cut the chicken into strips as well if you like.
Alrighty, now we have everything ready to go, lets cook it all up!
First add some oil to your roasting dish, or dutch oven. I’ve used both to cook this, and they work very well! Once the oil is hot, we want to add the chicken in and start to brown it. So we will stir it around over a medium high heat for about 5 minutes.
Once your chicken starts to brown, you can add in the sliced veggies. Again you have options here. I like onions and peppers, but its not something everyone likes. If you like a little heat, you could roast a couple of poblano peppers and add those. Just place them over open flame on your stove, turning them until the skin is black, then cool in ice water, remove the skin, and dice, remove membranes and seeds. This will give a great flavor and some mild heat to the dish.
Anyway, back to the recipe! Stir the onions and peppers into the chicken and continue to cook for about another 7 minutes.
As the veggies begin to cook, you can either cook them less to have crisper veggies or longer to have more soft veggies. I like it both ways honestly. So however you want to do it.
Now, we’ve reached the phase where we add in additional ingredients. So we want tomatoes and beans added, as well as the taco seasoning. You’ll want enough seasoning to go with however much meat you have used.
As you can see it’s all starting to come together nicely. It looks like a Mexican bake and it smells great. Continue to stir everything around your roasting dish and we’ll add in the chicken soup. This serves as some liquid, but also for flavor to the dish. You could use plain old chicken stock as well. The choice is yours.
After the soup/stock has been added its time to stir it in and let things cook for another 5 minutes or so. If you’ve done everything as the recipe states, you should have something looking like this.
Ok, so basically we’re done at this point. Everything is ready to serve up. Or in my case divide up and get ready for freezing. I like to use baking dishes that will let me get 15 servings out of this batch of bake.
Once I divide it up, it looks like this:
So, here’s what I like to do with these. If I am freezing them, I wrap them in clear wrap and tin foil then freeze. They’ll be good for a couple of weeks. Reheating is 350F for about 40 minutes. Works great.
If you’re serving straight away, top with cheese and have sour cream, guacamole, and maybe some jalapenos on the side. If you like tortillas, you can use those.
So, happy Mexican food, enjoy and have fun – until next time at the Keepers Kitchen.
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