Monday, March 4, 2013

What's Cooking: Recipes for Chicken Enchiladas, Chopped Salad, and Smoothies

I promise I have no intention of becoming a cooking blog, but since posting my March 2013 Monthly Meal Plan last week, I've had several requests for some of my recipes.  So I hope to occasionally share them with you so that you can use them in your own meal planning, too.  Know that I rarely make meals that take longer than 30 minutes to prepare or that require fancy ingredients.  Neither are practical to our lifestyle, so I try to make choices that are both financially and nutritionally reasonable for our family.

First off, tonight's dinner is chicken enchiladas.  This is a super easy recipe (most of mine are) and one my mom made often while we were growing up.  It's also an easy freezer meal, so plan on doubling your ingredients and making a pan to freeze.  (Note, if you're a "spicy Mexican food lover" this recipe is not ideal for you.  You'll want to add some flare!)

Chicken Enchiladas
4 c. diced, uncooked chicken (or a 28 oz. can of deboned chicken)
1/2 c. diced onions
1 1/3 cups milk
2 tsp. (2 cubes) chicken bouillon
1 can cream of chicken soup
10 flour tortillas (I prefer the taco or fajita size..can also use whole wheat)
1 package of shredded cheese (I prefer mozzarella)

Optional fixings:
Lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, salsa, etc.

1.  Place 1-2 tablespoons oil in a skillet and add chicken and onions.  Cook until chicken is no longer pink.
2.  Add 1/3 cup milk and chicken bouillon.  Cook until bouillon is completely dissolved.  Remove from heat.
3.  Mix remaining 1 cup milk w/ 1 can cream of chicken soup.  Pour half into greased 9x13 dish.
4.  Place 1-2 spoonfuls of chicken mixture in a tortilla.  Fold up bottom, fold in sides, and fold down top.  Place seam down in the 9x13 mixture.  Repeat, making 2 rows of enchiladas and 10 total

5. Pour rest of soup mixture over enchiladas.  Cover with foil.
6.  Bake at 325 for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and cover with shredded cheese.  Bake for another 15 minutes.
7.  Remove and top with fixings (optional).

Suggestions: Spice up by adding chopped or canned peppers or chiles.  Serve with Spanish Rice, Refried Beans, or Guacamole.  TIP: You won't need an entire onion for this recipe, but since you're already dicing one up, go ahead and measure the leftovers, place in a freezer bag and label it, and put in the freezer for future recipes.  

The following recipe is one of my favorites for lunch.  I love how versatile it is.  Definitely not one I make for the kiddos, but my husband and I both love it.

Chopped Salad
Baby spinach, romaine or salad of choice (chopped or torn to pieces)
Feta Cheese
Mandarin Oranges, Chopped Apples, Chopped Strawberries (and/or fruit of choice)
Dried cherries, cranberries or fruit of choice
Chopped Pecans, slivered almonds, or nuts of choice

1/ 4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 tsp. Dried Mustard (I never seem to have this on hand, so I always give a squeeze of regular mustard--no need to measure.  Just don't overdo it)
1 tsp. salt
1 T. grated onion or dried onion (optional)oppyseed

Place desired amounts of salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss.  Add salad dressing. 

Suggestions: To ensure longer fridge life for your salad, add croutons and dressing to each individual bowl instead of tossing w/ entire salad.  I can usually get a large salad to last 2-3 days by using this method.  You can also add some cooked, diced chicken breast to add some yummy protein.  In more of a greek, vinagrette mood?  Leave out the fruit, add some black olives & chicken and enjoy.  Serve with warm flat bread!

And finally, smoothies.  My sweet neighbor who shared the recipe for the Chicken Tortilla Soup told me awhile back that they have a smoothie every morning for breakfast.  It seems that juicing and/or smoothies are all the rage right now, so I thought I'd give it a try as a way to sneak some extra nutrients and vitamins into our diet.  One quick Google search, and you'll have endless smoothie recipes on your hand, so don't be afraid to experiment with your ingredients.  Here's one that's working for us:

1 banana
1 cup frozen strawberries or berries of choice
1/2  cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup plain vanilla yogurt (regular or frozen)
1 tsp. flax seed (great for fiber)
1/2 cup spinach, kale or cooked carrots (optional, but a great way to sneak in some veggies)

Place ingredients in a blender of your choice and puree away.  NOTE: You can add more milk if your liquid is too thick.

Suggestions:  Currently, my children are 4, 2 1/2, and 1 years old.  Smoothie drinking is a SLOW process, especially if the consistency is too thick or frozen.  I've opted for adding more milk and removing some of the frozen ingredients so that we can get them down a little faster in the morning.  :)
 Hopefully these recipes will help you in your weekly or monthly meal planning.  ENJOY!
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