Cheesy Southwestern Chicken Casserole

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Where do I begin? Recently, one particular boy says I never make casseroles. He’s right, but I was surprised because casseroles are sort of old school. Then again, there’s nothing wrong with that. I started searching for an easy casserole recipe when I stumbled on this one from the Kitchn. Easy it is, but it wasn’t exactly what I expected. This casserole is more of a stew that I ended up serving over rice, not something the original recipe suggests to do. In the end, I think that I’ll need to make a real casserole another day. In the meantime, you’ll enjoy this meal because it’s really easy to prepare, makes plenty of leftovers, and tastes even better the next day.

I changed a few things. I cooked my own chicken thighs and chopped them up rather than buy a rotisserie chicken to shred. I also dumped everything into the casserole pan rather than use a bowl. Saves you from washing yet another item.

Season your chicken thighs with salt and pepper, and cook it up in a heated skillet for about 6 minutes each side. Set it aside and let it cool before you chop it up into bite-sized pieces. You don’t want to burn your hands. In the meantime, dump chopped onion, black beans, canned corn, diced tomatoes, and green chiles in your casserole pan. Throw in a bunch of seasonings: chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and salt. Chop up your cooled chicken and add it to the pan.

Cheesy Southwestern Chicken Casserole

Mix it all up and pour a cup of chicken broth over it. Pop it in the oven for 40 minutes until it’s thickened. Yeah, right. This is where the recipe went south. It NEVER thickened. Not even a bit. I suppose the idea was for the liquid to condense, but that didn’t happen. Once I realized this, I quickly made some rice. You can get these quick rice packages that cook in 2 minutes in the microwave. It’s not instant rice! You’re just heating up fully cooked rice. I always have a few on hand for times like these.

While zapping your rice in the microwave, sprinkle a ton of shredded cheese and stick it back in the oven for 5 minutes (not the 10 minutes the recipe states). Let it cool for 15 minutes. Maybe now it’ll thicken? Nope. I think it’s so you don’t burn your tongue.

Serve it over rice garnished with green onions and cilantro.

Cheesy Southwestern Chicken Casserole

Not what I expected and frankly, I was disappointed. This wasn’t a casserole at all. It’s a stew! It tasted good, but not fantastic. Whatever. I wasn’t going to let it go to waste so I covered the pan with foil and stuck it in the fridge for another day.

The next day we had salmon for dinner, but the day after that, I pulled out the “casserole” and exclaimed that it was leftovers night. And guess what? It tasted amazing. The flavors infused into something quite special, almost like enchiladas. Not sure if it’s a make again for us, but I think you’ll enjoy it.

Cheesy Southwestern Chicken Casserole

Cheesy Southwestern Chicken Casserole

Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/2 large white onion diced
  • 14.5 ounces canned black beans drained and rinsed
  • 14.5 ounces canned corn kernels drained
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 4 ounces diced green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • cooked rice

Instructions
 

  • Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425F.
  • In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook in the skillet for about 6 minutes on each side, until it's browned and cooked through. Set aside to cool.
  • In a 9×13-inch baking dish add white onion, black beans, corn kernels, diced tomatoes and their juices, and diced green chiles (do not drain). Next add chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, ground cumin, and kosher salt.
  • Chop cooled chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the baking dish. Stir to combine. Pour in chicken broth.
  • Bake until the mixture is heated through, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, thinly slice scallions and coarsely chop fresh cilantro.
  • Sprinkle the casserole with 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese and bake until melted, about 5 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with the scallions and cilantro before serving. Serve over rice.

Pressure Cooker Mongolian Beef (and Stuff)

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Hi everyone! I took a little break from blogging for various reasons. Cooking dinner relaxes me and is something I do nearly every day, but sometimes I get in a rut, which is what happened in July. I started making the standard “I don’t feel like trying,” meals, which are still really good. For example:

Spaghetti with “homemade” sauce. Saute a pound of ground beef with chopped onions and garlic, pepper and salt, and dried herbs (oregano, basil, and a tiny bit of mint…secret ingredient alert!). Add two jars of spaghetti sauce and simmer for at least 30 minutes. The longer the better. And there you have at least 3-4 servings of sauce that you can use for any pasta, ravioli, or tortellini.

Tried and true recipes, many that our featured on my blog. I make make Stroganoff at least once a month. Super easy dishes like Ham and Cheese Pie. Delicious comfort food like Meatloaf.

Taco Tuesday. Sometimes I get creative, like Slow Cooker Carnitas, which makes a ton of leftovers that are good to freeze. Lately I’ve been lazy. Grab a pound of ground beef and a taco seasoning packet. Beef tacos without any effort. It’s totally cheating and I don’t care.

My grocery store has marinated chicken, beef, and pork. I love the idea of convenient food that is not frozen or processed. These marinated packages are super easy and tasty. It’s also easy to make your own marinade. Just mix up a few ingredients and marinate for a couple of hours. One of my favorites is Balsamic Chicken.

I also made this really easy Pressure Cooker Mongolian Beef from Pressure Cooking Today. It’s just as good, if not better, than takeout, and simple to make. And for some strange reason, we rarely have leftovers.

Grab your ingredients.

Mongolian Beef

Season a couple pounds of flank steak that you’d sliced up with salt and pepper. Brown it in your Instant Pot (go buy one if you haven’t already). Make sure you don’t put all of it in at once or you’ll end up with a lot of liquid and the meat isn’t browned at all. Make this in batches! When the beef is browned, set aside.

Throw in some garlic and saute. Throw in some more goodies: soy sauce, water, brown sugar, and ginger. You can’t go wrong with these ingredients. They are magical to anything they touch. Cook that for a bit.

Add your beef and pressure cook everything for 12 minutes. You’re almost done.

Mongolian Beef

You want to make sure there’s a yummy sauce so you’ll combine cornstarch and a little water, and add that to everything in the pot. Stir it up until it’s boiling and thickened. Add some sliced green onions too.

Mongolian Beef

Done. Oh, make sure you have some rice handy. Can it get any easier than that? No.

Mongolian Beef
Mongolian Beef

Pressure Cooker Mongolian Beef

Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds flank steak cut into 1/4" strips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 green onions sliced into 1" pieces

Instructions
 

  • Season beef with salt and pepper. Put oil in the cooking pot and select saute. When oil begins to sizzle, brown meat in batches until all meat is browned – do not crowd. Transfer meat to a plate when browned.
  • Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add soy sauce, water, brown sugar, and ginger. Stir to combine.
  • Add browned beef and any accumulated juices. Select High Pressure. Set timer for 12 minutes.
  • When beep sounds turn pressure cooker off and use a quick pressure release. When valve drops carefully remove the lid.
  • Combine the cornstarch and 3 tablespoons water, whisking until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to the sauce in the pot stirring constantly. Select Simmer and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Stir in green onions.