Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Casserole for the New Year

When I was at home over New Years, my parents had a party to attend and gave me the task of making dinner. Mama suggested pizza but I had seen a recipe from Kraft that I thought looked good, so I made that instead. It was really good and could be made with left-over chicken (that's what I used). I don't think I quite used the full amount of chicken (probably would have been 3-4 breasts and I used about 2-3). Even at that, I would have preferred more veggies/beans and less chicken. However, the flavor is really good and the tortilla, which gets very soft, adds a nice change in texture. This recipe has cream cheese mixed in, which probably serves to soften the spice from the salsa and to thicken the sauce but you don't really taste, and cheddar cheese on top. I honestly did not taste the cheese at all; so, you could probably leave it off without a decrease in taste, though it wouldn't look as pretty! This is a rare casserole that is healthy and zesty at the same time. I'd likely make it again, maybe with a few minor changes. I think it could be kid-friendly as well, especially if you use mild salsa.
3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces (or any leftover chicken you have)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 green pepper, chopped
1-1/2 cups Thick 'N Chunky Salsa
2 oz. (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1 can (15 oz.) no-salt-added black beans, drained, rinsed
1 tomato, chopped (I did not add this)
2 whole wheat tortillas (6 inch - mine was a full tortilla)
1/2 cup Mexican Style 2% Milk Finely Shredded Four Cheese, divided (or cheddar - whatever cheese you have if you decide to use cheese)

HEAT oven to 375ºF.

COOK and stir chicken and cumin in nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium heat 2 min. Add peppers; cook 2 min., stirring occasionally. Stir in salsa; cook 2 min. Add Neufchatel; cook 2 min. or until melted. Stir in beans and tomatoes. (If using leftover chicken, cook the peppers and then stir in the chicken and cumin until warm)

SPOON 1/3 of chicken mixture into 8-inch square baking dish; cover with 1 tortilla and half each of the remaining chicken mixture and shredded cheese. Top with remaining tortilla and chicken mixture; cover.

BAKE 20 min. or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese; bake, uncovered, 5 min. or until melted.


Abby said...

Some people don't like casseroles, but they're king in my house. I almost always decrease the meat in them to make them more healthful and up the veggies. Nice to know that the cheese isn't always necessary!

Cate O'Malley said...

Something about a casserole just warms you from the inside out - yum!

The JR said...

It looks good. Almost like a big enchilada.

Elle said...

Love that it includes black beans and the chicken...with the right salsa this sounds amazing!