Creating a Healthier Casserole

Healthier Low Fat Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Hello everyone. It has been a while since I put up anything new. That crazy thing called real life does tend to get in the way. The good news is that I am back with a great tasty new recipe for you all to enjoy. When you hear the word casserole you do not immediately think of the word healthy and you usually don’t think of Mexican food either, which is why I set out to come up with a healthier alternative to a timeless classic. If you enjoy a good plate of chicken enchiladas but are looking for something healthier and a bit easier than rolling them all out yourself this will be a nice alternative for you.

What you need:

Large casserole dish

3 Boneless Skinless Chicken breasts

1 medium sweet onion (thinly sliced)

1 medium bell pepper (thinly sliced)

2 garlic cloves (chopped)

1 large tomato (cut into 1/4 inch slices)

1 jalapeno (chopped)

1/4 cup of green onion (chopped)

2 cans of green chili enchilada sauce ( I used Hatch brand)

12 small corn tortillas

1 can of black beans (drained)

8 oz fat free cream cheese

2 tablespoons of olive oil

8 oz of Kraft 2% Mexican blend shredded cheese

8 oz of fat free shredded cheddar

Spices: Salt, Black Pepper, Chili Powder, Cumin, Smoked Paprika

casserole

Cooking

In a non stick pan heat the olive oil and saute the onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno until the onions start to turn clear. Now place them in a bowl and stir in the fat free cream cheese until it is all mixed together. Now place the chicken in the pan and season the top side with a little of all of the spices above. You want a nice coating of the spices on the top of the chicken. Cook on one side for about 5 minutes (Medium high heat) then turn over and season the other side and cook for another 5 minutes. Set chicken to the side to rest for a few minutes. After it has rested for about 5 minutes cut all of the chicken into small chunks and set aside.

Assembling the casserole.

Line the casserole dish with aluminum foil and coat it with non stick spray or just coat it really good with non stick spray if you don’t have aluminum foil.  Now put a thin layer of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the dish (about 1/4 of the can). Just enough to cover the bottom. Now place 6 corn tortillas on the bottom covering it completely (yes they can overlap if needed). Use another 1/4 of the enchilada sauce to cover those.  Now spoon on all of the onion, bell pepper and cream cheese mixture into a nice even layer over the tortillas. Once that is done make another layer using half of the shredded cheddar and half of Mexican blend.  Add the next layer using the tomato slices. You will want to make a nice even layer across the entire dish. Now add another 1/4 of the can of enchilada sauce on top.  Make the next layer using all of the chicken in a nice even layer and then add the rest of the black beans. Cover that with the last quarter of the can of enchilada sauce. Now use the last 6 tortillas to cover the top and then pour entire second can of sauce on top of them. Now make a layer using the rest of the cheeses and add the chopped green onion to the top of it and then add a few shakes of chili powder to the top.  It is now time to bake the casserole. Put this in a preheated to 350 degrees oven for 35 to 45 minutes. When the cheese is all melted and starting to brown up it is ready. Take it out and let it cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

You have now just made a healthier version of enchilada casserole. All that is left to do is sit back and enjoy it.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beto’s Empanadas

Great

Pretty Good ***

OK

No Thanks

At 8142 Broadway street in San Antonio sits a small but friendly little empanada restaurant called Beto’s Empanadas that has been around since 1997. Don’t let the small interior fool you though, this little place packs a lot of flavor and has a pretty large outdoor patio in the back for party’s and live music on the weekends. Beto’s has been recommended by several friends and was featured on Food Networks Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and has a reputation for having the best empanadas in town. So naturally I had to try it. I will tell you right off though, if you are looking for a fine dining restaurant this is not it. Beto’s is a laid back homey type of place that is all about the food and not so much about the décor. When you look at the menu you see right away that they do a lot more than just empanadas. You can get burgers, tacos, quesadillas, salads and soups too. I would recommend going with one of Beto’s combo plates. This way you can choose 1, 2 or 3 of any combination of empanadas, tacos and quesadillas and rice, beans and a drink. This will allow you to try several things at once.
Now let’s get to the real reason we are here, the food. I chose the Combo #3 and had 1 grilled fish taco, 1 carne asada quesadilla and 1 beef and Red chile empanada for my main dishes. I wanted to try a little bit of everything to get a nice round opinion of the place. Now I have to tell you that I was pretty surprised when they brought out the plate and I saw the portions. It is a nice amount of food and it is all made fresh to order. The beef and chile empanada was incredible and had just the right amount of seasoning and the empanada crust almost melts in your mouth. The quesadilla was just a standard quesadilla and was probably the lowest point of the meal. While I have had better fish tacos this one was not bad at all. It wasn’t quite as flavorful as I like but still stood out on the plate. The cilantro cole-slaw that they top the fish taco with was very tasty and unique and is what made it really stand out. So at this point I thought that it was a pretty good experience overall and might be worth coming back to. Then I decided to order desert. First let me tell you that when you order one of their desert empanadas do it about half way through the meal as they are made to order and take some time to cook. That was you won’t be waiting around like I was. I ordered a Banana with Leche Quemada (Mexican milk fudge)and pecans. One bite of this made me forget the rest of the meal and decide that this is the real reason people come to Beto’s. The banana wasn’t over powering like a lot of banana based deserts and the entire thing melted in your mouth. The flavor of the Leche Quemada was nothing less than heavenly. This is one of those dishes that you are afraid to try again because you know there is no way it could ever be that good again.
So is Beto’s somewhere I would be willing to go to again? You better believe it. The dessert empanadas alone are worth it. Like I said before, it is not a fancy place but the food is out of this world. If you are looking for something to do some Saturday afternoon and want to treat yourself to something sweet it is well worth the trip. You won’t be disappointed.
Thanks for reading,
JMW