Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Eating at Home More Often.....

Since we are currently involved in our own economic crisis, we are eating at home much more often. Although we do enjoy restaurants, and Miami has some really wonderful restaurants, it is more cost effective to cook for ourselves at home these days.

Sometimes I'm so tired and uninspired it's just eggs and toast for dinner - which can be quite tasty, so I'm not complaining. But planning to cook every night is getting to be a chore, especially since my husband will NOT eat leftovers. That's where I have to get creative and use the leftovers in such a way that he doesn't even know that he had it the night before. You won't believe how many times I have gotten away with it!

Anyway, I'm learning to plan ahead much better in order not to have to spend as much time in the kitchen. For instance, roast two chickens for a nice Sunday dinner, instead of just one. You'll save energy, and you'll save time when you use the extra chicken to make quesadillas or tacos on Tuesday. Leftover roast chicken is also great to make white chili, or sandwiches.

Likewise, leftover roast beef can be turned into beef stew, beef barley soup or shepherd's pie for a yummy cold weather dinner. We also like to make hash or sandwiches from leftover roast beef.
Basically, try to plan meals ahead of time. You'll save time, money, and effort.

Here's one of our all-time favorite recipes using leftover cooked chicken:

King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe
serves 6-8

1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomato and green chiles
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

Sauté onion and bell pepper in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken and next 7 ingredients; remove from heat.

Tear tortillas into 1-inch pieces; layer one-third of tortilla pieces in bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with one-third of chicken mixture and 2/3 cup cheese. Repeat layers twice.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes.

Note: Freeze casserole up to 1 month, if desired. Thaw in refrigerator overnight, and bake as directed.

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