Easy Chicken Enchiladas

I’m sure this won’t come as a surprise, but we’re not big fans of Mexican food in the OCF house. The Mister can’t eat anything spicy, and I just don’t really like it much. Too many weird ingredients that I don’t like.  I’ll eat a soft taco or a taco salad, but you can keep the salsas, refried beans, black beans, pinto beans, cilantro and guac to yourselves. But sometimes you just want to make something different and just do it your own way so that you do like it. So that’s what I did with Enchiladas. I’d see recipes for them but I didn’t like anything in it. That green sauce? Ewww, what’s up with that?  So I decided to make up my own. Do it the way we’d like it. And I’m pretty happy with how it turned out!

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Country Club Chicken

Whenever I see a recipe that involves bacon, I immediately know that I need to make it. Bacon is one of my favorite foods. I don’t think I’ve ever come across something with bacon in it (aside from a Bacon Martini) that I didn’t like. So when I came across Country Club Chicken I immediately put it on our menu. It has chicken, bacon, cheese, and it’s creamy. What’s not to like?

[adapted from the original recipe located here]

INGREDIENTS

  • spaghetti or another kind of pasta
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 5)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 package mushrooms (about 10 medium)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4 or 5 slices bacon
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar
  • 1 apple (I used a gala apple)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Cook the bacon in your favorite cast iron skillet. After the bacon is done cooking, don’t clean out the pan. Drain the bacon on a paper towel and set aside.

Season the chicken breasts with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Brown the chicken on both sides in the cast iron skillet. You may or may not have to take out some of the bacon grease. It all depends on what kind of bacon you used (Center Cut?) and how much grease accumulated in there.

Transfer them to a plate and set aside.

 Cook the onion for about 4-5 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and the garlic. After about 4 minutes or so add in your minced apple and cook it for another 4-5 minutes.

Season everything with some salt & pepper, if desired. Pour in the white wine and make sure all of the flavorful bits come off the bottom of the pan.  Add in the cream of mushroom soup and the sour cream. Add in all but ¼ cup of the cheese. Mix it altogether and let it cook for a few minutes.

While that’s cooking, place the chicken in a casserole dish. Crumble up the bacon and place some bacon on top of each piece of chicken. I did it this way so that everyone was sure to get some bacon!

After the soup mixture cooks for a few minutes, pour it over the chicken.

Put the casserole dish in your preheated oven for about 30 minutes. While the casserole is in the oven you can cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the package.

 
Serve!

I have to say this was pretty delicious! It was packed full of flavor and I loved the creaminess of it. The apple gave it some sweetness and it really added to the dish. I loved the apple in it so much that the next time I may add in some more.

I know some people don’t like cooking with wine, but I think the wine is a key ingredient here. You could substitute chicken broth for the wine, but I don’t think you’d end up with the same flavor. The wine took it up a notch, if you ask me.

I made a few changes from the original recipe, and I’m glad I did. Although the next time I make it I think I’m going to omit the cheese that’s inside the dish and just put 1/2 cup of cheese on top before baking. That would cut the calories a bit, which is always good.  This would also be very good with some boneless pork chops! I think I’m going to try to turn this into a crock pot meal!

Hashbrown Crusted Breakfast Casserole

Sometimes I get tired of the same old things for breakfast: a banana, yogurt, raspberries, strawberries, a granola bar, etc. So I wanted to find something I could make ahead of time and have ready so I could grab & go while heading out the door to work. Now it doesn’t have to be something to eat on the go, because I like sitting at my desk to eat. I’m not a fan of walking down the street eating a breakfast burrito. If that’s your thing, that’s fine! It’s just not how I roll.

So I was browsing online and I came across a Hashbrown Crusted Brunch Casserole from Just A Pinch. I thought it looked pretty good so I figured I’d give it a try. I wanted to change a few things in it though, so what I put below includes my changes. You can see the original recipe here.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package Simply Potatoes Shredded Hashbrowns
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 Shallots, chopped
  • 1 cup Bacon
  • 3 Scallions, diced
  • 1 cup New York Sharp Cheddar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • Salt & Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix the melted butter, hashbrowns, shallots,  salt and pepper.
Press into a 8 x 8 greased pan.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until potatoes start to brown.
Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees.
Top with Bacon and Scallions. Top with Shredded Cheddar Cheese.

Whisk the eggs, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and freshly cracked pepper. Pour over the top.


Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes until top is golden.

Okay, I must say this was very delicious! Sometimes I’m kinda leery about reheating eggs, but this tastes very good reheated in the microwave. I’d definitely make this again and try some different things inside. I think the next time I make it I am going to put mushrooms, onions and green peppers in place of the bacon. I think Canadian Bacon would taste great as well. So I’ll say this is a winner, and the recipe will definitely get filed away to be made again!

Sweet Onion Casserole

I was paging through the latest issue of Cooking Light magazine (May 2011) and came across a recipe for Sweet Onion Casserole.  I’m always interested in trying out some new side dishes since I can easily get tired of the same ones over and over. I figured that I’d check out the reviews online to see what people had to say about it. I like to do that to see if the recipes needs to be worked with a bit or if they are perfect the way that they are. There weren’t many reviews at all for the recipe, but out of the few that commented, they said it has some potential. So I wanted to try to enhance the flavors.

The recipe calls to only saute the onions for 5 minutes or so. That doesn’t seem like enough time in my opinion. I decided to caramelize the onions before adding them in. I love the flavor of caramelized onions so I was so excited to see how it turned out. I also added in a bit of garlic that I used to make some garlic olive oil. There are many recipes I like to use garlic olive oil in and I think homemade tastes so much better than the store bought stuff. I also used the garlic olive oil in place of the canola oil in this recipe.

4 cups of onions

Onions before caramelizing

Caramelized Onions

Ready for the oven

Fresh out of the oven

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (I used 1 tablespoon of homemade garlic olive oil + 1 tablespoon of butter)
  • 4 cups chopped sweet onion (about 1 3/4 pounds) (I caramelized the onions a bit first)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain rice (I used medium-grain rice and it worked fine)
  • 2/3 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/3 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Place onion in a large bowl.

3. Cook rice in a large pot of boiling water 5 minutes. Drain.

4. Stir rice and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) into onions. Spoon onion mixture into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 325° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes. Top with parsley, if desired.

My thoughts…

This was good – but it was still missing something. It definitely needed more salt. When I added a little bit more salt to my serving and mixed it together, it was better. So I would bump up the salt amount if you make it. I was hesitant to put too much in there because there is salt in the cheese, etc. This still needs something else to make it really stand out. I’m thinking that some Panko bread crumbs mixed with a little butter and fresh thyme would provide a nice crunch and add a little bit more pizazz to the dish. Maybe a little bacon would help? Doesn’t bacon make everything better?

Another note…when I took the foil off after it baked for 40 minutes covered, I kept it in there for another 10 minutes at 325 degrees and then I put my broiler on low and broiled it for 3 minutes or so to get some more color.

So all in all this does have potential. I would make it again in hopes of figuring out what the missing ingredient is.