Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mmmm, Mmmmm, Good!

Okay, so a couple of you have recently asked for some more food posts. I was kinda hoping that meant you wanted to hear more about all the ways I love my coffee, or just how incredibly divine real popcorn with real butter really is! But I know that's not really what you had in mind. I know this because you are most likely a mom just like me: you HAVE to feed your family something edible every night (otherwise the Hoovers turn into SHOP VACS on speed!!) And you have HAD-IT-UP-TO-HERE! with the same 10-15 (or 8?!) meals over and over. It's an insidious syndrome. One that we all experience. With far too much frequency. It's called a "cooking rut." (ack, gasp, oh no! What shall we do?!)

And quite frankly, the only cure I've found for a cooking rut is to. . . . cook! Something different and something new. Even if it's only a different shape of macaroni from the box of macaroni and cheese sitting on my shelf. Come on, I know you have at least one box of this nasty stuff sitting in your cupboards too. Get crazy: next time you shop, buy the shells. Or the wheels. Or the SpongeBob pastas. On second thought, leave SpongeBob in the store. He's not going to do any of you any good on your pantry shelves.

So, here's a great recipe to get ya cooking. It's super yummy and ridiculously easy. It started as a side-dish from my SIL over at Lessons and Life (ooops, Rob, sorry! Last time I called you Life and Lessons! My bad!). In my quest to ease my dish-washing load, I turned it into a one-dish meal. I present, for your cooking rut therapy:
~ Mexi-Corn Chicken Casserole ~
1 box (8 oz) yellow rice or Spanish rice, prepared as directed
2 cans (11 oz. each) Mexi- or Fiesta-corn, drained well
1 can (11 oz.?) black beans, rinsed and drained well
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) can of cream of chicken soup
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
plus 1/3 cup to sprinkle for topping
2 cups (+ or - to preference) cooked, chopped chicken

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Pour into a greased 9x9. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until heated through. Top with remaining 1/3 c. cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes.

Serve with chips (It's especially great to use the lime flavored ones!!), salsa, sour cream, avocado or guacamole, and any other Mexican type toppings you like.

This recipe freezes exceptionally well. Just be sure to thaw it completely and cook it about 45 minutes total to allow the excess moisture to cook off.
As you can imagine, I cannot make a single batch of this recipe. In fact, I actually quadruple it most times and freeze several portions for busy nights that I don't want to cook. It's a huge hit in our house, and I've found out recently that it's making its way around our church family, as gals are requesting the recipe and making it for new moms or sick families through our Meals Ministry. Not gourmet for sure, but it is simple and satisfying. And fills up the Hoovers for at least a couple hours!

For more great tips on getting out of the "cooking rut,"
please check out Reluctant Gourmet's post on the topic
and his chef friend's following comments. Good stuff!

1 comment:

Carol said...

Oh yeah! I'll be trying this one!