Monday, April 1, 2013

Layered Mexican Casserole with Chicken and Pinto Beans

South Beach Diet Phase One is hard for this girl who loves her Mexican food when tacos, chips, and margaritas aren't allowed.  I didn't think I could make it 2 weeks with out some type of Mexican food (sad isn't it), but when I saw this casserole I thought it just might work to fill my need for Mexican food.  I never thought a healthy casserole could taste so good!  It was so good I had to restrain myself from eating the whole pan!  The leftovers were just as delicious. I will say though, it is more work than it looks to be and leaves a bunch of dishes to be cleaned.  But it was totally worth it.  Next time though, I may just use the enchilada sauce straight from the can instead of heating it to reduce it.  Would cut some time and steps (and a pan to wash) and I don't think it would change the taste that much.

Layered Mexican Casserole with Chicken and Pinto Beans
From: Kalyn's Kitchen
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Cool Time: 10 min

1 can (15oz) Mild Green Chile Enchilada Sauce - I actually used 2 10 oz cans because I couldn't find a 15oz one
2 cans (15 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 onion, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 green pepper, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
2 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 can (4oz) diced green chiles
3/4 cup light sour cream
4 cups cooked, diced chicken (I used two large breasts)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 cups grated low fat Mozzarella - I did a mix of Colby Jack and Mozzarella
1-3 Tbsp Green Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375.  Put the green chile enchilada sauce in a  small saucepan and simmer over low heat until the sauce is slightly thickened and reduced to one cup. (I think I will skip this next time, adds and extra step and not sure that it really changed anything).

2. Heat olive oil in a large heavy frying pan, add onion and green bell pepper and saute until they are softened and starting to barely brown, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in Cumin and drained beans into onion and gr pepper mixture and cook 3-4 minutes (or until beans are hot.  At this point I mashed up the beans a little bit using a potato masher, but you don't have to.

4. As soon as the enchilada sauce has reduced to 1 cup, place it in a bowl to cool and stir in the diced green chiles with juice.  Taste and add hot sauce if desired.

5.  When mixture is no longer hot, but can be warm (I popped mine in the freezer for a minute or 2) stir in the sour cream, diced chicken and sliced green onions.

6.  Spray 9x9x3 casserole dish with non stick spray.  Spread half the pinto bean mixture over the bottom of the dish.  Followed by a layer of chicken/sauce mixture.  Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese over the layer.  Repeat with another layer of beans, chicken mixture, and cheese.

7.  Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling and nicely browned on top.  Let stand 10-15 minutes before cutting, then serve. (I served mine with some salsa and hot sauce for those who wanted it).

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