Monday, January 30, 2012

Shoe Shopping With Leftovers

Leftovers.  I have a love-hate relationship with them.  They come in handy when I don't want to cook, I just grab from the freezer and defrost.  But at the same time, my freezer is full of forgotten leftovers.  I'm a housewife, but leftovers usually are not high on my list of things to remember!  Anne Taintor makes me feel a tad better about this.  Apparently, I'm not alone!

Almost all kidding aside, the leftovers that have puzzled me the most are tortillas.  What do you do with them other than junk 'em?  You can rarely buy a pack with just enough for one meal.  It seems the manufacturers want you to make enough tacos to feed the world. I simply cannot feed the world.  Mama has shoes to buy.

Priorities, people.  Priorities!

Luckily, I've solved the problem - Chilaquiles.  And no, those are not shoes.

Normally, Chilaquiles is a casserole made with turkey and the tortillas are fried in oil, then portions of the ingredients are fried in the remaining oil.

I'm not ok with this, as all that frying is unhealthy and very messy.  I bake the tortillas for a few minutes - watch carefully, they burn, I know - and once they've cooled, I can begin to build this lasagna-like meal.

Once again, please give using pre-cooked chicken a try.  I grabbed two pieces from the freezer this morning and it took less than five minutes to shred them as the tortillas baked in the oven.  Getting into the habit of cooking the chicken beforehand will suddenly make cooking a breeze!

Chica's Chicken Chilaquiles
Serves 4-5

12 corn tortillas (6-inch size)
2 tsp. olive or safflower oil
2 chicken breasts, shredded
½ red bell pepper, diced or small slices
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. onion powder
Several cracks of fresh black pepper
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 cups tomatillo salsa
¾ cup cotija or crumbled feta cheese
1/3-1/2 cup sliced scallions


Preheat oven to 400.  Line two cookie sheets with foil.  Place 6 tortillas on each sheet.  Drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil over six tortillas, repeating for the second sheet of tortillas.  Using fingertips or pastry brush, distribute oil over the tops of each tortilla.  Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through.  Reduce heat to 375.

In a medium bowl, mix chicken through cilantro.  Add ¼ cup salsa and ¼ cup of cheese to chicken mixture.

Spray a 11x7 baking dish with cooking spray or line with non-stick foil (easy clean up!).  Place ¼ cup of salsa in bottom, then 4 tortillas on top.

Add half the chicken mixture, then 4 tortillas.  Add second half of chicken mixture, then remaining 4 tortillas.  Pour the rest of the salsa (1 ½ cups) over the top and sprinkle with ½ cup remaining cheese.  Top with scallions.  Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Ok, so maybe food isn't as nice as the rush in buying a new pair of kicks, but this comes pretty darn close.  Also, by using feta and not a fattier cheese, your legs will look fab in your next new shoe venture! Don't underestimate the power of leftovers.  More leftovers = more shoe shopping!

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