Semi-Chilaquiles – Second Meal Brunch (Chicken tacos)

This is a Second Meal using leftovers from Chicken tacos It Was inspired by a traditional Mexican dish, chilaquiles. While I didn’t have all the traditional ingredients, I decided to do what I do, and make my own version with my OHI. .

After I made chicken tacos in the crock pot, I had a bunch of meat leftover and was trying to think of another, different way to use it. I was having a late breakfast – kind of a brunch – that day, so I came up with this. It was really really good, lots of protein (so it’s filling), and not too bad for you either since the chicken taco meat is all homemade using no preservatives.

So here’s what I did!

First reheat some of that chicken – until it’s warm, but not steaming hot.
image

Next add a little shredded cheddar cheese and one slice of Provolone.
image

image

Before you put the cheese on, move the meat over... you need to leave room for another ingredient!


Heat for another minute or so in the microwave (or I suppose you could do it in a pan or on a griddle also) until cheese is melted.
Now add some homemade guacamole to your plate (which you also have leftover from your taco meal!).
image
Meanwhile, cook two overeasy eggs. When they’re finished place them atop the cheese and chicken taco meat.
image

And that’s it! Now eat and enjoy!
I’m telling you… it’s really good!

Happy cooking!

Homemade Chicken Soup

This is Recipe #4 of our Meal Plan using Chicken Breast.

What we’re repurposing
Homemade stock (8 1/2 cups total)
Chicken, about 2 breasts worth, chopped
*Note: I love dark meat in soup too. If you prefer shredded meat, you can use chicken thighs and the soup is equally good!

What you need
Half an onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, cut in half lengthwise and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Carrot – probably about 1/2 cup total, peeled and chopped
Noodles – Whatever shape your family likes. This time I used whole wheat rotini.
*Optional: Seasonings (bay leaf, oregano, parsley, basil are good in chicken soup)

image

I like to let my soup cook as long as possible, because it develops flavor better that way. And usually, the longer you let the chicken simmer in the broth, the softer it gets and it breaks into smaller pieces. I started my prep around 9:30 in the morning and we ate around 4:30.
In a stock pot or large sauce pan add a pat of butter, then add your chopped onion.
image
image

Next add garlic.
image

When onions looking translucent…
image
Add celery.
image

Here’s how I like to do my carrots. One end is always thicker than the other, so right in the middle I cut the carrot in half:

image
Then I cut the thicker piece in half lengthwise:

image
Then chop!

image

Add carrots to the pot.
image

If you’re using additional seasonings, now’s the time to add them. Sprinkle maybe a 1/2 teaspoon of each that you’d like to use and stir. I didn’t use them this time because I just wanted a good chicken flavor and a more mild broth since I’m still on the mend. Plus our chicken was heavily seasoned, so that will add lots of flavor.
Now we’re going to “sweat” the veggies. Place the lid on the pot and let them cook for a few minutes. When you open it again, it will be steamy, aromatic, and the veggies will be nice and soft:
image

Now it’s time for our chicken stock! You can add little by little if you want, but I just pour it right in, stirring all the while.
image

And now for our chicken! Cut the breast into strips and cut each strip in half:
image
Then chop the strips:

image

Once it’s chopped, add to soup and stir.
image

After 3 hours it will look a little something like this:
image

Continue to simmer over low heat until dinner time – another 3 hours is good.
Add your choice of noodles about 10 – 15 minutes prior to serving, depending on the type of noodles. Remember that the longer it simmers with the noodles in it, the more the noodles will absorb the liquid. So be careful not to leave it too long, or you’ll end up with no broth!

Complete!

Complete! Nutritious, delicious, great for a sick day or a cold one!

Serve with salad and a nice loaf of bread.
wpid-wp-1395870035572.jpg

Nana’s Guilt-Free Chicken Salad

This is Meal #2 in this week’s meal plan using America’s favorite: chicken breast. (Well, maybe it’s not your favorite, because you’re tired of it. Hopefully after this week I’ll change your mind!)

If you’re blessed to have an Oma, Nana, Grammy, or Grandma like mine, going to her house always meant a special treat that you could only get from her.  (No matter that your mom would make it at home. It was just never the same.) At my Nana’s when I was young, it was always cinnamon toast and hot chocolate. She must have had some secret recipe for her cinnamon/sugar recipe, because I could never quite replicate how it tasted. And I’m pretty sure her hot chocolate was microwaved milk with store- bought packets. But it was always SO good.
When I got a little older, less picky, and more adventurous, it became this chicken salad. I had never had anything like it. Creamy, crunchy, a little sweet, on toasted bread; it was just the perfect combination of, well, everything.

After I got married, she lovingly shared the recipe with me. I made it a few times exactly to the recipe, but then I started realizing that I had a lot of leftover chicken from dinners, and it was silly to buy canned chicken when I could easily chop up the leftovers instead. Then I started cooking healthier. I have never been a mayonnaise fan, but I’ve conceded that it’s a ‘necessary evil’  – until I learned that Greek yogurt pretty much does the exact same job mayonnaise does, but in a much healthier way.

What makes this recipe special? The apples, grapes, and pecans. I love the apples and pecans for extra crunch – normally celery serves this purpose alone, but it again is one of those things I use semi-reluctantly and that I can’t eat by itself. The grapes add a surprising sweetness. Everything together is just the perfect combination for lunch or dinner. So, here is the recipe for Nana’s chicken salad – adjusted to be a little healthier and a little thriftier!

What We’re Re-Purposing:
Leftovers from Baked Chicken: about 2 cups, chopped

Additional Ingredients:
1 Apple of your favorite variety, finely chopped
1 cup Seedless Red Grapes, cut in half (or in quarters if you prefer)
3/4 cup Chopped (or Diced) Pecans
1 cup Celery, chopped (about one stalk, halved and/or sliced)
1 tsp. Celery Salt
3/4 – 1 cup Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup Fat-Free or Low-Fat Mayonnaise
*Optional: We are using our seasoned baked chicken for this Second Meal, so it will add extra flavor. If your chicken salad tastes bland, add salt, paprika, or pepper to taste.
*You can also add a teaspoon or two of chia seeds for a hidden boost of nutrition!

There is really no secret to preparing this; the secret is in the ingredients. Combine all of them, and toss to coat. I like to use a fork, because it breaks up the chicken a little and makes it easier to eat. Then simply adjust to taste. Instead of making it in a mixing bowl, I make it directly in a tupperware container for easy storage and less dishes. 😉 Many of these ingredients we keep in our house anyway, so it’s easy to add more of anything as you like. Here’s what mine looks like, completed:

image

Another reason this is one if my favorites is because of its versatility: You can eat it straight up with a fork.
You can eat it on toasted bread, like my Nana used to make:

image

On Toasted Whole Wheat Bread – also great on Whole Grain!

You can serve it on a tortilla, as a wrap:

image

It’s also great as a lettuce wrap if you want to skip the carbs altogether.

For our meal plan purposes, serve this for dinner with a side of cooked baby carrots. This same night, plan to make your overnight stock using more of the celery from this recipe. When you cook your carrots, simmer them in water with a little salt until they reach a desired done-ness. But DON’T DRAIN THAT WATER! I’ve always been conflicted about pouring that water down the drain; with carrots and spinach, cooking in water is healthy, but many of the nutrients leach out into that cooking water, and some of the nutrients go down the drain with it. So this time, drain your water directly into the crock pot, and that will give us a little extra boost for our overnight stock!

Don't throw away this nutrient-rich cooking water. Drain into crock pot for our overnight stock instead.

Don’t throw away this nutrient-rich cooking water. Drain into crock pot for our overnight stock instead.

To save time, I had the crock pot ready to go while I was preparing the chicken salad. While I had the cutting board out, I prepped some of the veggies for the stock and tossed them into the crock pot. Most of them are root veggies and won’t be negatively effected if they sit for an hour while you eat dinner. The stock can cook for 10+ hours. Mine cooked for about 12 this last time and turned out great. I’ll post the full details tomorrow!

Hope you’re enjoying the meal plan so far, and especially this chicken salad, which has such a special place in my heart. ❤

image

Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Casserole

Today I’m going to share with you one of my GO TO meals on the rare occasion I don’t have anything planned for dinner, I’m low on groceries, or short on time. Part of the reason for this? It’s basically made only with OHI. Sometimes I’ll work this into my meal plan too, because it’s so easy and the whole family loves it.

This is a great Second Meal, because you can use leftovers from another chicken dinner for this casserole. When the chicken is leftover from another meal, this one should take only about 45 minutes to prepare. It’s homey comfort food at its best!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
wpid-20140122_161700.jpg
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup  milk
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables – I use carrots & peas, and corn
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (or shredded chicken is good too)
About 2 cups Egg noodles, cooked and drained
1/4 cup  grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon  ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded Triple Cheddar cheese (or more if you really like cheese!) for topping
*Sometimes I’ll add a little extra shredded cheese into the mix also
I’ve made this enough times that I usually eyeball the ingredients – except for the milk. Too much milk and it’s tasteless and watery.

Preheat your oven to 400º. Start by putting hot water in a medium pot and salting the water. Bring to a boil and cook your egg noodles according to package directions.
In the meantime…Start with the soup, milk, parmesan, and pepper and stir in a casserole dish (I think I use a 2 Quart one). Then I add the veggies (which I usually leave out a bit so they’re not frozen solid) and mix. Add the cooked, drained noodles next.
While the noodles are cooking I chop the chicken into cubes and add it last.
wpid-20140122_161622.jpg

wpid-20140122_162602.jpg

Remove from oven, stir if noodles on top look hard or browned, then sprinkle cheese to cover top. Bake for another 5 minutes to melt cheese. I usually let it sit for a few minutes, then dig in!! Hope your family enjoys this as much as we do 🙂

First meal ideas for chicken:
Spinach Artichoke Chicken (if you use this, you have the bonus of additional veggies, AND it will be creamier!)
Fresh Take Italian Parmesan chicken
Stuffed Chicken