Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cheating in the Kitchen

On a local message board for working mommies, a fellow poster mentioned Once A Month Cooking (OAMC). The theory is that you clear a day (probably a Saturday), have your ingredients ready, and cook up a storm. In one day, you should be able to get 30 dinners made — enough for the whole month. That’s the story anyway.

Turns out, I’m not that hard core. Matt and I have been trying OAMC in a less strict form. We don’t cook 30 dinners in one day. We cook, maybe 3 or 6 dinners at a time several times a month. Either way, the result is the same: dinner that is ready when you are. Here is one recipe we have tried and loved.

Chicken Tucson

1 (20 oz) jar salsa
2 (16 oz) cans black beans
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast
6 corn (we used flour) tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar (I ran out and subbed in pepper jack)
1/2 cup sour cream

1. Spread 1/2 cup salsa in 9×9 inch baking dish and set aside. (I don’t have any 9×9 baking dishes, so I use whatever’s closest.) Drain black beans and rinse well; drain again. In large bowl, combine beans, bell pepper, chicken and remaining salsa. Mix well.

2. Place 3 tortillas on salsa in bottom of baking dish. Top with half of chicken mixture and sprinkle with half of cheese. Top with 3 more tortillas, then remaining chicken mixture. Either cook now or freeze for later. See instructions below.

To cook and serve immediately: dollop with sour cream, and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 to 35 minutes until bubbly and cheese begins to brown.

Instructions for freezing, thawing and cooking later: Cover and label. Reserve sour cream in refrigerator. Place remaining cheese in zip-loc bag, attach to baking dish, and freeze.Thaw overnight in refrigerator. (Ours needed thawing over TWO nights.) Place small dollops of sour cream on casserole and top with cheese from zip-loc bag. Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and cheese begins to brown.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

I don’t think I’ve ever sent out an Easter card until now. But sending out cards for random holidays is more enjoyable now that Natalie is here. In fact, I have come to appreciate that Natalie makes everything – yes everything – a lot more fun. Even though having a baby means getting up at 2:30 in the morning on a regular basis. Or having to stand in the back of a packed church because (1) there is no room to sit and (2) if the baby cries, I need a quick escape route. Or going to family functions where Natalie will be fussed over and played with until she becomes overstimulated, starts to cry, and needs her mommy to cradle and sing softly to her.

Even though it’s a lot more work, it’s also so much more fun.