Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mexican Casserole

Happy May! Here we are, huh? I really love May; students seem more energetic at school, we usually have some vacations planned (and boy, do we ever! More on that later), and the weather generally brightens up. Sadly, today was grey and damp, but I have high hopes for the rest of May.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I felt good enough to try a low-intensity cardio workout. I kept it super simple to avoid any further knee complications, so it looked something like this:

I definitely didn't get my heart rate up very high, and I barely broke a sweat, but it felt great to get my legs moving. I wanted to take it super easy to ensure that I didn't injure myself.

Today, our workout room was bursting at the seams, so I convinced Terry that we should try out one of the Bob Harper DVDs I bought awhile back. We chose Kettlebell Cardio Shred, which was a solid workout and one I'm looking forward to doing again when my knee is 100%. The DVD included tons of squats, lunges, burpees, push ups, and more. Terry liked it, too! By the way, Bob Harper's DVDs are all still only $5, so it's a great time to buy some! Also, for a great article on kettlebells, check out this post from a fellow FitFluential Ambassador: Why kettlebells won't work for you.

Yesterday, before I took off for my weekly trip to Trader Joe's, I could not think of anything interesting or exciting to eat for the week. Given my weekend of splurges, I thought it might be best to keep things light this week, but I still didn't have any brilliant ideas. Terry, however, requested some kind of casserole that we could enjoy throughout the week without too much extra work. I took his idea and ran with it, and I present to you now...

Mexican Casserole
Serves 12

Cheesy, easy, and healthy!

Like a lasagna, but easier

  • 1 recipe enchilada sauce (below) or pre-made enchilada sauce
  • 6 corn tortillas (I like Trader Joe's Handmade Corn Tortillas), torn into quarters
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers (organic), finely chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers (organic), finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can organic black beans, rinsed
  • 3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 ounces jack cheese, shredded
Homemade Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
Heat the diced tomatoes over medium heat until they start to boil. Mash with a fork or potato masher until desired consistency (I like tomato chunks). Add all of the spices (chili powder through cumin) and stir. Then add the tomato paste and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer while you prepare the rest, about 15 minutes.

Heat the over to 350 degrees. Spray a grill pan with olive oil or cooking spray and place over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then grill for about 7 minutes on each side. Once cooked and cooled slightly, chop or shred the chicken. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Add the peppers and onion and cook about 7 minutes. Add the black beans and cook for 3 more minutes. 

Pre-chopped veggies speed up the cooking process!

To assemble: Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Layer about 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish. Next, spread a layer of 3 tortillas. Then spread half the shredded chicken. Next, half the peppers-onion-beans mix. Finally, spread a layer of cheese. Repeat these layers, but this time, soak the tortillas in the enchilada sauce for about 5-10 seconds before layering them. Then chicken, peppers-onion-beans, remaining enchilada sauce, remaining cheese. 

Bake, covered, for 15 minutes, then uncovered for 10 more. 

Love all the layers!

Excellent for multiple meals

This meal was fantastic! It tasted just like enchiladas, but it was healthier and much easier to assemble. I was thrilled at how well it turned out, especially given my random attempt at enchilada sauce. We ate leftovers tonight and will do the same for two more nights! That's unbelievable in this house. I hope you'll try it out! 

I also got a hankering for banana bread tonight, so I made Lisa's real food banana bread (no sugar and all real food ingredients). I followed her directions exactly but subbed applesauce for oil. I also added walnuts and chocolate chips, which was one of my wisest decisions ever. Delicious.

Perfect golden brown

Chocolate chips made it sooooooo good!

Peanut butter, cream cheese, and plain. My favorite was actually plain!

I leave you tonight with some pretty cute pictures from Scout's flea bath last night. Poor little guy did a great job in spite of how much he hates water!


Just figured out what's going on here and wrestling to get away

This sucks

Thank goodness we're done!

Free at last!

Thankfully, Scout forgave us pretty quickly and was even more cuddly than usual last night. He is super fluffy and clean today, and hopefully the fleas are history!


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