Monday, May 14, 2012

Mexican Chicken and Black Bean Casserole

I've been home with my son for a year now, and I still struggle to get dinner prepped and on the table with a little monkey running around the kitchen. More often that not, we feed Little B something quick and easy and then Hubs and I sit down for dinner in front of the TV after B is in bed. Not exactly the family dinners I dream about. So, I'm always on the lookout for make-ahead meals that I can assemble during nap time and then stick in the oven when Hubs is on his way home from work.

I came across a great recipe on the Picky Palate blog that I adapted for our family. It was delicious as written, but I made a few changes to make it a bit more healthful. Enjoy!

Mexican Chicken and Black Bean Casserole

(4) servings of brown rice, prepared according to package instructions
(2) chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
(1) 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chiles
1/2 c. light sour cream
1/4 c. fat free plain Greek yogurt
1/2 c. Verde enchilada sauce
(1) 15 oz. can of black beans, drained
1 c. shredded reduced fat cheese (like Weight Watchers Mexican cheese)

In a large bowl, combine chicken, diced tomatoes, sour cream, Greek yogurt, and enchilada sauce. Stir to combine. Spread cooked rice in the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with Pam. Layer black beans evenly on top of rice. Spread chicken mixture evenly over black beans, and top with cheese.

You may cook it immediately at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Remove from fridge and bring to room temp before baking. Enjoy!

Toddler Meals: Iron-rich Meatballs

We recently found out Little B is anemic. Iron supplements wreak havoc on his digestive system (hello, constipation) so I've been making an effort to up the iron naturally in his diet. He loves meatballs, so I created this meatball recipe that tastes yummy but also is rich in iron and other nutrients. In addition to the ground beef (red meat is obviously a great source of iron), these meatballs feature spinach which provides iron and vitamin A. I love sneaking veggies into recipes! You can tweak this to use whatever your little one likes or whatever veggies you have on hand. Next time I think I'll try these with ground turkey and grated carrots.

Iron-rich Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 package frozen chopped spinach
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbs. worcestershire sause
1 egg
olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft. Add spinach, reduce heat to medium, and cook until thawed and most liquid has evaporated. Place the onion-spinach mixture in a colander and press with a spatula or wooden spoon to remove remaining liquid.

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, spinach mixture, oats, parmesan cheese, worcestershire sauce and egg. Mix well to combine. Using moistened hands, roll into balls and place on a greased baking pan.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or so (depending on how big your meatballs are).

Let them cool and freeze in Ziploc bags. At mealtime, grab a couple meatballs out of the freezer, microwave on a plate for 45 seconds and you're ready to go!