Food for Thought – February 16, 2016

By NANCY ZAMBELL

For The Vista

As I sit here typing, I’m once again looking out at falling snow on a deck whose snow covering hasn’t yet melted from the last storm. But I do love these days when I’m stuck at home and can indulge in marathon cooking (without guilt from neglecting other projects!)

I’ve also managed to catch that cold that has been going around, and since I can’t taste much of anything right now, I find myself wanting something spicy. This recipe fits that bill—you can make it as hot as you want. It’s simple, filling, and the cinnamon chips recipe that follows tops off that spicy taste with a dose of sugar.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

1 1/2 c diced sweet onion

1⁄2 green pepper, chopped

2 T canola oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 (10 3/4-oz.) cans cream of chicken soup  1 (8-oz.) container sour cream

1 c chicken broth

*1 (1-oz.) envelope taco seasoning mix

18 (6-inch) corn tortillas, quartered  3-4 c shredded cooked chicken

1 c (8 oz.) shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

1c (8 oz.) shredded pepper Jack cheese

1 small can black olives, sliced

6 green onions, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Sauté onion & green pepper in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in soup, sour cream, chicken broth, & taco seasonings. Remove from heat.

2. Spread 1 c soup mixture in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

Arrange 24 tortilla quarters, slightly overlapping, over soup mixture; top with 1⁄2 of chicken, 1/4 c each Cheddar and pepper Jack cheeses, and 1 1/2 c soup mixture. Repeat layers once.

Top with remaining 24 tortilla quarters, soup mixture, and cheeses.

3. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Remove from oven to a wire rack, and let stand 15 minutes before serving.

*Note: You can use pre-made taco seasoning mix, but I like to make my own. Mix together: 2 T chili powder, 1⁄2 tsp garlic powder, 1⁄2 tsp onion powder, 1⁄2 tsp red pepper flakes 1⁄2 tsp oregano, 1 tsp paprika, 1 T cumin, a pinch of salt, 2 tsp pepper. If you want it spicier, just add more chili powder and red pepper flakes. Store in a tightly closed container.

Cinnamon Pita Chips

4 pita rounds

4 tbsp butter or coconut oil, melted

4 tsp granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Cut each pita into eight equally-sized wedges.

In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Brush both sides of each pita wedge with melted butter.

Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture evenly over both sides of the pita wedges, and place on baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, until crispy.