Easy Dinners

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I love to cook, but sometimes I just want to read a little more of my book or tend to my plants or sit in front of the fire and forget about dinner: better yet have it appear on my table all prepared. No such luck. We could go out for dinner; but that is something we can’t afford, nor is it the best thing to do for my health. So, cook I must. I have been trying to add some healthy, easy-cook meals to our menu and I am always looking for something new to catch my eye. I prefer to cook from scratch using a variety of vegetables, proteins and grains (locally grown and organic when possible) so the recipes below will all be made from scratch. They will also be one pot recipes to save on prep time and materials. I hope they make your mealtime easier and tastier.

 

One Pot Chicken and Rice

(Serves about 4)

Ingredients:

4-5 C. shredded pre-cooked chicken (rotisserie is great)

Olive oil (about ¼ C.)

1 ounce grated fresh parmesan cheese

Fresh, wide leafed parsley – washed and chopped (about ¼ C.)

¼ tsp. salt and ground black pepper

¼ tsp. tamari or soy sauce

2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped fine

4 fresh carrots, diced small

½ medium onion, diced small

1 C. rice, long grain (uncooked)

1 C. steamed, chopped fresh broccoli

4 C. chicken broth (low salt)

Preparation:

In a Dutch oven, or heavy deep pan, heat ½ of the olive oil and add the onions, carrots and broccoli. Cook until it starts to soften. Add the uncooked rice, salt and pepper and garlic. Stir and cook for about 4 minutes. Stir constantly until the rice appears to be roasting and the mixture is fragrant. Adjust heat as needed so you don’t burn the mixture.

Add the chicken stock very slowly, stirring it in as you pour. Bring this mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is cooked. Add the shredded chicken and cook, stirring, for 5 more minutes to warm the chicken. Add the tamari or soy sauce and mix it in well.

When done, stir in the chopped parsley and top with the grated parmesan. Makes an excellent dinner and leftovers can be reheated in the microwave with a tablespoon or two of water added.

 

Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chiles

(Makes at least 4 servings)

Ingredients:

4 C. cooked chicken breast, cooked and chopped small

8 flour tortillas (9 or 10 inch)

One 4 oz. can chopped mild green chiles (add a cup if you’re a fan)

Fresh cilantro, about 2 tbsps. chopped fine (optional or you can substitute fresh, flat leafed parsley)

¾ C. fresh onion, diced very fine

Your favorite enchilada sauce – about 24 – 30 ounces (divided)

2-3 C. shredded cheese

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

In a medium to large bowl, stir together the cooked chicken, onion, chiles, fresh cilantro, 1½ C. of the enchilada sauce and I cup of the cheese.

Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish or pan with olive oil. Then fill each tortilla with about ½ C. of the chicken mixture. (Use more or less depending on how many tortillas you want to make and how full you like them. Usually ½ – 2/3 is enough.) Roll up each tortilla and lay them, seam side down, in your prepared baking pan. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas evenly, and sprinkle them with the rest of the cheese.

Cover with foil, leaving room for air circulation and bake at 425 degrees F. for about 15-20 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake about 10 more minutes until the cheese is melted and a nice golden brown. These are great served with Mexican rice or beans on the side. I like them with a side of nachos and salsa. Enjoy!

In our next column, we will stick with the easy, one-pot theme for more versatile recipes that are no fuss and delicious.

Emily Mullins can be reached at emilymullins01@gmail.com or 971-888-2339. Input from readers is always welcome. Send in your favorite recipes to share.