Aug 5, 2009

Little Miss Practical

School's about to start and we're planning one last chance at summer fun...a trip to Grand Isle. For the week before we leave, I need to plan meals that:

* are help balance the cost of the trip
* will result in no leftovers or only freezable leftovers because I hate wasting food
* can accomodate those bits and pieces of miscellaneous things that seem to multiply in my fridge when the light goes out. I don't want to come home to that.

Yeah, I'm a practical girl. So what.

Since the dawn of the casserole, people have known that this is a sensible way to get an economical meal on the table. And, let's face it, they're really just a mish-mash of stuff. Any kind of stuff you have. I know that doesn't paint the most appetizing masterpiece. Casseroles are not works by da Vinci...carefully arranged and measured, anatomically precise, able to be judged on their form and beauty from any angle.

Casseroles aren't so exact. They're a little rough around the edges. Jagged colors and textures. They seem more Picasso to me. A nose here, an eye over there, a boob slightly out of place. They may not all be pretty, but so what. We get the overall picture.

Unless you're one of those people who can't stand their foods touching. Then to you casseroles may seem more like...
I've become a big fan of the stove top casserole. Think hamburger helper, but classier. Since it's a million bajillion degrees out, I ain't turnin' on the oven, ya know? Here's a little stove top casserole that I like. And I never seem to make it the same way since I use whatever I have that seems fitting.

And if it makes you scream, may it be in a good way.

This post was featured at Hun...What's for Dinner: Simple Supper Tuesday

Mexican-Style Chicken w/ Penne
adapted from Food and Wine magazine

¾ to 1 pound penne pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken (light or dark meat or a combo), cut into bite size pieces
Salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1-2 large chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons adobo sauce
½-¾ cup frozen or canned corn
1 1/3 cups grated mozzarella, pepper jack, or Mexican bland cheese, divided

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until al dente. Drain.

While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet or pot over med-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the skillet and brown. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is softened and the chicken is cooked. Add the drained diced tomatoes, chipotle, adobo sauce, and corn and cook until heated.

Add the penne and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup of the cheese and toss. Add the remaining cheese to each serving.

Sharing with

Hun...What's for Dinner
 photo SimpleSupperTuesday_zps93ff0e49.jpg

Mise en place for Mexican Style Chicken with Penne
But this recipe is versitile. Leftover cooked chicken can be used, frozen or canned corn can be used (or fresh if you're up for scraping it off the cob). Different types of pasta and cheeses can be used. Other things to add: black olives, green onions, black beans, cooked carrots.

Have little dabs of ingredients and you don't know what to do with them? Dishes like this give them a purpose.
Heat oil and brown chicken with onions and garlic. Cook pasta according to package directions.

Add corn, tomatoes, chipotle peppers, and adobo sauce. I usually don't bother seeding the chipotles.

Stir in cooked pasta. Stir in part of the cheese, saving some for topping each portion.

Serve, adding more cheese on top.

Here's a variation with elbow mac, black olives, and green onion.


  1. This is an inexpensive, great healthy meal. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mmmm, I'm liking this casserole. The kids would love the olives in it too. Thanks for linking to Simple Supper Tuesday and have a great week, Michelle!


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