Getting back to what we do most here is another wonderfully spicy Mexican/New Mexican/Tex-Mexican/Southwestern style, spicy chicken casserole. There’s a whole lot of flavor packed into this meal and it’s easy to do. Interested???
Quickstep is back with us, as is Knothead. Despite all of my efforts in Knothead’s youth I could never get him interested in cooking or even helping me cook. Of course, doing the dishes was simply out of the question. Nevertheless, he did eat and eat quite well I might add. Oddly enough, 3-3/4 years ago when Daniel decided giving the US Coast Guard a go, Daniel decided to become a “food specialist.” His logic was everything else required him to make a longer commitment and by the time he made it to “A School” he realized joining the military was not the most brilliant decision he ever made. Hence, giving the US government any additional time was out of the question. There was a need for food specialist so he was fast tracked to become a food specialist and a food specialist he became. This was somewhat of a relief because if you really know how to cook, you will never starve. 🙂
Quickstep, on the other hand, loves, loves, loves food. He laughs at me when I take pictures of him in “action pose” eating. He truly is the happiest when he is eating. Sadly, like Knothead, Quickstep never had much interest in learning how to cook. So, a fast food junkie he became and, with being a fast food junkie, he suffered all of the problems fast food junkies suffer. So, when Quickstep came back we had to make a serious, concerted effort to work on food control, i.e. quality foods, lower fats, lower carbs, minimal processed sugars and free radicals, eating lite mid-meal snacks and smaller portion size. The meals we post on the blog are the meals Quickstep actually eats. In addition, he began a serious exercise regimen. Here is the before and after comparison from last Christmas 2013 to late August 2014.
KUDOS TO QUICKSTEP!!!!! Doesn’t he look good??? He literally has worked his butt off! As of the date of the after photo Quickstep had lost 75 lbs!!! As of today, he has lost 83 lbs. His blood pressure is 116/56 and his resting heart rate is 59! Amazing and only 30 more to go. Can you say Quickstep is buying a whole new wardrobe? In fact, he’s already bought two new wardrobes and is in need of smaller clothing again.
This recipe came about when Quickstep first came back. You see, Quickstep loves Tex-Mex/New Mexican/Mexican/Southwestern food. If it has chiles, he loves it. He loves carbs. He also loves casseroles. According to Quickstep, however, all casseroles had to have carbs, either rice, noodles, tortillas – some form of carbs. This probably flows from Quickstep being from the US. Typically, casseroles in the US consist of pieces of meat, various chopped vegetables, a starch and, a crunchy or cheesy topping. Casseroles, however, are really derivative of a dish, i.e. a large, deep dish used both in the oven and as a serving vessel. Casserole cooking is household convenience because the ingredients are cooked and served in the same dish. So, this was a dish to show Quickstep that not all casseroles have carbs. This is what we did.
- 4 tomatillos
- 6 chicken thighs
- 1 large onion, sliced into 3 rings
- 12 oz roasted green New Mexico chiles, peeled, stemmed and seeded (I buy 20+ lbs of New Mexico green chiles per year and roast them. They then get vacuum sealed and frozen. They last me about a year and freeze beautifully. It’s also a nice way to have chiles during the winter when it’s cold.
- 1/4 cup mojo de ajo (recipe found here) This is another one of those things we make and keep in the fridge.
- 1-1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
- sea salt, to taste
Baby Lady & I keep a lot of the ingredients for this dish in our fridge. It makes preparing dishes like this quick and painless. If you have to make the mojo de ajo and/or roast the chiles, it will seriously increase the prep time for the meal. Hence, I would suggest you roast the chiles and make the mojo de ajo the day before.
First, make the salsa. Start by roasting the veggies.
Once roasted put the veggies in the Vitamix or blender of your choice.
Now, add the New Mexico green chiles. This is going to be chilelicious. 🙂
Add the mojo de ajo.
Then, add the cilantro
followed by the chicken stock. You don’t want to make this a thin salsa because you’re going to top the chicken with it and then bake the chicken. As the chicken cooks it will release its own juices thereby thinning the sauce and adding more flavor.
Now season with a little salt, to taste.
Blend away until smooth.
When smooth, pour over the chicken thighs.
Place the chicken thighs in the oven at 350 F. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until done.
Remove from the oven, top with cheese. Return to the oven to melt the cheese, about 5 minutes or so.
Plate with some Southwestern style zucchini and, if you want, spoon some of the delicious salsa from the baking dish over the top of the chicken.
Serve & enjoy. 🙂 This really is a tasty dish.