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Weekday dinner inspiration: Santa Fe Chicken and Rice Casserole and more

Mon | Monday meatless

Garlic-Mushroom Toast With Herbed Eggs is a comforting way to start the week. Saute sliced mushrooms and minced garlic in extra-virgin olive oil. Set aside. In same pan, scramble eggs mixed with a bit of ricotta cheese, salt and pepper, and fresh chopped leafy herbs (tarragon or oregano are my favorites). Pile mushroom mixture on toast and top that with scrambled eggs. Sliced tomatoes sprinkled with balsamic vinegar are a good accompaniment.

Tues | Tacos!

Weekly taco nights seem to be a growing phenomenon at Mexican restaurants. You can have your own Taco Night by making a simple filling of browned ground beef mixed with a can of ranch beans in sauce. I like the version with jalapeno. Stuff the hot mix in soft or hard tortillas and offer the usual garnishes: shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, diced onions, salsa, guacamole and sour cream. Think about fresh chopped cilantro, too. Wedges of watermelon on the side.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Greek Chicken and Greens Summer Salad starts with shredded rotisserie chicken meat. In a wide, shallow bowl, layer chopped iceberg lettuce mixed with green romaine. Toss in some fresh oregano (left over from Monday) and scatter halved grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, kalamata olives and feta cheese crumbles. Dress with Greek vinaigrette. Rolls or bread sticks on the side.

Thurs | One-pot dinner

Santa Fe Chicken and Rice Casserole (recipe below) from Erin Chase's The $5 Dinner Mom: One-Dish Dinners Cookbook (St. Martin's Griffin) is an economical meal that might take a bit longer than the usual Stir Crazy dinner. But once it's all put together, you can put your feet up while it bake. It calls for breast meat, but you can use boneless, skinless thighs instead.

Fri | Fancy and quick

Roast Beef and Arugula Subs With Creamy Horseradish Dressing sounds more complicated than it is. Pile deli roast beef on sub rolls that have been slathered with horseradish sauce. Garnish with peppery arugula. Prices are still good on corn. Shuck and boil and serve on the side. Dinner done.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at or (727) 893-8586.


Santa Fe Chicken and Rice Casserole

1 pound chicken breast meat, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 ½ cups uncooked brown rice

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 can corn kernels, drained

2 cups (about a 15-ounce can) canned black beans, drained and rinsed

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

3 cups hot water

Salt and pepper

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In the prepared baking dish, gently toss together the chicken, rice, onion, bell pepper, corn, beans and cumin until well combined. Carefully pour in the hot water. Season with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the rice is tender. Fluff the rice with a fork and let cool slightly before serving.

Serves 4.

Source: The $5 Dinner Mom: One-Dish Dinners Cookbook by Erin Chase (St. Martin's Griffin, 2012)

Weekday dinner inspiration: Santa Fe Chicken and Rice Casserole and more 09/04/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 4:30am]
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