Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Feeding Our Neighbors

At my school is a religion teacher who is, as one would imagine, very serious about his Catholic faith, as is his wife. She's now pregnant with their third child, with a 6 year old and a 1 year old in the house. She has been diagnosed with a disorder that when she is pregnant, she vomits almost constantly, can't eat, and becomes dehydrated very quickly. Her illness means that she cannot take care of herself, much less the children or the house.

Their church set up a website to coordinate driving her to the doctors and making dinners for the family. It's actually a really nifty setup. Anyhoo, I decided to make Layered Mexican Chicken Casserole for them. It's really tasty. The recipe is below, adapted from a Weight Watchers.

1 spray(s) olive oil cooking spray
2 pound(s) uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
30 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained
3 cup(s) fat-free sour cream
2 cup(s) shredded reduced-fat Mexican-style cheese, divided
8 oz chopped green chilies, two 4-oz cans
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 large corn tortilla(s), cut into 2-inch strips

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a lasagna pan with cooking spray.
Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces and saute in a large pan until cooked through.

When cool, transfer chicken to a large bowl and add beans, sour cream, 1 cup of shredded cheese, chilies, cumin, and pepper; mix well and set aside.

Arrange half of tortillas in bottom of prepared lasagna pan, overlapping pieces to cover surface.

Top tortillas with half of chicken mixture, layer with remaining tortillas and then top with remaining chicken mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese.

Bake until filling is bubbly and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing into 12 pieces. Serve with salsa on the side.


  1. I make this for "take to others" meals too. It is great and easy. I am sure this woman appreciated your meal. I have a similar problem during pregnancy, and know how hard it is to manage. How great she is getting so much help

  2. Ooh, that looks yummy. I'm sure it was appreciated. That would be a terrible problem to have, especially with kids underfoot!

  3. The simple meals are the best for everyone. Gives everyone a chance to feel cared for and protected. Kids need that, so you are making a difference in her kids' world. I make a similar dish except I use salsa instead of the peppers and cumin. Those disposable pans are really handy for this type of thing.