This has been another weekend of staying at home, doing work and household chores. Thrilling, I know. Being at home, however, has also afforded me multiple opportunities to try new recipes. Even better, each new recipe has been a success! It is not often that I try so many new recipes in a row and have them ALL turn out well. As a result, I am feeling very pleased with myself this evening.
After yesterday’s pear sandwiches and pork tenderloin, I finished up my weekend cooking marathon today at lunch with the Monterey Jack, Green Chile & Bean Casserole from the WeightWatchers One Pot Cookbook, which continues to be a reliable source for good recipes. Just this evening my parents had John and me over for dinner, and my mom made the Chicken in White Wine recipe from the book. It is the recipe featured on the cover of the cookbook, and it was as tasty as it looked.
I selected the casserole dish to make because I have been on a polenta kick of late, and I was in the mood for a Tex-Mex meal. I made a few adjustments to the basic recipe. First, I followed the Healthy Extra recommendation and added cooked, shredded chicken breast (lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin) to up the protein content of the casserole. I also used fire-roasted diced tomatoes instead of plain. Finally, I topped the casserole with Kraft 2% Colby Jack cheese instead of Monterey Jack, which I could not find in a reduced-fat version.
I served the casserole with a side green salad, jicama sticks, and homemade salsa. It made for a very filling meal, as each casserole serving was a hearty one. Taste-wise, it was delicious. John and I debated what star rating to give it; we leaned toward 4 stars, although we both liked it slightly less than yesterday’s 2 recipes, both of which we gave 4 stars. So I’ll give it a 3.5-star rating in the end.
Monterey Jack, Green Chile & Bean Casserole
1 (16-oz) can fat-free refried beans
4 scallions, sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
1 (4-oz) can chopped mild green chiles, drained
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 (14.5-oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 (16-oz) tube fat-free plain polenta, cut into 12 rounds
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
2. Stir together beans, scallions, cilantro, sour cream, chiles, and chili powder in medium bowl.
3. Spread half of tomatoes in prepared baking dish. Arrange polenta rounds over sauce. Spoon bean mixture evenly over polenta. Top with remaining tomatoes; sprinkle with Monterey Jack. Bake until heated through and cheese is melted, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1/6 of casserole). Per serving, 4 PointsPlus.
Healthy Extra: Add some extra protein to this casserole by topping the first layer of tomatoes with 4 (3-oz) cooked skinless boneless chicken breasts that have been shredded or diced. This will increase the per-serving PointsPlus value by 2.