Sunday, August 1, 2010

Make Ahead Cannellini Bean Chicken Bake

Did the "Make Ahead" get your attention?

My camera is broken so I am sorry I cannot show photos because this is a pretty casserole dish. I like this one and with cheese on it, the kids will enjoy it too. My recipe here is an adaptation of a recipe made for me by a friend, written down, made at home, then lost the recipe and now, I work from memory. I have been making it for several years. The original does not call for chicken. You can use leftover vegetables in this one...(there you go Brandi!) and just season it to be more Mexican or more Italian. Flexible. All ingredients are organic if possible although not noted. I think it is funny that people note that because there is not a taste difference but I said it anyway. To "make ahead" just prepare the ingredients into a mixing bowl, cover and refridgerate for hours or up to a day I think, then pour in oiled casserole and bake.

  • 9 X 13 inch casserole dish
  • Cheese grater
  • Large mixing bowl if making ahead
  • 1 - 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 med. or 2 small diced onions
  • 2 large or 3-4 smallish diced 1/4 " zucchini squash
  • 1 large or 2 smallish diced crookneck or yellow squash
  • 1 lb. ground chicken, beef or turkey
  • 1/2 c. to 1 cup of any chopped green-kale, spinach, chard, etc. (I keep chopped greens that I freeze on a cookie sheet first, then scrape into a Ziploc and label, in the freezer to add to any recipe)
  • 10 - 12 oz. of block Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cans or 2+ cups of cannellini beans (the Italian white kidney bean)
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes undrained
  • Herbs- oregano, basil, rosemary, parsley, thyme
  • Sea salt and fresh medium ground pepper

In a medium skillet, saute' the onions until a little translucent. Remove to large mixing bowl or into oiled casserole dish if preparing to eat now. In same skillet, cook the ground meat and minced garlic until done mixing garlic well with meat so it won't burn. Remove into bowl or dish. In same skillet, saute' squashes until a little less firm or if you like them really mushy, saute' longer. Remove to bowl or dish. Add greens to bowl or dish. Add diced cannned tomatoes to bowl/dish. Add rinsed beans and herbs/spices to your liking. (Tonight I used 1 heaping tsp. dried oregano, 2 heaping tsp. dried basil, 1 heaping tsp. dried rosemary, 2 heaping tsp. dried parsley, 1 heaping tsp. thyme, 2 tsp. sea salt and, a dozen twists of ground pepper.)

Top with grated Mozerella cheese and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is not burned but veggies seem done and tender or soft. Tent with foil if cheese getting over done.

Make a salad to go along with it. You can also use different vegetables that you have on hand...if corn, then I would use the squashes but use the spices, cumin, chili powder, garlic and salt and pepper to your liking.

Hope someone likes this one! Thank you for letting me share it...gotta go make our salad now to go with it.

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