Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mexican Chicken Hashbrown Casserole

Photos courtesy Cooking Corner
  Sometimes by the end of the week, just before payday, I find myself doing some creative cooking in the kitchen. That's a nice way of saying I try to make something out of nothing, or in this case, combine a little of this and that to make dinner. That's just what I did recently when I came up with this combination.
   I took two chicken breasts, leftover diced bell peppers, some shredded hashbrown potatoes and combined them with some spicy cheese soup to make a filling casserole. The bell peppers add great color, the paprika ups the flavor and the cheese mellows it all out for a creamy texture.
   Often when I'm trying to make meat stretch, I cut it into smaller portions. That's why chicken breast whole, will only feed as many people as you have meat, but when cut into chunks and filler is added in, you can stretch it into a dish to serve 5-6. My children thought bacon always came in half strips for years.
   This idea came from a recipe for Tator Tot Casserole. I, however, substituted chicken for beef and shredded potatoes for the tots. Sometimes, it's all about improvising, but never loosing the taste.

Shredded potatoes and bell peppers.
Mexican Chicken Hashbrown Casserole

2 chicken breast, cut into 2 inch chunks
salt and pepper
sprinkle of paprika
1-15 oz. can condensed Fiesta cheese soup
1 cup bell peppers chopped, any color - red, green and/or yellow
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
1 pkg. frozen shredded hashbrown potatoes
1 T. cilantro or parsley (optional)

Place cut chicken into plastic container, sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Stir or shake to coat. Cover and refrigerate about 30 minutes or while preparing rest of ingredients.
Casserole ready for oven

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 13x9x2 inch baking dish.

Remove hashbrowns from freezer and put into large bowl. Add peppers, onions, soup and cheese to potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (cilantro or parsley if using). Mix well to combine. Stir in chicken, then pour into casserole. Top with a little extra shredded cheese. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
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