Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chicken, Rotini and Tomato Casserole

This was a great weeknight quick whatever is on hand casserole.  I did not grow up with casseroles.  Period.  I don't think I ever had a casserole from my mom's oven.  It wasn't part of her culture.  My husband, on the other hand, knows the world of casseroles and he loves them.  Whenever I give him a choice between casserole and pasta or casserole and soup or casserole and stew, the answer?  You got it, casserole.  And I must admit, you can do a lot in these one pot wonders.  The possibilities, my friends, are endless.  This one has:

1 lb or so skinless, boneless chicken breast
2 cups cooked Rotini
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 an onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
the few mushrooms I had left in my fridge (1 would add more if I had them, they were good in here!)
1 cup mozzerella,
1/3 cup parmesan,
more mozz and parm for topping, and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs.

Here's what you do: cut up and saute the chicken breast (I used two breasts

Saute the onion and celery, add them to your casserole dish

Same with the shrooms

And diced tomatoes with their juices

Add the cooked chicken

And the cooked pasta

And the cheese

It looks yummy already

Top with more cheese

And some breadcrumbs

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so. Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

This was good.  Very good.  I really love the combination.  I loovvvvvveeeeee sweet potatoes.  They are so satisfying.  And really healthy.  And versatile.  I wanted some.  And I wanted curry.  And chickpeas.  So here is what I came up with.... sorta on my own... I adapted it from a recipe I found on by adding a bunch of veggies and spices.  I am trying desperately to break free from recipes... I think this is progress (baby steps people!).  I wanted healthy so I didn't go the coconut milk curry route.  I think this was a good choice.  YUM.  A definite repeat!  Here's the recipe!


2 large sweet potatoes, cooked (I baked but you could steam them or broil them or even boil them)
10 oz fresh spinach
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 green chile, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
2-3 T fresh ginger, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes, with juices
Curry powder
Cumin powder
Cayenne pepper
Red chili powder
Tumeric powder

Cilantro to garnish
Basmati (or brown) rice


First, get your sweet potatoes cooking.  I baked mine in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes.  You can prep the rest of the ingredients while those babies bake.

Dice up the onion, green chili, red bell pepper, and ginger, and set aside


Next, remove stems from spinach and coarsly chop.  Set aside.

Drain and rinse chickpeas in colander and set aside.

Chop up some fresh cilantro and set aside.

When the sweet potatoes are done cooking, cut into 1 inch chunks.  You don't have to remove the skin -- it is actually packed with nutrients and I usually leave it on but it wanted to come off after baking so I removed it for this. 

OK now arrange everything you need and start cooking!

Heat 1-2 T canola oil over medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed pot.  I used my trusty dutch oven.  When oil is warm, add the diced veggies.

Cook for a few minutes, until onions are soft and transparent, and then add spices as follows: 2 T curry powder, 1 T cumin powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. cayenne, 1/2 tsp. red chili powder, and 1/2 tsp. tumeric (note: not sure what if any difference there is between cayenne and the red chili powder I have from the Indian market but I used both.  I am sure you could use either, or neither if you don't want it too spicy).

Cook for a minute or two until fragrant.  Add chickpeas, stir and cook for a couple minutes.

Add sweet potatoes.

Add diced tomatoes.

Then add spinach and stir until it is cooked down and wilted.

Turn into a serving platter.

Serve over basmati rice.  Garnish with cilantro.  Enjoy!