I can say with a certainty that Mondays are not my favorite day of the week. Even with the occasional three day weekend potential they hold, they just can't seem to redeem themselves. We all could use a little extra help on Mondays, (see our Monday Moodbooster posts for a weekly kick in the pants) and an easy and budget friendly dinner doesn't hurt when you're recovering from a birthday weekend. (I currently am.)
This recipe came about last night because I was craving Mexican flavors, and my boyfriend Nick wanted something a little more substantial than my initial taco salad plan. I attempted to combine my hopes of keeping it somewhat healthy while creating something that would fill the infinite void that Nick calls his stomach.
This recipe is easy, super filling, and easy on the wallet. The best part is that after you make the chicken, it's really just all about layering and popping the whole thing in the oven. You can tweak the ingredients to make it a little more healthy - less cheese, black beans instead of refried - or to make it simpler - use salsa instead of making your own chipotle tomato sauce. No matter what, everyone will leave filling full (both wallets and stomachs) and a little happier, even if it was a Monday.
The $$$ Breakdown:
Total Cost of Groceries: $37.00, with lots of groceries left over for other meals! Score!
Cost Per Serving, based on amount of groceries used for single recipe: Approximately $4.00.
Serves 4, or enough for 3 if you have one very hungry boyfriend...
- 4 Chicken Thighs
- 5 Canned Chipotle Peppers
- 8 Small Whole Wheat Tortillas
- 1 1/2 Cups Pepperjack Cheese or Cojita Cheese if available
- 1 Can Refried Beans or Black Beans
- 4 Juicy Tomatoes
- 2 Large Cloves of Garlic
- 1/4 Large Purple Onion
- 1 Lime
- 2 Cans of Whole Green Chiles
- Hot Sauce & Fresh Cilantro, to taste. I like to slather this and everything with Frank's Hot Sauce.
- Finely dice tomatoes, garlic, onion, and chipotle peppers. Sweat garlic and onion over medium high heat until translucent and aromatic. Add half of the chipotle peppers to the onion and garlic.
- After chipotle peppers are incorporated with the onion and garlic, add chopped tomatoes, the juice of 1 lime, and lightly salt and pepper mixture. After 2 minutes on medium high heat, lower to a simmer and cover.
- While sauce is simmering, preheat oven to 350 degrees, and season chicken thighs with salt, pepper, and remaining chopped chipotle peppers. Feel free to add other spices like chili powder and cumin - it adds flavor without upping the calories! When oven is ready, put chicken on the upper rack in the center of the oven. Bake for half an hour or until the chicken is cooked through and there is no pink when you cut into it.
- Shred cheese, and take the green chilis out of their cans. Make one slice down the side of each chili without cutting all the way through so that they lay flat. Set aside.
- Remove chicken from oven and remove skin if you'd like a healthy option (but seriously, this is some of the best stuff). Take two forks and pull meat from the bone and shred. Set aside.
- Cut whole wheat tortillas in half or quarters. If you'd like to do no carb you can omit the tortillas and just use the green chilies as your tortilla layer.
- Begin layering all ingredients into a casserole dish or baking pan. Add one layer of tortillas, followed by beans, then layers of green chiles laid flat, cheese, chicken, and tomato sauce. Continue until the dish is full. Top with and extra layer of tortilla, tomato, and cheese.
- Place dish into oven at 350 and bake until cheese is melted and browned. I used my broiler at the end to get a little color on the top. Remove from the oven and let cook. Slice and serve with some veggies - a salad with lime vinaigrette was our greenery of choice, but half an avocado filled with chopped tomatoes and topped with salt and lime could work too!
Recipe and photos by Lauren Durden
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