Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Little Preaching And A Recipe

At some point last year, I decided to change my shopping and eating habits. The biggest changes that I made were buying organic produce, free range chicken/eggs, local grass-fed beef, wild fish, etc. The main goal here is not to support factory farming and instead support the little guys. There are a lot of advantages to doing this some of which are: better tasting food, healthier food, less allergies, less hormones and antibiotics entering your body, greener practices, better labor practices, and more humane treatment of animals (very important to me.) I can hear some of you over there saying "well, it's a lot more expensive to eat that way." Well, if you research how to start eating this way and know where to shop (Whole Foods , Trader Joe's , or your local farmer's markets) you can do it reasonably. Some of these stores sometimes sell the organic products for less than than the regular stuff and also offer coupons.  Another tip: I've found that eating organic is more expensive when you shop at the normal grocery stores rather than the ones that I mentioned. Besides, you will save money on health care when you don't need to go to the doctor as often or need as many pills after you start eating better, right?  Okay, I think that's enough preaching. Are you still reading or did you move on to the next blog? :-) For most of my recipes, I probably won't mention whether or not I used organic products because it's your choice to use what you want. Either way, I hope you will enjoy the recipes that I share!

Chicken Enchilada Pasta as seen in Better Homes and Gardens
8 to 10 servings

1 12-oz. pkg. dried jumbo shells
3 large green and/or red sweet peppers, chopped
1 and 1/2 cups chopped red onion
1 jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and chopped
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (You can usually purchase an already cooked breast/thigh from the hot bar in your grocery store and break it up yourself)
1 16-oz. can refried beans
1/2 of a 1.25-oz. envelope taco seasoning mix (3 Tbsp)
2 10-oz. cans enchilada sauce
1 8-oz. pkg. shredded Mexican-style four-cheese blend
1 cup sliced green onions
2 cups (2 oz.) nacho cheese-flavored tortilla chips, crushed (Doritos work just fine for this!)
Avocado dip and/or sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse; drain and set aside. 
2. In skillet cook peppers, onion, jalapeno, and 1/4 tsp. salt in hot oil over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, beans, seasoning mix, and 1/2 cup enchilada sauce. Cook and stir 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup each of the cheese and green onions. 
3. Divide filling among shells. Spread one cup of the remaining enchilada sauce in 3- quart rectangular baking dish. Arrange shells atop sauce. Drizzle with remaining enchilada sauce.
4. Bake, covered, 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese melts. Sprinkle with chips and remaining green onions. Serve with avocado dip/ sour cream.

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