Reflections on the various dimensions of feminine vocation from liturgical homemaking and child rearing to education and the spiritual life.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tomatillo Chicken: Entrée Evolution

When mothering small children it is hard to balance the all responsibilities of maid, nanny, and cook.  One way I stay sane is by cooking double (or triple) for leftovers.  I don't have the time or patience for cooking from scratch every day of the week. 

Here's a recent success building multiple menus using leftovers:

Day 1: Chicken Verde Tacos
  • 2.5 lbs. boneless chicken breasts (thawed if using from freezer)
  • Salt and 
  • Freshly ground black pepper.
Add to slow cooker along with
  • 1.5 C tomatillo salsa verde (I use Trader Joe's)
  • 1-3 t chopped or crushed garlic.
Cook for 2 to 3 hours on low or until chicken is cooked through but still moist.

Shred chicken using two forks and serve in warmed corn tortillas with shredded lettuce, salsa, pico de gallo, and lime wedges.  (Store remaining chicken in the cooking sauce to prevent dry out, and retain all the sauce for day 3 recipe.)

In our house two to 2.5 shredded chicken breasts serves two adults and one preschooler.

Day 2: Chicken Taco Salad
For each adult, toss the following together in a serving bowl: (measurements are approximate)
  • 2-3 handfuls lettuce
  • 1-2 handfuls tortilla chips, crushed
  • 1/2 C leftover shredded chicken verde
  • 1/4 C red kidney beans
  • 1/4 C grated raw zucchini
  • 2 T sliced black olives
  • Corn salsa to taste (optional)
  • Pico de gallo (optional)
  • Shredded cheese (optional)
  • Salsa verde (or other salsa of your choice)
  • Ranch dressing or homemade dressing (see below).

Simple Homemade Taco Salad Dressing
Shake together in a tightly sealed jar
  • 1/2 C Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 C lime juice
  • 1 T finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 t crushed garlic (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Day 3: Tomatillo Chicken-Potato Casserole & Corn Bread
Combine in slow-cooker
  • all remaining leftover shredded chicken verde and sauce
  • 1/2 lb fingerling potatoes, cut in half or smaller for bite-size pieces
Cook on high for two to three hours or until potatoes are tender.
For the last hour, add to the crock
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 2-3 oz. sliced black olives 
If the sauce is too runny, put a towel across the top of the crock pot, under the lid, and replace the lid slightly ajar.  This will allow steam to be released/absorbed making the sauce thicker.
For the last 20 minutes of cooking, sprinkle on top
  • .5 to 1 C shredded Monterrey Jack cheese.
When all the vegetables are cooked and the cheese is melted, serve with hot sauce and molasses corn bread muffins (see below).

Serves three.  (If you want to serve more or have eaters with heartier appetites, add more potatoes, zucchini, olives, and cheese.)

Molasses Corn Bread Muffins
Follow the recipe on the back of your corn meal box making the following substitutions:
  • Use white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose.
  • Replace 2 T of the sugar with 2 T molasses.
  • In our house, we also replace the milk with almond milk.

The artistry does not compare, but I like to think of this kind of menu planning as similar to a classical musician's "variations."  When I do have the energy and/or a creative streak, it is joy to make beautiful, healthy, innovative meals.


  1. You have rescued me from my boring and overused menu plan! I'm making this starting tomorrow, and I'm super excited to try the dressing. Thanks for sharing, hopefully there will be other installments in the future. :-)


  2. Hope you like it, Jess!

    If you prefer, you can use sour cream or blended cottage cheese instead of the mayo. I came up with the mayo dressing b/c I'm trying to avoid dairy.

    Also, the leftover muffins are tasty with marmalade (and tea) for breakfast. :o)

  3. Yum yum! Days one and two were fantastic. Day three is in the crock pot. And may I add that the chicken makes great quesedillas for lunch. I think I've been overcooking my crock pot chicken all these years--I thought my manual said 6-8 hours on low, and I always hated how dry and chewey it turned out, so I had gotten away from using the crock pot. Three hours on low is quite sufficent, and tastes so much better!

  4. Love this idea! I'm going to have to print it out and try it next week!