Chicken and Vegetable Casserole
(from Williams-Sonoma Mayo Clinic Cookbook)

2 cups cooked chicken
2 cups corn (fresh or frozen, thawed)
2 cups cooked black beans
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup dry red or white wine
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1 egg plus 1 egg white
1/2 cup canned, diced milk green chiles, drained (one 4-oz. can)
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

Toss together chicken, corn, beans, chili powder, garlic, juice, wine, pepper and oregano. Spread in greased 3-qt baking dish. Sift together cornmeal, flour and baking powder. Whisk together milk and eggs; add chiles and cheese, then dry ingredients. Drop by tablespoons over chicken mixture. Bake at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes. Serve in soup plates.

Serves 6. 369 calories each.

See that “serve in soup plates” up above? Well, that led me to believe this would be nice and liquidy, but it wasn’t! It was actually quite dry, although lots of salsa and sour cream helped. I thought that a Williams-Sonoma recipe would be delicious, but even as I was making it I made some changes. There wasn’t any salt in the original recipe; I’m glad I added a bit. There was only 1/2 tablespoon of milk in the cornbread and even with the 1/4 cup, it was still very dry. Wayne said we don’t need to have this again. However, I liked the idea of a chicken (instead of ground beef) tamale pie, so we will, but we’ll be adding a can of tomatoes to the meat mixture, along with a layer of cheese, and more milk to the cornbread topping, maybe some black olives as well. This should also be a good freezer meal, once I get the proper ingredients and proportions worked out.

Updated: We tried the one I had frozen before cooking and it turned out as expected – just as dry as the first, unfrozen one. However, we were expecting that. I cooked it for 20-25 minutes instead of 30 and that helped, along with extra cheese and salsa and sour cream. This note is really just to say that it does make a good freezer meal.

Put chicken in a large pot, add a couple inches of water, salt & pepper to taste, then simmer until cooked through. Remove from the broth to cool, then pick meat off the bone. Bag in meal-sized portions – about 2 cups – then stick in the freezer!

Having this recipe on the menu plan also motivated me to cook up a bunch of chicken leg quarters – something I haven’t done in a long while – in order to have some cooked chicken in the freezer. I used to do that all the time when the grocery store would have 10# bags on sale for 29 cents a pound, then 49 cents. Now they don’t go on sale, but at 69 cents a pound, it was still a decent deal.