23 January 2011

Friends, a family favorite

When I am with my girlfriends, all of whom are fellow moms, it doesn't take too long for the conversation to turn to food. The talk isn't about hot restaurants, new trends or their latest gluten-free recipe. It's about grocery shopping strategy, how to pinch pennies and what is the latest dish the kids loved.

If you're a mom who cooks, the next meal is never more than a couple of hours away, so it's only natural that we swap tips and ideas. If any of you can better explain this, please send the memo to my husband, who doesn't understand why I go to events called "book club" and "craft night" and come home with recipes and gossip.

One of those recipes that always comes up is my friend Dina's chip casserole. Under all normal circumstances, we are a group of moms who do not consider tortilla chips a main ingredient in any well-rounded meal. But there are exceptions, and this is one.

Dina received this recipe from a friend of hers named Kristin, and on the hand-written recipe card with worn corners and a smudge or two, she wrote a note: "The first reunion at Kristin's house for us. She made this but put it on the hot burner. The glass ruined it. So funny."

I'm guessing the glass dish broke under the direct heat, a phenomenon I first saw myself when I was about 8 and my dad tried to reheat leftover tuna casserole on the stovetop. Funny, indeed.

Take away these two things from this post: First, make this chip casserole. Second, jot down a little story about a recipe when you get it from a friend. Then, you'll have more than a family dinner favorite. You'll have a memory to last a lifetime.

Santa Fe Casserole
otherwise known as Chip Casserole

1 pound lean ground beef
1 package of Lawry's Taco Seasoning
2 cups of chicken broth
1/4 cup flour
1 cup sour cream
1, 7-ounce can of diced green chiles
1, 11-ounce package of tortilla chips
2 cups grated jack and cheddar cheeses
sliced green onions for garnish, if desired

In a medium skillet brown and crumble beef. Drain fat and discard. Remove meat from heat and add taco seasoning. In a small bowl combine broth and flour. Add the broth mixture to meat and heat over medium-high until liquid comes to a slow boil to thicken. Stir in sour cream and chiles. Turn off heat. Spread chips evenly in a 9 x 13 greased glass baking dish. Pour beef mixture over chips. Layer with cheese and top with green onions. Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Let stand five minutes before serving.

Notes: I left out the chiles and still loved the dish. I added a little avocado and tomato salad on the side. Next time I might use less meat and add beans to the meat mixture.


Erin M. said...

When Dina mentioned this recipe the first time, I knew my sons would love it. But I admit I'm embarassed when we're at the grocery store and Jackie asks loudly, "Can we have chips for dinner?" Serving a meal made of chips doesn't seem right. But I just focus on the protein and calcium -- and whole grains, right? -- in the meal. And how yummy it is. I reduce the sodium by using a homemade taco seasoning mix. I serve it with a side of southwestern slaw.

The cook in her kitchen said...

Mmm, Erin, Southwest Slaw sounds like a nice side for this. It is pretty darn tasty, and I will still contend that it's healthy than fast food!

Good Knights said...

though i have never made "chip casserole" i've heard SO much about it! one thing I always do that is surprisingly easy and quick and my kids love it...and...wait for it...it's HEALTHY...is roasted chicken. Prep time is no time at all, cooking time is the clincher 1/5 - 2 hrs. but it lasts for days and my kids love drumsticks. we make leftovers into chicken salad, enchiladas, or just eat the chicken plain with teriyaki and rice AND then I make broth out of the carcass and bones...it's brilliant, cheap and lasts so long I think folks forget about whole chicken!

love your blog btw ;)