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Chile California Casserole

Chile California Casserole

The principle of serendipity tells us that we sometimes start out looking for one thing and finding another, different but better thing. Or sometimes we aren't looking for anything, but by accident we find something we've always wanted, even though we didn't know that we wanted it. Ever have something precious drop into your lap and think, "Thank you, God. I wish I'd thought to pray for that. It's what I really would have wanted had I known enough to want it"?  Well, you guessed it--we're pretty transparent here at VirtualTeaTime. This recipe started out to be made with a green chile sauce when the man of the house came clattering through the kitchen, saw what was going down and exclaimed, "Red enchilada sauce!!!" His long suffering wife agreed after some arm twisting and it wasn't long before this happy accident came out of the oven.

Need I say that it was consumed in short order after the pictures were taken?


1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 heaping cup of chopped fresh tomatoes
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
1/2 cup of tomatillos, chopped (tomatillos are like little green tomatoes that add a nice tang to the dish)
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
5 cups of cooked rice (Marie prefers brown rice, because it's more nutritious) 
2 cups cooked breast of chicken, chopped (see note below)
1/2 cup (about 8 large) green olives with pimientos, sliced up  (you can substitute black olives if you insist) optional
3/4 cup red enchilada sauce
1 1/4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (sharp makes a nice snap to the flavor).  Set aside the 1/4 cup for the topping.

I prefer to buy a whole chicken.  I cover the chicken with water, add seasonings, some vegetables, and cook it for about an hour or until cooked through.   I use the chicken breast for this recipe and use the broth and other parts of the chicken for another meal.  You may buy a rotissiere chicken if you do not have time to cook the chicken.


In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil.  Brown the onions (until transparent).  Add the tomatoes, garlic, tomatillos, and green pepper.  Season with salt and pepper and stir.  Cook for about five to 10 minutes until vegetables are cooked.  Remove from the pot and cool for about five minutes.

In a bowl, mix together the rice with the cooked vegetable mixture.  Add the chicken, green olives, enchilada sauce and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese.  Mix everything together.  Put into a greased a 9x9 pan (I use a vegetable spray).  Sprinkle with the 1/4 cup cheese.
Maybe add two or three whole olives on top for esthetic appeal.

Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for one hour.


There is another principle at work here. Synchronicity (which literally means "together in time") is a term used to describe amazing coincidences. We prefer to call them appointments of the Lord. For example, you might be in the position where you're making a cake and you're out of sugar, when your neighbor stops by on the way home from the grocery store--just to say hi--and just happens to have bought a bag of sugar. Well, Bob considers his arrival in the kitchen at just the time to mix in the sauce an appointment of the Lord. You can call it synchronicity if you want. But he's thankful it happened. He really had to control himself so he wouldn't eat the whole casserole at one sitting. Ooooh, is it good!!

By the way, it was Bob's loving wife who put the green olives in the recipe, even though she isn't overly fond of them. She knows how much Bob likes them, so she thoughtfully added them in. Thus they gave spice both to the casserole and to the relationship. Funny how acts of kindness and thinking of others multiply goodness like that.

Other recipes of note
Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches
Very Raspberry Very Merry Coffee Cake with Chocolate
Spinach and Bacon Quiche
Quadruple Chocolate Brownies
Banana-Apple Bread Pudding

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