Sunday, August 26, 2012

Shredded Chicken in Peanut Sauce Tacos w/ Corn & Zucchini Sauté {#SundaySupper}

 This week was back-to-school week in our house.  The first couple days were a haze of dentist appointments, orientations, and shopping trips for school clothes and list of school supplies long enough to fill a whole school bus.  Wednesday marked D-day (for them) and mama-gets-her-me-time-back Day (for me).   By the time Wednesday evening rolled around, the kids were all pooped from having to wake up early and then endure a whole day of learning.  I was pooped from the glorious sense of quiet in the house non-stop craziness days leading up to Wednesday.  And what, then I have to make dinner at a decent hour on top of everything else?  Sheesh.
Okay, since a mother's (or father's) work is never done, I have to plan a few quick meals to get us through the majority of our weeknight dinners.  A few of my favorite short-cuts are:
  • Cooking up a large batch of meat and/or beans on Sunday.  Make a big batch of pulled pork or beef in the crockpot, and divide it into smaller portions.  Keep some in the fridge and some in the freezer.  Same goes for chicken, though I like to poach large batches of breasts and then store them in their cooking broth in the fridge.  Make a pound or two of beans and divide those into smaller portions, as well.  Throughout the week, use the meat and beans to make quick meals like tacos, quesadillas, sandwiches, omelets, salads, etc.
  • Cleaning and cutting vegetables and storing them (ready-to-eat) in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator.  Pull out veggies for snacking on raw, or add them to stir-fries or soups.  Sometimes I'll cut a few different shapes (matchsticks, coins, diced) if I'm thinking far enough ahead for certain "applications" I want to use them in.
  • Cooking large batches of grains to eat throughout the week.  From rice (for fried rice or to heat up and serve with a stir-fry or other dish) to barley (soups, salads) to couscous or quinoa.  Cook, cool, and store in smaller portions in the fridge.
  • Make a couple pitchers of different Agua Frescas.  Since it's still hot out, the kids always go straight for the fridge when they get home in search of a cold drink.
  • Bake a batch of cookies, bars, and bread.  Store them in airtight containers to add to lunches or use for after-school snacks for the week.  If you make a large batch of bread (up to 3 loaves), use one for toast and sandwiches right away.  Wrap one tight and freeze it for the end of the week.  Cut the other one into cubes for bread budding, croutons and bread crumbs, or to make a strata (put in fridge night before and bake in the morning for breakfasts).
  • Make a batch of either breakfast burritos or beans & greens burritos and freeze them.  This will make quick breakfasts and dinners for the week.
This particular meal goes together in 30 minutes (at most) if you've helped yourself out earlier in the week by storing some cut veggies and poached chicken breast in the fridge.  And to save yourself a little more time after the meal...use paper plates.  Not the most eco-conscious suggestion, but I admit it.  I use them when I'm just not in the mood for dishes.

Shredded Chicken in Peanut Sauce Tacos

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: blender simmer condiment entree chicken peanuts American Mexican

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes, cored
  • 2 scant cups roasted peanuts (unsalted or lightly salted)
  • 1 Tbs. peanut butter
  • 1 chipotle en adobo + 2 Tbs. of the adobo sauce
  • ~1½ c. chicken stock or broth
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ~3 c. cooked, shredded chicken
  • corn tortillas, warmed
Instructions
Place tomatoes, peanuts, peanut butter, chipotles and adobo sauce, and 1 cup of the chicken stock in a blender and puree until smooth. If sauce seems too thick to move, gradually add in a little more of the chicken stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour into a medium-large skillet (preferably something non-stick or well-seasoned) and add the shredded chicken over medium heat; stir to combine. Heat until sauce begins to boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and transfer to a serving platter. Serve with warm corn tortillas for wrapping into a taco. Add any toppings you like...cool, crispy lettuce is a wonderful contrast.

inspired by Mexican Made Easy
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Corn & Zucchini Sauté

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Keywords: saute side bacon corn zucchini Mexican American summer

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
  • 4 strips bacon, cut into ¼" strips
  • ~½ c. red onion, ¼" dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded, & chopped
  • 2 c. (from ~2 ears) fresh sweet corn, kernels cut from cob
  • ~1 lb. small zucchini, ¼" dice
  • small handful cilantro, chopped
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Instructions
Cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until it just starts to turn crisp, stirring, ~5 minutes. Lift out bacon with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. If there's more than a couple of tablespoons of grease in the pan, drain off any extra and leave ~2 tablespoons in the pan.

Add onion and saute until translucent, ~5 minutes. (The smell of onions cooking in bacon fat is enough to drive me wild. You?) Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add zucchini and corn and cook, stirring for another 3 minutes. Add in tomato and continue to cook for a couple more minutes, or until zucchini is tender, but not soggy.

Stir in cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss in bacon and serve.

adapted from Mexican Made Easy
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Do you have any time saving tips or quick meal or snack ideas for back-to-school (or any) time?  Feel free to share these in the comments and/or join the #SundaySupper group and our hostess for this week, Nicole from Daily Dish Recipes in our live chat on Twitter tonight at 7pm (Eastern)!  Until then, here's a list of more meals in 30 minutes or less.


Sundaysupper-clear