Sunday, September 6, 2009

King's Ranch Chicken and Adventures in Letting Kids Cook

I always try to put the recipe first in my titles to help with organization, but let me first tell you about yesterday's baking adventure.

The Musician, who is a freshman in high school, fancies himself a chef extrodinaire. He loves to bake goodies for the family, but hates to clean up anything. That is basically the reason why I don't often let him in the kitchen. I hate cleaning up after him because he uses as many measuring cups and dishes as possible. However, yesterday, I gave him a stick of butter and a Better Homes and Gardens Baking Book and let him go wild. He decided to make snickerdoodles. He also decided to let Princess Pat help.

His patience with her and her zeal for cooking were very cute. She stood on a step stool while he measured ingredients. She got to pour some things in the bowl. It was going really well. He realized at the bottom of the recipe (note to Musician: read the entire recipe before you begin!) that the dough had to refrigerate for an hour before he could bake it, so there was a pause in the baking fun. He went off to the family room to watch a movie with his brothers and Princess Pat came to play with me. After the hour, the Musician called his sister back to the kitchen and of course she went running. I heard them banging pans and scooping dough. After about 15 minutes, he came to find me with a funny look on his face. Apparently, he had rolled the dough in cinnamon and sugar and placed it on the pans, but had been so sucked into his movie, that he left for a few minutes. When he came back 10 cookies were missing and Princess Pat was chewing fast. She has now earned the nickname "the Cookie Dough Kid." The rest of the family shared the 16 remaining cookies after dinner and the Musician learned to pay more attention to his cooking than the television.

On to the chicken recipe. Kings Ranch Chicken can be time consuming or easy depending on the ingredients you use. You can make the cream sauce from scratch using butter and flour or you can use cream soups. I opted for the easy version:

Easy King's Ranch Chicken
1 small bag (10oz) torilla chips, crushed
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel's tomatoes and chilies
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 small onion, chopped
1 green or red pepper, chopped
2 Tbls butter or olive oil
Cook the onion and green pepper in butter until done. Combine all ingredients except tortilla chipsand cheese in a bowl. Put 1/2 cup of mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish. Pour in 1/3 of the chips, top with 1/2 the chicken mixture and then 2/3 cup of shredded cheese. Repeat, ending with chips and cheese. Bake uncovered 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until bubbly all the way through.

You can substitute light soups and/or corn tortillas for the chips to save on calories or fat.

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Savings Ninja said...

LOL that's a great story! Your son sounds a lot like my husband in the kitchen, I tease him that his secret goal is to use every single pot, pan, and dish in the kitchen! It must be a male thing :)

And that chicken sounds delicious! I'm going to try that one, thanks for sharing.

~3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

I love recipes with a story - that's what makes them family favorites. Great idea on how to list them in the title! I'll make this during the cooler fall months.

Alice Audrey said...

What? No snikerdoodles recipe? Wait, you already did, right? Fun story.

Martha said...

Great kids cooking story! LOL! And I love your recipe! It sounds really good and so simple - we all know how I am with Simple Suppers for weeknights! Thanks for linking this one :-)

shopannies said...

I have never made this sounds very tempting and i believe the teens may love it so I will be trying

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