Cooking with Claire: Give casseroles another shot

“Cooking with Claire” is an introduction to dining beyond the dining hall using easy, fast and cheap recipes.

Now that you’ve settled into your apartment, taken a few trips to the grocery store and met a few new friends, it’s time to get serious with your meals. Below is an easy recipe to feed about six hungry people.

I think casseroles have a bad reputation for being boring, potluck style, mushy meals. This reputation is ill-deserved. Casseroles, first and foremost, are easy. Instead of cooking chicken in one pan, pasta in another, and a vegetable in another, a casserole combines all those elements into one pan. This means less pans to own and clean, and less timers to mind.

All of the ingredients are easy to find and fairly inexpensive. The most expensive ingredients are the chicken and the spices. You don’t really need to buy fresh cilantro, but you can usually buy fresh spices in smaller quantities than dried spices.

Here’s the recipe, courtesy of 12tomatoes.com.

Cornbread Chicken Enchilada Casserole

  • One and a half cup milk
  • One egg
  • Two tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • One (8.5 oz.) corn bread mix
  • One (10 oz.) enchilada sauce
  • One cup salsa (your preference)
  • One (4 oz.) can green chilies, drained and chopped
  • One (14 oz.) can whole kernel corn
  • One teaspoon ground cumin
  • One-eight teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Two cups cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • One-and-one-half cup Mexican four cheese blend
  • One tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 400˚ and grease a nine by 13 inch baking dish
  2. In a large bowl, stir together milk, egg, butter and cornbread mix until well incorporated
  3. Pour into baking dish and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until just set
  4. Combine enchilada sauce, salsa, green chilies, corn, cumin and red pepper flakes together in a bowl
  5. Remove cornbread from oven, poke the top of cornbread all over with a fork, and pour enchilada salsa mixture over the top
  6. Spread shredded chicken on top and sprinkle cheese over everything
  7. Return to oven and cook for another 15-18 minutes, or until cornbread is cooked through and cheese is melted
  8. Remove and let cool five to 10 minutes, garnish with cilantro and serve hot

This was the second time I’ve made this recipe, and it was just as good as the first. My sister visited me during the weekend and helped me make it. We only had one mishap during the preparation. The can opener we used was a little wonky, and my sister ended up with enchilada sauce all over her sweater. Sadly, she wouldn’t let me take a photo of it.

The recipe can be customized based on your spiciness preference. My sister and I used mild enchilada sauce and medium salsa. It was a good call.

Make sure your chicken is cooked, cooled and shredded before starting on the cornbread mixture. Chicken can be shredded with a couple of forks. The cornbread mixture looks thin in the pan, but it will add just enough texture to the final product.

The casserole can be refrigerated and reheated in the microwave.


Claire Galvin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at claire.galvin@uconn.edu.