Side Orders: Everything for your plate in a skillet

Chicken enchilada casserole is one of many one-pot meals that can be made when you get home after a busy day. It's ready in a jiffy, and if you use leftover cooked chicken, you'll have it on the table that much soone
photo Anne Braly

After a full day of work, coming home and dealing with kids and homework, laundry and other household chores, worrying about dinner seems to be too much. And if you are making dinner tonight, chances are you'll be doing the dirty work, too - cleaning up all the dishes. So you'll be happy to know that it is possible to make a complete dinner using only one dish, save the dinner plates. One-pot dinners are the answer to a busy cook's prayers and appeal to most everybody.

But there's another sensible reason for making one-pot meals: Serving them from the same dish you've made it in saves you from having to wash one more dish. Bingo! It's heaven on a plate - or in a dish.

With a toddler at home and two stepchildren in grammar school, Chattanoogan Betsy Barrett is a busy woman. So, she says, one-pan dinners are her go-to meals at least once a week.

"We all like them," she says. "Me especially, since there's so little cleanup involved. And the kids love them because they can eat quickly and get back to what they were doing - hopefully their homework."

One-pan meals are similar to casseroles, so really any casserole recipe you have can most likely be converted into a one-pan skillet dinner. There's just something about serving from a skillet that gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling. It's all about a casual dinner and time with your family.

Chicken Enchilada Skillet is one of the easiest one-pan dinners out there. To make matters even simpler, if you don't have leftover chicken, buy a rotisserie chicken. It's perfect for this dish. The beans and cheese, along with tomatoes, have everything you need to make dinner complete - all in one pan.

Chicken Enchilada Skillet

12 corn tortillas, cut into bite-size pieces

3 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken

1 (10-ounce) can Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles (mild or hot, undrained)

1 (16-ounce) can refried beans

1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 cup shredded cheddar-Jack cheese

1 avocado, sliced thin

Place a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, and add tortilla pieces and cooked chicken. If your skillet isn't well-seasoned, add a little oil. Cook until chicken and tortillas are heated through, stirring often.

Pour the undrained Rotel tomatoes, refried beans, enchilada sauce and tomato sauce into the pan with 1/4 cup of cheese. Stir to combine well. If it's too dry, add just a little water. Cover, and cook 5 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese, top with the avocado, and serve warm.

That's all there is to it.


Thursday, Feb. 1, promises to be a tasty and memorable evening at Easy Bistro & Bar as chef Erik Niel and chef de cuisine Randy Gresham prepare an exciting night of wine tastings paired with bites brought to your table for Bordeaux & Bubbles.

The evening's menu will feature six wines from France and Spain:

» Phillipe Fontaine Champagne (sparkling)

» Chateau Lamothe Castera (red bordeaux)

» Chateau Grand Francaise (red bordeaux)

» Clos du Roy (red bordeaux)

» Domaine Escattes (red bordeaux)

» Chateau Faviere (red bordeaux)

This is an excellent way to taste new wines without committing to an entire bottle. Tickets for the 6 p.m. event can be purchased online at or by phone at 423-266-1121.

Contact Anne Braly at