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I love this dish! The spices are nicely balanced, not too spicy but a “just right” Mexican flavor that everyone likes. Together with the noodles (a Mexican vermicelli), the chicken and some cheese; it all combines to make a great meal, food storage or not!
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for pan
12 oz. (2 1/2 — 5 oz. boxes) fideo (Mexican vermicelli)
3/4 cup freeze dried onion flakes (rehydrate using 1/3 cup water) –or– one medium onion, chopped
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. oregano (preferably Mexican)
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1 bay leaf
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes (*or 1 1/2 cups)
1 (14.5 oz.) can chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 (12.5 oz.) cans chicken (* or 2 cups shredded), chopped, liquid reserved
3/4 cup freeze dried cheddar cheese (rehydrated using 1/3 cup water) — or — 1 cup shredded fresh
If baking in a sun oven, preheat the oven (30 minutes to an hour ahead of time).
Rehydrate freeze dried onion flakes.
Brush a large casserole dish with oil. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the noodles and cook, turning them, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the toasted noodles to a bowl. Set aside.
Add the (drained) onion to the skillet along with the garlic powder, coriander, oregano, chili powder and bay leaf. Cook over medium until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes. Add the cayenne pepper and cook until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the broth, toasted noodles, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes. While waiting for the noodles to cook, rehydrate the freeze dried cheese according to directions. Keep an eye on the noodles, adding reserved liquid from chicken to the skillet (as well as additional water if needed) while the noodles cook. When the noodles are tender, stir in the chopped chicken.
Remove the bay leaf. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish, sprinkle the cheese over top and cover loosely with foil. Bake until the cheese melts in a 350 degree oven (or sun oven), about 20 minutes.
Begin rehydrating the onion. Next, chop the chicken, remembering to reserve the liquid.
Brush your casserole pan with oil and (after heating oil over medium heat) toast the fideo noodles.
Transfer the toasted noodles to a bowl and begin the sauce again in the skillet. Once the onions have cooked with the spices and mixed with the tomatoes, add the noodles back in and bring to a boil for 10-15 minutes, adding reserved liquid as needed.
While occasionally checking on the noodles, go ahead and rehydrate the cheese. Remember not to use warm water, rehydrate 5 minutes (or less), and drain. Blot dry with a paper towel.
When the noodles are tender, add the chopped chicken. Transfer to the casserole dish and sprinkle with cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes (350 degrees) until all is hot and the cheese is melted.
Serve, if desired with Mexican crema (or sour cream thinned with milk). My best food storage replacement for sour cream is homemade greek yogurt, which would also be very good. I’ve tried reconstituting powdered sour cream to use (as you would here) but haven’t found one that tastes right.
- You should be able to find all of the ingredients for this meal at a regular grocery store, but if you can’t, the fideos could be replaced using vermicelli. Do what you can to find it though, the texture of the fideos is really nice in this meal. And while vermicelli would work in a pinch, I don’t think I’d go as far as replacing it with spaghetti.
- This dish would easily work as a Sun oven meal!