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Tag Archives: mexican

Easy Enchilada Casserole

30 Apr

It’s almost Cinco de Mayo.  Time for something festive, delicious, and easy.  Like a  Mexican Pasta Bake.  Or, serve up this foolproof Enchilada Casserole.  No need to roll tortillas one at a time; just layer up the good stuff.

Enchilada Casserole 4

This Enchilada Casserole has been in my potluck repertoire for years.  It’s a sure-fire hit at parties.  When I made it for the fam recently, my finicky 6-year-old eater swiftly polished his plate off and reached for seconds.  To my happy astonishment, all my kiddos proclaimed themselves enchilada fans.  Who knew?

Enchilada Casserole

This Enchilada Casserole is hearty, hefty, and heavenly.  Dee-lish.  And unbelievably easy.   It’s piled high with melty cheese, savory meat sauce, and chunky salsa.  Soft corn torillas are layered within.  How can this not be good?

Enchilada Casserole 2

Ooh, let’s not forget the best part.  The sauce can be made the day before, and you can quickly assemble it when ready to bake.  I simply adore all food that can be done ahead of time.  In fact, this sauce tastes better as it sits overnight.  Bonus!

Enchilada Casserole 3

Enjoy, and happy Cinco de Mayo!

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RECIPE for Enchilada Casserole (one 13×9)

INGREDIENTS

Light olive oil
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 chopped brown onion
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups of chunky salsa (thicker the better)
1 can (1-lb size) refried beans
1 1/2 cups good enchilada sauce
1 cup sliced olives
18 (6 inch) corn tortillas, sliced in half
4 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese
sliced green onions for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Make the Sauce:  In large heavy skillet, saute onion and garlic with olive oil for one minute.  Add ground meat and cook until browned.  Drain if needed.  Stir in salsa, refried beans, enchilada sauce, and olives.  Bring to a boil, and immediately reduce to simmer.  Cook and stir for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

To assemble:  Layer half of the corn tortillas on bottom of a greased 13×9 baking dish.  Cover with half of the meat sauce.  Sprinkle on half of the cheese.  Repeat layers.  Cover tightly with foil, and bake 20 minutes at 375F.  Remove cover and bake another 5 minutes until cheese is nicely melted.  Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by Ortega

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Mexican Pasta Bake

26 Apr

Casseroles are an ever-popular dinner choice for busy people, not to mention great for bringing to new mommies and new neighbors.  It wasn’t until I moved to the midwest that I realized how prominent a role The Casserole enjoys around here.  I now have many favorites, ranging from breakfast bakes and brunch bakes to dinner bakes.

Here’s a sassy twist on casseroles.  We’re kickin’ it up with a Mexican Pasta Bake.

Mexican Pasta 2

This is such a fun change of scenery in the realm of pasta bakes!  My family loves taco nights, when we have a tempting spread of various goodies to fill our tacos with.  This Mexican pasta bake is almost like a taco in casserole form.  All the lively spices are seamlessly paired with pasta and baked to aromatic perfection!

Mexican Pasta

So, I totally realize we’re not talking authentic Mexican fare at this moment.  Hubby and I spent most of our lives in LA, and this really wouldn’t be found on any Mexican menu 😉  But this yummy dish is SUCH a super tasty way to change up your usual pasta bake routine!

Mexican Pasta 3

Ground beef or turkey, taco seasoning, salsa, and cheese…you just can’t go wrong.  I made mine with whole grain penne, but feel free to use any pasta you like.  Rotini, Corkscrew, or Mafalda… have fun with it.  Enjoy!

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RECIPE for Mexican Pasta Bake (8 servings)

INGREDIENTS

2 TB olive oil
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 (1.25 oz) envelope taco seasoning
1 jar (about 15-20 oz) mild chunky salsa
1 small chopped and seeded green pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano
12 oz uncooked pasta of choice
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/2 cup light sour cream
chopped cilantro for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Cook pasta in well-salted water to al dente only.  Drain (don’t rinse) and set aside.

In large heavy skillet, brown ground meat over medium heat.  Drain if needed.  Stir in taco seasoning, salsa, green pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano.  Bring to boil, stirring. Immediately remove from heat.

Meanwhile, combine cooked pasta with 1 cup of the cheese and sour cream and mix well.  Spoon into a greased 2-qt baking dish.  Top with the meat mixture and remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered 350F for 30 minutes.  Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from taste of home

Cantina Steak Burrito

11 Feb

Fast ‘n easy burritos have come a long way, in my humble book.  I recall a few crazy days in my childhood when my hard-working mom would hurriedly dish out quick bean and cheese burritos for our lunch.  Then, in high school, there were those interesting burritos in the lunch line.  And don’t forget college days when frozen burritos could be considered a well-rounded meal.  Nowadays, a burrito on-the-go means something completely different than what it meant back in the day. Cantina Steak Burrito

Today Hubby took one of our boys out for their usual father/son outing.  After their fun adventure, they sweetly brought lunch home for me.  This big Cantina Steak Burrito is what I pulled out of my bag.  A far cry from the to-go burritos of my youth.  I’m suddenly hungry.

It’s been awhile since we’ve been to Taco Bell, and we don’t do much fast food, but seriously?  After sinking our teeth into this flavorful burrito, we’ll go back for seconds.  It’s hefty enough to share if you’re willing, and filled with fresh ingredients that you normally wouldn’t expect on a drive-thru menu.  I want to try to chicken version, which Chef Lorena  shares her recipe for.

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Did I say hefty?  Savory pieces of steak, tender rice, black beans, roasted corn, guacamole, and creamy cilantro-lime sauce.   Tucked snugly in a big, chewy, flour tortilla that’s browned on the exterior.

When Hubby heard my “mmm,” he wanted a bite of my lunch.

Cantina Steak Burrito 3

Huh.  The little guy somehow got his hands on half of my food.  But tomorrow’s his birthday, so I’ll be nice and share.  Just this once 🙂

This post was sponsored by Taco Bell, but all opinions are entirely my own.

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This post is sponsored by Taco Bell. See how great our steak is when you try the new Cantina Steak Burrito. Because when it comes to a great steak burrito, it’s all about the steak.

Fish Tacos San Diego Style

10 Jul Fish Tacos

Warm summer days have a way of invoking cravings for cool, simply good, and light fare.  Enter fish tacos.  Cool, simply good, and light?  Check, check, and check.   Back in So. Cal., we would often visit hole-in-the-wall eateries that offered fabulous fish tacos.  For some reason, we’ve yet to discover such fish tacos here MN, but if you know of a great little establishment in the Twin Cities, I’d love to hear from you!

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos: Tender white fish in crispy batter, fresh veggies, creamy dill sauce

Dreaming about fish tacos causes both hubby and I to grow hungry for them.  But since I don’t know of any good places around here to buy them at, I started cooking them up.  Lucky for me, these little guys are easy to pull off.  And they really, really hit the spot!

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos: How many can you eat?

I won’t say how many of these I eat at one sitting, but I will say Hubby eats more than I do, and my boys get lots of good fish (omega 3’s!) this way.

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos:  Wrap, roll,  and eat ’em up!

The crispy, breaded white fish blends perfectly with creamy dill sauce.  Fresh veggies and lime give it that light, summery taste sensation.  Homemade tortillas are of course the best, but store bought ones can easily be heated up between damp towels for a chewy and soft texture.

The breaded fish is the only part that needs a bit of work, but it is worth it.  Leftover fish can easily be heated up in the toaster oven the next day for more tacos or even fish burritos (more on that to come).

RECIPE (8)

INGREDIENTS:
Beer Battered Fish
Homemade tortillas or 1 package tortillas (corn or flour are both good)
1/2 head romaine lettuce, shredded
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
cilantro for garnish

For the sauce:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp ground cumin
2-3 sprigs fresh dill
1 tsp cayenne
optional salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
Make creamy dill sauce:  Mix together yogurt and mayo.  Stir in lime juice.  Stir in cumin, dill, and cayenne.  If desired, add dash of salt and black pepper to taste.  Set sauce in fridge.

Follow directions for Beer Battered Fish.

Warm up tortillas to soften.  Assemble fish tacos while fish is crispy and hot, and enjoy!

Summer Shrimp Ceviche

6 Jul

We’re in the midst of summer, and it is hot!  Shrimp Ceviche is, hands down, one of my favorite summer recipes.  It is one of those appetizers that is both refreshingly light and full of flavor.  Bonus:  It’s full of antioxidants and good for you!   Around here, we can eat so much shrimp ceviche that we’re nearly sated by the time we’re supposed to be digging into the main dish.  This ceviche is fabulous either as an appetizer or a salad by itself.

Shrimp Ceviche, cool and refreshing for summer

The best part about Shrimp Ceviche is that there is little to no cooking involved, depending on how you prefer to prepare it.  You can avoid the stove and let the lime juice do all your cooking.  However, I usually get the shrimp to just barely-cooked before throwing the ceviche together.  The reason I don’t let the lime juice do all the “cooking” is that the shrimp tends to become rubbery and tough when done that way.  If you cook the shrimp a little bit before assembling the ceviche, your seafood will reward you and stay tender.

Tender shrimp, lime, tomatoes, and all the fixings: Shrimp Ceviche

The glorious part of this dish is that it’s extremely flexible.  In fact, I can implement my Dad’s scientific cooking technique with this one:  just a dash of this and a pinch of that.  Configure this shrimp ceviche to your taste buds, and it will come out delicious every time.

Because I eyeball it whenever prepping Shrimp Ceviche, the recipe below is one of approximates.  Go ahead – toss in as much or little of the ingredients as you like and enjoy!

RECIPE (serves about 6, give or take)

INGREDIENTS
1 lb raw shrimp
1 red onion, diced
1-2 limes
chopped cilantro (1/3 – 1/2 cup)
2-3 large, vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped (or a bunch of cherry tomatoes sliced in halves)
1 ripe avocado
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
2-3 T butter or oil

DIRECTIONS
De-vein and remove shells from shrimp.  If shrimp is large, cut into thirds.  If small, cut into halves.  Heat up butter or oil in large skillet.  Cook translucent shrimp just until barely opaque.  This happens quickly, so watch carefully and do not overcook!  Once shrimp turns orange, immediately remove it from skillet to cool.  Set aside.

Generously squeeze lime juice over onions and coat.  Onions will “cook” slightly in the lime juice, giving it a softer flavor.  Dice avocado and coat with lime juice to prevent browning.

Combine shrimp, onions, cilantro, tomatoes, and avocado in a bowl.  Squeeze juice of 2-3 lime wedges over entire thing and gently toss to coat.  Now the fun part – generously sprinkle kosher salt and fresh back pepper to taste.  Add more lime if needed.  When it tastes good to you, it’s ready!  Serve cold, with crispy tortilla chips.

Wine pairing note:  Shrimp ceviche goes super well with a Sauvignon Blanc or Torrontes.

Source:  Chew Out Loud

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