RECONSTRUCTED MEXICAN LASAGNA

A while back I found this recipe for Sour Cream Noodle Bake over at Food Network that I wanted to try and then realized we had a big move coming and that I didn’t have the exact ingredients so  I took quite a few liberties with this recipe and hubby loves it reconstructed!  So, I don’t think we’ll ever get around to trying her original recipe, but you can tell me what you think.

RECONSTRUCTED MEXICAN LASAGNA
1 pound ground chuck or sirloin
8-9 ounces tomato sauce, divided
Fresh ground Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 cups elbows or shells or any combo of
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cup small curd cottage cheese
1 large bunch green onions, sliced thin
1 cup grated medium cheddar cheese
10 ounce can Original Rotel tomatoes, DRAINED WELL
15 ounce can black beans, DRAINED WELL and RINSED
Salsa
Sour Cream

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 11×9 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • Spoon 2 spoons of tomato sauce into the bottom of your baking dish
  • Prepare pasta according to package directions to al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • While pasta is boiling, brown ground sirloin and half of the green onions, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste as browning.  Drain fat.
  • While meat is browning and pasta is boiling mix together the sour cream and cottage cheese in a medium bowl, seasoning with fresh ground salt and pepper.
  • Add in pasta and remaining green onions. Set aside.
  • Add remaining tomato sauce, drained Rotel as well as the drained and rinsed black beans to the meat and stir to blend well.
  • Assemble starting with the noodle mixture followed by the meat mixture and half the cheese and repeat.
  • Bake 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and heated all the way through.
  • Top with a dollop of sour cream and salsa.

NOTE: This recipe also works well with no bake lasagna noodles.  Just omit the pasta from the cheese mixture ad assemble like Italian Lasagna.

 

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CHICKEN CHILE VERDE

CHICKEN CHILE VERDE

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken, breasts and/or thighs
1 batch Fire Roasted Salsa Verde
1 large tomato chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
3/4 cup sour cream, divided
3/4-1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  • Spray casserole dish with NON-STICK cooking spray
  • Lay chicken pieces in bottom.
  • Generously salt and pepper chicken.
  • Cover with Fire Roasted Salsa Verde
  • Place a generous dollop of sour cream on top of each chicken piece.
  • Cover with grated Monterey Jack cheese.
  • Sprinkle with diced tomatoes and chopped cilantro.
  • Bake 45 minutes at 350°.

Fire Roasted Salsa Verde
My Source for awesome homemade verde sauce is Chris the wonderful cook, griller, photographer and Big Green Egg enthusiast. Check out his blog at NIBBLE ME THIS.  He adapted this from Steven Raichlen’s Planet Barbecue!

1 pound tomatillos, husks removed
1 Serrano pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
1 Anaheim pepper
1 large onion, peeled and sliced into thirds
3 cloves garlic, peeled and skewered together with a toothpick
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon bacon fat
3 ounces chicken stock
½ teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Get your grill cooking at about 450f.
  • Place the peppers and tomatillos on and sear them until all sides are blackened.
  • This should take a few minutes per side. Remove and place them into a plastic bag for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, grill the onion and garlic until browned (about 4 minutes a side for the onion, 1-2 for the garlic) and remove from heat.
  • Skin, seed, and dice the peppers.
  • Skin and quarter the tomatillos. Don’t be super picky about getting all the charred skin off, you want a little in there for flavor.
  • Quarter the grilled onions.
  • Place them all in a food processor and pulse them until you get a salsa like texture.
  • Heat the bacon fat over medium high heat and then add the tomatillo mixture for 3-5 minutes. You’ll get some thick “pops” as the thick liquid heats but keep stirring.
  • Mix in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, letting the flavors get happy together.
  • Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

BAKED CHICKEN TAQUITOS & RUSTIC CHUNKY GUACAMOLE

Hubby actually found this recipe over at Two Peas & Their Pod and requested I make them soon! Taquitos are just rolled up tacos. Her recipe calls for baking them which I adore since we just don’t do or need the fat, but don’t worry they still get nice and crispy in the oven!

Is there anything any more fun for an appetizer than a plate of FUN Mexican food? Don’t forget to top it with all your favorite toppings too. You can leave all the topping separate and do an appetizer bar for a party. The taquitos are the perfect appetizer or even the whole meal. The more toppings the better in my opinion. I’m going to make it again for Super Bowl! Her recipe is great the way it is, we just added a few additional toppings.

Hubby found this recipe just in time for my grocery shopping day too and I made them the next day for the NASCAR race – so perfect because I made them in advance and wasn’t in the kitchen during the race.

I did omit the step (changing it to brushing them with avocado oil) “Spray the taquitos generously with nonstick cooking spray” as I try to use very little chemicals in cooking and the spray just has an odd taste to me when used directly on food. And I added greenchile verde sauce, diced green onions and diced cilantro to the insides.

BAKED CHICKEN TAQUITOS
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

2 cups shredded chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup green chile verde sauce
1 bunch green onions, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or cheddar jack combo
20 corn tortillas *

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS
Salsa
Guacamole
Sour Cream
Diced tomatoes
Shredded lettuce
Chopped Jalapeños
Limes for squeezing
Chopped black olives
Chopped Green Chiles
Chopped Green Onion
Crumbled Queso Fresco
Finely shredded Jack cheese
Finely shredded Cheddar cheese

  • Preheat the oven to 425°.
  • Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the shredded chicken with the cumin, chili powder, salt, garlic powder, paprika, 1/2 cup green chile verde sauce, chopped green onions and chopped cilantro. Stir until chicken is well coated and everything is well distributed.
  • Add the shredded cheese and blend well.
  • Before you roll up the taquitos, place the corn tortillas in between damp paper towels and heat them up in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and fill quickly.
  • Place 2 tablespoons of the chicken and cheese mixture in the center of the tortilla and roll it up tightly. Place each tacquito, seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Continue rolling taquitos until the tortillas and filling are gone. You should have about 20 taquitos. Nestling the taquitos tightly keeps them from spreading during baking.
  • Use a silicone brush to spread a little avocado oil on the tops of the taquitos.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until taquitos are golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove from the oven and serve warm with desired toppings.

When I make up the platter, I top the taquitos with the toppings we both like and then do up a side bar for the toppings that we use differently.

NOTE 1*: This will make them easier to roll and keep them from tearing.

NOTE 2**: These tasty snacks can easily be made in advance.  You can even freeze the taquitos before you bake them. Lay the taquitos in a single layer, side by side on a baking sheet, cover with saran and freeze. When frozen, place taquitos in a freezer bag and freeze for up to one month. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425° and place frozen taquitos on a large baking sheet lined with foil or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes.

RUSTIC CHUNKY GUACAMOLE

4 large avocados (black in color, slightly soft to the press)
Juice of 1 large lime
Juice 1 lemon or tangerine
1 bunch green onion, diced
3⁄4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, chopped finely
1 large tomatoes, diced
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
finely chopped fresh jalapeno (optional)

  • Slice avocados in half. Discard the seed. Scoop all the meat into a medium bowl.
  • Add juice of one fresh lime immediately to prevent browning.
  • Use a fork and mash to desired consistency.
  • Add chopped onions, tomato, and cilantro, stirring gently to mix ingredients.
  • Add juice of lemon or tangerine.
  • Salt and pepper to taste. Stir just slightly, until incorporated.
  • Add jalapeño to taste.
  • Serve with your favorite tortilla chips for a dip, or use with your favorite TexMex meal.

NOTE: If you want a very creamy dip use a food processor. Otherwise doing it by hand gives you a rustic chunky guacamole.

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DURANGO CHICKEN

DURANGO CHICKEN
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can diced green chiles, drained REALLY well
1 green onion per chicken breast, minced
1 1/2 slices thin swiss or jack cheese
8 ounce package Old El Paso Roasted Tomato Mexican Cooking Sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter per chicken breast, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh fine bread crumbs
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Crush together the bread crumbs, chili powder and garlic salt until you have fine crumbs.
  • Add Parmesan cheese and blend well.  Set aside.
  • Pour sauce into bottom of baking dish.
  • Flatten chicken breasts – I like to put them in a large ziploc bag and use a rolling pin.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add a single layer of cheese on chicken breasts.
  • Top with green onions and green chiles.
  • Carefully roll chicken breasts, securing with baking bands. DO NOT USE RUBBER BANDS.
  • Roll each breast in butter and then the crumb mixture.
  • Place on top of sauce.
  • Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  • Plate chicken.
  • Ladle sauce over chicken.
  • Enjoy.

MEXICAN COBB SALAD with JALAPENO RANCH DRESSING

MEXICAN COBB SALAD
Bed of Lettuce
Grilled chicken breast, chilled and chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 avocado chopped
1/8 cup chopped green chiles
1/4 cup grated jack cheese
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
Juice of 1 lime

JALAPENO RANCH DRESSING
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups mayonnaise
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon crushed parsley flakes
2 tablespoons Penzey’s California crushed jalapenos
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

  • Whisk all together and chill overnight before serving

CHIPOTLE DR PEPPER SHREDDED PORK

CHIPOTLE DR. PEPPER SHREDDED PORK

Prep Time:  5 Minutes
Difficulty:     REALLY Easy
Cook Time: 6+ Hours
Servings:    18-20 Servings

1 Large Vidalia Onion
5-7 pound Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt
Freshly ground Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
11 ounce Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce
2 cans Dr. Pepper
1/3 cup packed Brown Sugar
1 batch Sauce Recipe below **

  • Preheat oven to 300˚.
  • Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Lay onion wedges in the bottom of a large dutch oven.
  • Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan fat side up.
  • Puree the peppers and the juice.
  • Strain the peppers to remove the seeds and skins.
  • Mix together the pureed peppers and  brown sugar.
  • Pour over top of the roast then pour the  Dr. Pepper over it all.
  • Cover and place in oven.
  • Cook for at least six hours, undistrubed.
  • Check meat; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it’s not  falling apart, return to the oven for another hour or until it is.
  • Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat.
  • Drain the meat in a colander and discard all but 1 cup of the liquid.
  • Add warm sauce (recipe below) to meat and coat well. If necessary use the 1 cup of liquid to keep the meat moist and juicy.
  • Keep warm until ready to serve.
  • Serve on warm flour tortillas topped with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, avocado slices, salsa, and whatever else you’d like.NOTE: You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it’s cold.  Then heat up the liquid on the stove top and return the meat to the liquid to warm up.

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**BBQ SAUCE
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup Smucker’s apricot pineapple jam
1 tablespoon Bragg’s Aminos
3/4 cup Tabasco Jalapeno ketchup
Fresh ground salt and black pepper

  • In a large sauce pan whisk together all the ingredients and bring to a SLOW boil, stirring frequently.
  • Reduce heat to as low as possible and simmer while the ribs bake.
  • Sauce will thicken during this simmering so stir frequently.

**NOTE:  If you prefer, a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce will work just as well.

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SOUTH of the BORDER CHICKEN WINGS

SOUTH of the BORDER CHICKEN WINGS
GLAZE
1 cup BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s Original)
1/4  cup light corn syrup
1 small can chopped green chiles, drained
1 bunch green onions, finely minced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Juice of 1 lime

  • In a small saucepan whisk together the BBQ sauce, corn syrup, garlic powder and cumin.
  • Stir in green chiles and onions.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. 
  • Whisk in lime juice and set aside.

WINGS
2 pounds chicken tenders
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Fresh ground salt and black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Line baking sheet with foil and spray with non stick spray.
  • Sprinkle garlic powder, salt and pepper on chicken pieces.
  • Arrange chicken in a single layer.
  • Bake 25-30 until cooked through.
  • Brush with glaze last 10 minutes.
  • Serve with remaining sauce and ranch for dipping.

JALAPENO RANCH (FOR DIPPING)
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups mayonnaise
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon crushed parsley flakes
2 tablespoons Penzey’s California crushed jalapenos
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

  • Whisk all together and chill overnight before serving

BEER BAKED BEANS
1 pound small white beans, soaked over night, drained and sorted
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
1 large shallot, sliced
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon honey
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 bottles Angry Orchard Summer Honey hard cider or Shocktop
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1 KNORR chicken gel bouillon
Fresh ground salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a large skillet cook bacon, reserving 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease.
  • When bacon is done, add onions, shallot and garlic to bacon grease sauteing until opaque.
  • Whisk together the beer, hot water and bouillon. Add to onion mixture and bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Add honey, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Add beans and return to a boil.
  • Transfer to baking dish baking until beans are tender and moisture is absorbed.
  • Stir in bacon just before serving.

My family added some of the extra wing sauce from above to the beans and LOVED it.

SLOW COOKER BARBACOA

A true Barbacoa uses parts of a cow that I prefer not to use, so when I ran across this recipe I thought it was wonderful. I think of this as a Mexican Sauerbraten. You do serve it shredded, but this was so pretty I just had to show you the before shredding picture.

SLOW COOKER BARBACOA
1/4 cup lime juice
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons cumin
3 teaspoons oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoons fresh ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup beef broth
1 medium Walla Walla onion, slivered
3-4 pounds beef chuck roast

  • Place the lime juice, vinegar, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, cloves, cumin, oregano, pepper, salt and cloves in a blender and pulse until smooth.
  • Add broth and pulse until well blended.
  • Place roast in slow cooker and pour sauce over top.
  • Cook on low 7-9 hours or until meat is tender.
  • Shred meat into juices.
  • Prepare rice 20-30 minutes before ready to serve.
  • Serve over rice.

RICE
3 cups water
2 cups uncooked Jasmine rice
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground sea salt
1/2 cup minced cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice

  • In a large saucepan combine water, rice, butter and salt.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer covered 12-15 minutes or until rice is tender and all liquid has been absorbed.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice.

CHILI COLORADO

Hubby and I have a local and fairly favorite frequent Mexican restaurant and one of his favorites is Chile Colorado which was good, but homemade is better!  We had the leftovers the next day with scrambled eggs.

Chili Colorado means chunks of BEEF, NOT PORK in spicy, sweet red sauce.

CHILI COLORADO
2 -3 pounds beef shoulder or chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1⁄2 cup Wondra flour
4 tablespoons avocado oil
5 teaspoons REAL chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon California sweet paprika
6 ounces tomato paste
2 cups water
Fresh ground salt and pepper

  • Coat beef cubes in Wondra flour, shaking off all excess.  This step is important because the flour also helps to thicken the sauce in the end.
  • Brown the beef in a heavy-bottomed pot in the oil over medium-high heat. Do not under cook. You want a good sear with a lot of color.  COLOR=FLAVOR
  • Whisk together the tomato paste and water. 
  • Add spices and sugar, blend well.
  • Bring this to a slow boil over medium high heat.
  • Reduce heat and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook over low heat slowly for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the beef is tender and beginning to fall apart.
  • Serve with tortillas and refried beans.
  • Garnish with lime and cilantro.

SLOW COOKER CARNITAS

I LOVE carnitas! This is one of the tastiest and easy recipes.  So add some sour cream, shredded cheese, green onions, guacamole and add it to your next TEX-MEX gathering.

SLOW COOKER CARNITAS
3-4 pounds pork shoulder, cut into several pieces
1 bottle green taco sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can original Rotel tomatoes
1 can chopped green chiles
Fresh ground Sea Salt and Black Pepper
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
1 cup water

  • Place onion pieces in bottom of slow cooker.
  • Pour Rotel tomatoes and green chiles over onions.
  • Add pork pieces.
  • GENEROUSLY salt and pepper pork.
  • Whisk together water and taco sauce.
  • Pour taco sauce over top of pork pieces.
  • Cover and cook 6-8 hours on high until meat shreds.
  • Remove from crock pot (reserving 1/2 cup of liquid) and shred all your meat.

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup liquid from crock pot

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Whisk together the milk and cooking liquid.
  • Place shredded meat on a cookie sheet.
  • Pour liquid over meat shreds.
  • Bake 45 minutes until meat begins to crisp.

Golden Blend tortillas
sour cream
shredded cheese
sliced green onions
guacamole

    DURANGO CHICKEN & I LOVE MY BAKING BANDS

    DURANGO CHICKEN
    4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1 can diced green chiles, drained REALLY well
    1 green onion per chicken breast, minced
    1 1/2 slices thin swiss or jack cheese
    8 ounce package Old El Paso Roasted Tomato Mexican Cooking Sauce
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 tablespoon butter per chicken breast, melted and cooled slightly
    1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup fresh fine bread crumbs
    1/2 tablespoon chili powder
    1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    • Crush together the bread crumbs, chili powder and garlic salt until you have fine crumbs.
    • Add Parmesan cheese and blend well.  Set aside.
    • Pour sauce into bottom of baking dish.
    • Flatten chicken breasts – I like to put them in a large ziploc bag and use a rolling pin.
    • Season with salt and pepper.
    • Add a single layer of cheese on chicken breasts.
    • Top with green onions and green chiles.
    • Carefully roll chicken breasts, securing with baking bands. DO NOT USE RUBBER BANDS.
    • Roll each breast in butter and then the crumb mixture.
    • Place on top of sauce.
    • Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
    • Plate chicken.
    • Ladle sauce over chicken.
    • Enjoy.

    PORK CHOPS with PEANUT BUTTER GREEN CHILE CREAM GRAVY

    I ran across a little blurb of a recipe in an old pamphlet and thought about trying it.  It was just weird enough that I figured it must really be good. I found it a bit plain when I first combined the ingredients and made some adjustments for us, but I’ll give you both versions (original in black with my changes in red) and let you decide.

    PEANUT BUTTER PORK CHOPS
    PORK CHOPS with PEANUT BUTTER GREEN CHILE CREAM GRAVY
    6 large pork loin chops
    1 stick butter
    2 cups peanut butter 1/2 cups JIF peanut butter
    seasonings to taste Hawaiian pink salt & fresh ground black pepper
    2 cups milk 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
    3/4 cup green chile verde sauce (Las Palmas or Old El Paso)

    • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    • In a large skillet melt butter over medium high heat.
    • Season pork chops with salt and pepper.
    • Add pork chops to butter and brown, searing both sides. Remove pork chops to a prepared baking dish and cover.
    • Bake 30 minutes.
    • Add peanut butter to butter drippings, stirring to blend well.
    • Add chile verde sauce, blending again.
    • Add milk blending together until you have a creamy gravy. Add whipping cream gradually blending until you have a creamy gravy.
    • Pour gravy over pork chops. DON’T DO THIS! Instead make this gravy while pork chops are baking.  Gravy will be creamier and tastier without going into the oven.
    • Bake 30 minutes.
    • Enjoy.