Mexican Cornbread Casserole

Mexican Cornbread Casserole platedHappy Cinco de Mayo! This recipe is like a mash up of my Mexican Casserole and a tamale pie recipe I’ve tried in the past. And for my fellow home cooks who like quick recipes, the 35 minutes baking time is the longest you have to wait.  I love shortcuts, so if you do not have all the required spices in your cupboards you can also use a packet of taco seasoning. Since there is only two of us at home to eat this, I used half the meat and only one box of the Jiffy cornbread mix and an 8×8 baking pan. Otherwise I used the same amount of all the other ingredients. For my vegetarian friends, omit the ground beef and add pinto beans.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 (8.5 ounce) boxes Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Mexican cheese blend; separated into 1/2 cup and 1 cup
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can black beans (15 ounce)
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 can (2.25 ounces) sliced black olives
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can (10 ounce) Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
  • 1 1/2 cup chunky salsa

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Meanwhile in a large bowl, prepare Jiffy cornbread mix by combining mix, eggs and milk. Stir well then add 1/2 cup grated Mexican cheese blend. Set aside. (If you like some extra spice, add a small can of diced green chilies to the cornbread mixture.)
  2. In a skillet add olive oil and cook ground beef over medium high heat until cooked through. Drain any grease. Add onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until onions are tender.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to the meat mixture in skillet. Mix well and remove from heat.
  4. In a 9X13 baking pan, add meat and vegetable mixture. Top with 1 cup grated Mexican blend cheese.
  5. Add prepared cornbread mixture on top of cheese layer. Be sure to spread out evenly.
  6. Bake in oven for 33-35 minutes or until cornbread turns golden.  Enjoy with your favorite beverage.

Mexican Cornbread Casserole

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Easy Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

chichen-fajitas-1Okay. I admit it. I am a picky eater. You will not find green bell peppers or yellow onions in my fajitas. I love every type of bell peppers except green. I will always substitute whenever a recipe calls for green bell peppers. As for red onions, they just happen to be my favorite type of onion. I always have them on hand. Don’t get me wrong, I like yellow onions too. But I ALWAYS have red onions. So feel free to substitute your favorite colors of the rainbow for this dish. You can even omit the chicken and use sliced portabella mushrooms and add other vegetables to make a fantastic vegetarian fajita.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper sliced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into strips
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons Mexican seasoning (chili powder, crushed red peppers, cumin, garlic powder, oregano and paprika)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • tortillas and your favorite fajita sides for serving
  • lime wedges for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  2. Place onions, peppers and chicken in 9×13 baking pan or dish.
  3. Drizzle and coat with olive oil. Sprinkle Mexican seasoning over dish. Top with lime juice. Toss to coat.
  4. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway.
  5. Serve with tortillas and your favorite fajita sides. Add lime wedge to each plate for garnish and extra lime juice if wanted.

Makes 3-4 servings.

chichen-fajitas-2

Frijoles Charros (Mexican Cowboy Beans)

frijoles-charrosI’ve been on a Mexican food kick lately. Whenever I eat something at any restaurant, I always think to myself, “I wonder what they used to make this?” I’ve had these beans numerous times at my favorite Mexican restaurant. And I finally decided to try to recreate their recipe, but of course make it as easy and simple as possible. They turned out delicious! I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. For my vegetarian friends, substitute with seitan bacon or use a few drops of liquid smoke and use vegetable broth instead of beef broth.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 4-5 slices of bacon, chopped into small strips
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Over medium high heat, add bacon pieces to large saucepan. Stir bacon pieces 2-3 minutes until mostly cooked. Drain excess fat from pan.
  2. Add diced onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro and tomatoes to bacon in pan. Stir until combined.
  3. Next add pinto beans and beef broth. Stir well and bring liquid to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Garnish with additional cilantro and serve as either the main course or a side dish.

frijoles-charros-pot

 

Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice

cilantro-lime-chicken-and-rice-platedI love a one pot dish. Less mess, less to clean. So keep it simple and stop there I tell myself. But alas, I always have to go an extra step. Why not make an avocado cilantro dressing to garnish this chicken with? You could make a double batch of the dressing and save the extra for your salads. If you are going to give yourself extra things to clean, might as well make it worth your while. Plus you have half an avocado left to use. Just saying….

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or broth)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, reserve a teaspoon for garnish
  • juice of 2 limes

DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Be sure to use a covered skillet for this recipe. Melt butter over medium high heat. Once butter is melted, add chicken and cook 2 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add rice and garlic to skillet and stir for 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add chicken stock, cilantro and lime juice. Stir until combined. cilantro-lime-chicken-and-rice-1
  4. Place chicken breasts on top of the rice mixture. Cover skillet with lid and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 25 minutes until chicken and rice is fully cooked and liquid is absorbed. cilantro-lime-chicken-and-rice-2
  5. While the chicken breasts and rice are cooking, prepare your dressing.
  6. Add all dressing ingredients to your food processor or blender. cilantro-lime-chicken-and-rice-3
  7. Pulse until smooth. Add more water or lime juice if needed. cilantro-lime-chicken-and-rice-4
  8. When chicken and rice are ready, drizzle dressing over chicken and sprinkle with reserved cilantro. Dress with sliced limes for more flair.

cilantro-lime-chicken-and-rice-pot

Shredded Chicken Tacos

chicken-tacos-flour-tortillasTaco Tuesday? It’s taco any day in my house. And when I have all the ingredients in my refrigerator, then I like to go all out and make it taco fiesta night. I like using warmed flour tortillas, but my son likes the corn tortillas. So I always have both types on hand. This recipe makes enough for 12 well packed tacos. Which tortilla type do you like to use to make your tacos?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup your favorite salsa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 red or white onion, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro, diced
  • 2-3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded Romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Mexican Crema to garnish (you can substitute with sour cream)
  • Cotija cheese to garnish
  • 12 flour or corn fajita sized (or smaller)  tortillas

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a covered skillet or pot, add chicken breasts, salsa and water. Turn heat on high until liquid begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45-50 minutes, or until chicken breasts become tender and shred easily. Shred chicken using two forks and set aside in a bowl.
  2. In another bowl, make a pico de gallo, by adding diced onions, cilantro, tomatoes and jalapenos. Then squeeze half of a lime into the pico de gallo and mix well.
  3. Add shredded cabbage and lettuce together in yet another bowl.
  4. Place Mexican blend cheese in a final bowl.
  5. Warm up tortillas. For the flour ones, I just wrap in damp paper towels and microwave for 30-45 seconds. For the corn tortillas, I heat up over my stove gas burners about 10 seconds per side and flip a few rotations until they bubble up a little and get char marks.
  6. Build your tacos. Lay down the tortilla. Add shredded chicken. Then add pico de gallo. Then some cabbage and lettuce mix. Then the Mexican blend cheese. Then drizzle some crema. And finally grate some Cotija cheese over the entire taco. Serve with refried beans and Mexican rice. Muy delicioso!

chicken-tacos-corn-tortillas

Taco Cups

Taco Cup FeatureDo you need a dish to bring to a potluck? Or perhaps just want to change up taco night? Try making these taco cups. With just a few ingredients and a couple of cupcake pans you can make these gorgeous bite size wonders. This recipe yields 24 taco cups.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix (1.25 ounces or 3 tablespoons of your own taco seasoning)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes , diced
  • 1 can diced green chilies (4 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 48 thin wonton wrappers
  • sour cream for garnish
  • green onions or cilantro for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Generously cover two cupcake pans in non stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Over medium high heat brown the grown beef in a skillet. Drain the excess fat when beef is done.
  3. Add taco seasoning, green chilies and 3/4 of your diced tomatoes to ground beef and stir to combine.  Turn off heat.  Reserve the rest of your diced tomatoes for garnish. Taco Cup 1
  4. Line each cup of your prepared cupcake pans with one wonton wrapper. Taco Cup 5
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of meat mixture. Taco Cup 3
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of cheese. Taco Cup 4
  7. Press down and add another layer of wonton wrapper, meat mixture and cheese. Taco Cup 6
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until cups are heated through and edges are golden. Taco Cup 7
  9. Add sour cream, reserved tomatoes and green onions or cilantro as garnish. Taco Cup Plated

 

Loaded Mexican Chicken and Potato Casserole

Mexican Chicken and Potatoes Casserole PlatedBrrr! It’s getting chilly outside. I love this time of year because making casseroles in a hot oven not only gives you a belly full of goodness, but the heat from the oven helps make the house nice and toasty. This recipe is yet another,”What can I make with the ingredients I have on hand?”  I really need to go grocery shopping soon.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
  • 5 medium russet potatoes, diced into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika (or regular)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (14.5 ounce)
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican Blend cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked, chopped bacon
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • sour cream for topping (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease 9 X 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. In a large plastic container with lid (or 1 gallon Ziploc bag) add paprika, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper and olive oil. Mix well.
  4. Add diced chicken and potatoes. Seal container. Shake well so all the seasoning cover the chicken and potato pieces.
  5. Add seasoned chicken and potato pieces to baking dish in an even layer.
  6. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and add diced tomatoes over casserole. Sprinkle cheese, bacon and green onions over casserole.
  8. Bake another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  9. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
  10. Serve with sour cream if desired.

Mexican Chicken and Potatoes Casserole