Enchilada Casserole Update – Even Better

I shared Jan’s much requested Enchilada Casserole recipe here last fall. But when I tried to make it, it just wasn’t quite right. It was delicious, but Jan’s was still better. So I went back to the source and picked up a couple of tips (and secrets). So I’m updating the recipe and adding pictures. I actually remembered to get the camera out when I was making it the other day.

Here’s the new version of the recipe. If you haven’t tried it – put it on your grocery list. Your family will thank you! The batch in the photos is a double batch. It reheats wonderfully.

Jan’s Enchilada Casserole

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion (chopped)

1 small can green chilis (chopped)

1 can medium-flavor enchilada sauce

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 soup can of milk

1/2 bag tortilla chips (crushed)

Grated mild cheese (cheddar or Colby Jack)

1/8 to ¼ teaspoon chili powder

1/8 to ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Brown ground beef with onion. Drain grease. Add in and stir together: enchilada sauce, green chilis, soups, and milk.

In a large casserole dish or Dutch oven, layer tortilla chips, meat mixture, then cheese. Repeat layers.

Bake at 350 until heated through. Time needed will depend on size of dish and depth of layers. Generally takes at least 45 minutes. It’s good to get the casserole bubbly hot and the cheese browning.

Notes: Can be made with a large can of green chilis. Recipe can be doubled for large groups.

We don’t usually use brand-names in recipes, so feel free to use any brands you like, but we prefer Old El Paso Medium Enchilada Sauce and Doritos chips in this dish.

Casserole reheats nicely in the microwave.

This casserole is not very spicy. For more heat, add some diced jalapeños or some hot pepper sauce.

If you love quick and easy Mexican food, check out 25 Quick & Easy Quesadilla Recipes. It’s full of delicious ideas and only 99 cents at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, or Kobo.

 

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Vintage Recipes: Hot Chocolate Drinks from Hershey’s

I have a 1979 edition Hershey’s Cocoa Cookbook and it is chock-full of chocolately deliciousness!

With winter officially here, I thought it would be nice to share a few of the hot drink recipes. Cold weather makes me think of hot chocolate as well as football games and falling leaves. It’s nice to have several easy, delicious recipes to heat up a chilly evening.

Favorite Hot Cocoa

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa

½ cup sugar

Dash of salt

1/3 cup hot water

1 quart milk

¾ teaspoon vanilla

Combine cocoa, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and blend in water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add milk, stir and heat to serving temperature but do not boil. Remove from heat then add vanilla. Beat with a mixer until foamy. Makes about 5 servings.

For a single serving, combine 1 tablespoon cocoa, 2 tablespoons sugar, a dash of salt and 1 tablespoon of water. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Add 1 cup milk and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla. Heat to serving temperature, stirring occasionally.

Spiced Hot Cocoa

¼ cup cocoa

1/3 cup sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ cup hot water

3 ½ cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Dash of ground cloves

Combine cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a saucepan then blend in hot water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add milk and heat to serving temperature, stirring occasionally. Do not boil. Remove from heat then add vanilla and cloves. Beat with mixer until foamy. Serve hot. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired. Makes 5 servings.

Hurry-Up Hot Cocoa

1 tablespoon cocoa

2 tablespoons sugar

Dash salt

Hot milk

1/8 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Combine cocoa, sugar and salt in a cup. Stir in hot milk to fill cup. Add vanilla and stir until blended.

Variations

Canadian Cocoa: Add 1/8 teaspoon maple extract.

Irish Mint: add 1/8 teaspoon pure mint and peppermint extract.

Orange Cocoa Cappuccino: Add 1/8 teaspoon pure orange extract.

Swiss Mocha: Add ½ teaspoon instant coffee granules.

Viennese Cocoa: Add a dash of ground cinnamon and a dash of ground nutmeg.

FamilyHolidayFavorites10-15For more delicious wintery treats, check out Family Holiday Favorites, only $2.99 on Amazon, here http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005WDHL20.

It features 50 tried-and-true show stopping recipes split into sweet and savory dishes with a splash of holiday illustrations to keep spirits high.

Light Fare for Summer Evenings

With the heat of summer, heavy foods lose some of their appeal. We naturally want lighter food. That’s what got me digging through a cookbook I picked up recently.

The Brand Name Light & Natural Cookbook is no light book. The one I picked up at a garage sale is a hardback and weighs about 5 pounds or so. Or at least it seems to.

I flipped to the salads section to see if there were any fresh new salads hiding there. And there were!

Black Bean Salad

3 cups black beans, cooked

2 cups corn, cooked

1/2 cup red onions, minced

1 cup red peppers, diced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup parsley

1 teaspoon chile peppers, crushed

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup flax seed oil

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine beans, corn, onions, red peppers, cilantro, parsley and chile peppers. Mix garlic, lime juice, oil, cumin, and sea salt. Pour dressing over salad and mix. Serves 7.

The recipe doesn’t specify, but canned black beans would work just fine here and make this salad very quick and easy.

Sesame Chicken Salad

3 cups cooked rice

2 cups cooked chicken breast, sliced

1/4 pound snow peas, sliced into strips

1 medium cucumber, cut into strips

1 medium red pepper, cut into strips

1/2 cup sliced green onion

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Sesame Dressing

1/4 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon peanut oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine all salad ingredients. Stir well then toss with dressing. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. Serves 6.

Dressing: Combine all ingredients in jar. Cover tightly and shake vigorously. Yields 3/4 cup.

Waldorf Chicken Salad

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup salad oil

12 dried apricots, moist packed preferred

4 cups bite-size pieces cooked chicken

1 apple, cored and diced

1/4 cup diced celery

1/4 cup minced green onions

1/3 cup sliced toasted almonds

Stir together honey, mustard, poppy seeds, lemon peel, juice, and oil. Add apricots and let stand 30 minutes. Remove apricots and set them aside. Add chicken and toss lightly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve: Add apple, celery, green onions. and almonds to chicken mixture. Divide onto lettuce-lined plates and garnish with apricots. Serves 6.

 

Bleu Blue Nachos For a Change of Pace

The local newspaper recently ran a recipe for Bleu (or Blue) Nachos and it caught my attention. I decided to give it a try. I just love nachos, but don’t have many variations that are terribly interesting. Sometimes I add sliced olives – Oooh. Sometimes not.

So the blue cheese sauce idea sparked my interest. Plus it called for blue tortilla chips. I just love those!

Here’s the adapted recipe. Give it a try for a change of pace.

Blue Nachos

Blue corn chips

Blue cheese sauce (recipe follows)

Bacon, chopped

Onions, chopped (Sweet onions or green onions are prettier)

Walnuts, chopped – optional

Place chips on a large plate and cover with the cheese sauce then add toppings. I used Vidalia onions because they are in season, but green onions would add a lot more to the color and presentation of the dish.

To serve for a party, set out cheese sauce in a small crock pot or other container that will keep it warm with a bowl of chips on the side. Add the toppings to the cheese sauce or set them out in small bowls also.

Blue Cheese Sauce

2 cups milk

1/2 stick butter

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon honey

5 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Heat milk in a saucepan until simmering. (I used skim milk because it’s what I had on hand. Whole milk would doubtless make a richer sauce, but the skim milk worked just fine.)

Add pepper, honey and cheese and cook on low heat until cheese has melted.

In a separate sauté pan, heat the butter until it melts, then stir in flour to make a roux. Cook the roux for a few minutes on low heat.

Add roux to milk mixture a little at a time, whisking to blend and thicken the cheese sauce. Continue adding roux until the desired thickness is reached.

This recipe made enough sauce for 2 big platters of nachos with generous sauce and toppings.

For more great party food ideas, check out Touchdown Treats: Quick & Easy Dips and Cheese Ball Recipes for a Winning Party. It is currently free online for a limited time promotion. Pick up a copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo or Smashwords.

The Summer Harvest Yet to Come

The Ranting Chef visited and liked our blog, so we decideed to take a gander at his blog. This delicious-looking shrimp and tomato salad recipe looked so good that we had to tell you about it.

With summer just around the corner, a new salad recipe is always welcome!

Click the link below to see the recipe with several photos. Yum.

The Summer Harvest Yet to Come.

Gourmet Ice Pops for Kids and Adults – New Release

Our latest cookbook is out just in time to beat the heat of summer. Gourmet Ice Pops for Kids and Adults is a fun, illustrated cookbook filled with great ideas for frozen treats.

There are few treats more satisfying than a frozen popsicle on a sunny day. But why eat the boring same-old pops from the grocery store? They tend to be filled with sugar, corn syrup, and chemicals.

Making your own ice pops is quick and easy and it opens the doors to a world of great flavors. When making pops yourself, you can be sure to only include healthy ingredients or adjust recipes to include your kids’ favorite foods or to eliminate an ingredient your kids just won’t eat.

Although they are a dessert item, by creating pops make from fresh fruits, fruit juices, yogurts and natural sweeteners like honey, you can indulge in delicious treats that are still very healthy!

Ice Pops can be decadent and heavy, but many of the recipes included here are light and healthy. Starting with juices or teas, many of these delicious pops are low calorie and low fat or even no fat! (Don’t worry, we’ve included plenty of naughty Pops as well.)

This book is full of recipes and ideas for delicious, gourmet ice pops, divided into 3 sections — kids favorites, gourmet flavors, and adults only (recipes with alcoholic ingredients). Skim through the Table of Contents and you’re sure to find your new favorite!

Gourmet Ice Pops includes more than 50 delicious recipes with tips and notes to help you create your own variations! Includes color photos and illustrations to make the book more entertaining plus a hyperlinked table of contents for ease of use.

Currently available for only $2.99, exclusively at Amazon.