Do you like Mexican food? I sure do! Unless you are Mexican or eat in a Mexican restaurant what we prepare at home is what I call “Americanized” Mexican food. Remember all the taco casserole recipes that were popular in the recent past?
Mexican food has such a variety of flavors, colors, textures, and is just generally satisfyingly great! I have one friend who won’t eat Mexican food because she thinks it’s “too spicy” but to enjoy Mexican food you really don’t need a fire truck sitting by to put out the flames!
Mucho pleasure can be derived from eating a variety of spices, herbs, sauces, marinades and seasonings. Mexican food, even the “Americanized” version, fits the bill for food with great flavor. The first recipe, Pinto Beans Enchilada Stack, first appeared in Southern Living magazine, but I’ve added to and tweaked the original recipe. Flavor intensifiers include garlic, taco seasoning, onion and many of the optional suggested toppings.
Pinto Beans Enchilada Stack
Dulce De Leche Cheesecake
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake is wonderfully caramel. This recipe is from Nestle who makes La Lechera, their brand name for Dulce de Leche. Dulce de Leche is traditionally a mixture of milk and sugar that’s slowly cooked until the sugar caramelizes. In the past some have made it by cooking sweetened condensed milk in the top of a double boiler over boiling water for 40-50 minutes until it becomes thick and caramel-colored. That sounds like a lot of trouble to go to when there is dulce de leche in a can readily available at Walmart as well as other retail stores.
I prepared this recipe once in a chocolate crumb crust but I found that I prefer the way it tastes in a graham cracker crust. Either way, it’s heavenly!
- 1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 medium leeks, halved lengthwise, rinsed, drained, and thinly sliced (white parts only)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 (14.5 oz. can) chicken broth
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened & cubed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon peel (zest)
- 2 cups brown rice, cooked
- 3 cups chicken, cooked (cut in chunks the size you prefer)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Saute carrots, leeks and garlic in olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until tender.
- Combine milk and flour; whisk until well combined.
- Add milk mixture and chicken broth to the skillet; cook and stir until slightly thickened & bubbly.
- Whisk in cream cheese until melted. Stir in lemon juice and peel. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon rice into 2-quart baking dish, breaking up any clumps.
- Pour cream cheese mixture over rice.
- Arrange chicken chunks or cubes over rice mixture, gently pressing pieces in.
- Met butter and add to panko bread crumbs.
- Sprinkle panko crumbs over casserole.
- Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serving suggestion: a salad or vegetable is about all that's needed to make this "comfort food" casserole a complete meal!
If you’ve never tried Mexican food, get outside your comfort zone and try some soon!
Remember to Savor the Flavor!