Spice Up for Spring-Green Enchilada Casserole

All the way home from work I was thinking about Mexican food.  I never got over in a lane where I could turn into any place to get it to take home.  So I had to make my own.

For some reason I bought some flour tortillas the other day while I was shopping.  I think I was intending on a chicken taco salad with the shell baked in some new tortilla bowl molds I bought.  (Another day!)  In the pantry I had all the fixings I needed to make my own Mexican flavored dinner.

When I get hungry for the taste of enchiladas nothing else will do.  All I had were flour tortillas.  I could make burritos or enchiladas; however I settled on this little casserole which now has provided plenty of leftovers.  I don’t usually use refried beans, but these also have the flavor or nachos with the beans.  So I have technically taken care of 2 hankerings I might have.

I used to make Nachos Grande on Sunday night.  A little labor intensive, but so well worth the taste.  Tostada chips spread with the beans (individually), topped with browned ground meat, green chiles, onions, tomatoes and cheese.  Broil until the cheese bubbles and eat them fast while they are still warm.  Andy would warm up the leftovers in the microwave.  That didn’t appeal to me.

I like the taste of raw onions on my enchiladas.  If you don’t, you can brown the onions with the ground meat.

Green Enchilada Casserole

Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork Sliders with Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw

This is my first time to participate in the Foodie Pen Pal.  It was fun to learn about another blogger and gather some things to send her that were of interest and some things to tell her about the area where I live.
The Lean Green Bean

I was matched with Angie.  Check out her story I Love Tangie.  She makes and sells homemade cleaning products.  (Like her own laundry detergent.)  She is into a recycled world to save our planet.

I must say I will read her news and try to be more conscious of my world.  I recycle what I can.  I don’t use spray cans.  But I did pollute the air with Aqua Net when I was a teenager.  In wild, windy West Texas you had to have something to paste that bouffant hairdo in place.  Oh my, memories!  We will save that memory for another time.

Even more exciting is the package I received from Krystin.  She lives in Edmond, OK. She has lots of opportunities for family entertainment in her area on her blog.  Last week it was all about Easter events for the little bunnies on the Saturday before Easter. Sell a Metro Home  I’ve learned a lot about Edmond, OK just reading it.

I need to go visit Krystin.  She also listed all the places for a little retail therapy nearby.  I thought Oklahoma was like the Drummond Ranch (Pioneer Woman) with miles of open space.  She makes it sound like she is surrounded by miles of shopping malls.  I can go for that.

She sent me a package with the best of Oklahoma “foody stuff”.  Some Scotch Bonnet Pepper Jelly for my spicy side; some bar-b-que sauce and gravy mix for a taste of great Oklahoma cooking, and some dried okra. (Cuz I mentioned I liked okra.)  If you haven’t had it, you should look for it in your whole food section of your Sprouts.  It is delicious!

Oh and did I mention she lives just minutes from an historic round barn? Aracadia Round Barn History   It’s on the historic Route  66.  Built in 1898 and restored in 1992.   This would be a great school field trip. It would be a little far for the kids in El Paso, but it would be amazing to see.  She sent me a post card with a little about it.  So I had to do some research on it.  You will find it very interesting – just like her site.

Edmond, OK Treats

Thank you, Kristyn for the great package and the geography and history lesson.  I’m always open to learning about something new and exploring new tastes.  I used the jelly in a Sweet and Spicy Cole Slaw for some sliders.  It was a great hit.  Here’s what I did.

Every other Sunday evening I meet with a Casa group (from my church) for a pot luck dinner and a study.  The pressure is on to come up with something good and different.  I’m usually counted on to bring a dessert.  This last Sunday I was in the mood for something different.  And I had made this pork which I could not possibly eat all by myself.  So I came up with this quick slaw and got some rolls and we had sliders.  I thought that would be different.

As it turned out there was no dessert.  We had fried chicken, Irish soda bread, a relish tray, stuffed mushrooms,  my pork and slaw and more bread and meatballs in a cream sauce.  We were all thinking heavy on the meat I guess.  It usually results in a rather well-balanced meal.  Next time I’m sure we will all resort to our usual offerings.  Normally we are very traditional.

Dr Pepper Pulled Pork Sliders

The pulled pork was so easy to make and smelled so good I wasn’t sure I would wait to serve it to have a slider.  But I waited.  I made the slaw to serve with these sliders.  Everybody loved it.

I used the Scotch Bonnet Pepper Jelly I got from Krystin (my March Foodie Pen Pal).   But you could use any pepper jelly or red chile flakes and Sweet ‘n Low for the sweet taste.  This is a quick slaw that sets up fast.  I think this would be good on almost anything.

Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw


Spicy Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole for Saturday Dishes

I am happy to be co-hosting this blog hop with Savannah from Hammock Tracks and Paula from Call Me PMC.   Each week we have a theme.  This week it is casseroles.

I am in Austin and visiting with my oldest daughter.  We invented today’s casserole together for dinner tonight.  We call it Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole.

Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole

If you are a foodie blogger share your favorite casserole with us this week.  If you are a food creator and looking to whip up a cozy family meal find your favorite recipes, and create your grocery list before you head out to the store.

To view all of the upcoming “Saturday Dishes” themes, click here.

Be sure to visit Hammock Tracks and Call Me PMC as we will each feature different posts from the previous week party.

Saturday Dishes

Also, please provide a link back to this post either on your parties page or in the post itself.  You can grab the button above if you like.

My featured blog for this week is: Miss Information’s Fish Friday Po’Boy.    My husband loved NOLA too and my oldest daughter is crazy about it.  What a fabulous recipe and I agree with her husband.  Mayo on both sides. But to each their own!

This party starts Saturday morning at 8AM.

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I feature all of my favorites from around the blogosphere at Weekly Rays of Sunshine on Saturday mornings.  Also, don’t forget to come to my Monday linky party to tell me what you did this weekend.
What'd Ya Do This Weekend Button


Yo! Philly Cheesesteaks

I love bread. I think I’ve said this before.  I had this roll and had to do something with it.  I could have put it in the freezer to make bread crumbs with.  Then I would have ended up deciding it was too dried out and thrown it away.  So the red peppers, onions and small flank steak just spoke to me calling out, “sandwich”.

My oldest daughter lived in Philadelphia for a long time.  When I went to visit the beautiful landscape, historic sites and wonderful shopping were highlights.  But the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich was the best!  I think it is the bread.  Nothing in Texas can compare to the bread.  As far as a sandwich is concerned, we do have delicious beef and of course our Tex-Mexican food can’t be beat.

Philly Cheesesteak

This is a quick fix meal.  I served the sandwich with a few frozen sweet potato fries I put in the broiler while I made the sandwich.  But a big batch of French fries is how I remember them from PA.   Enjoy!   It was one of the best I’ve had in a while.


If you haven’t had a chance come join the party.

Recipes and Ramblins with the Tumbleweed Contessa

Super Bowl of Chili

Are you ready for some football? If not, at least some football watchin’ food? I watch the game for the scores because I have to know that for a project at work I’m not allowed to talk about. I plan for the game for the food and my little project.


I secretly make chili all year long trying to find the best tasting recipe for this little challenge our family has each year and the cook-off we have at work. I’m not competitive or anything like that.

I have tweaked this one just a few times. I think I got it pretty good tastin’. Enjoy the party and the game!

Be sure to check out the all week party that we have for the Super Bowl.  There is some great stuff going on there.

2013 Superbowl and Chili

Quinoa Beet Salad

This is definitely a new favorite thing of mine.  Quinoa does have a lot of carbs but also TONS of vitamins and minerals for you.  So, where I would easily use rice or potatoes this fills in nicely.  It is also smoother and absorbs the flavors of what is being fixed more readily.  You will note that earlier I made chili with it.  It tasted like chili.  Now I am using an asian-orange-beet combination.  A lovely and healthy combination.  Enjoy this.

We are about done being healthy.  Pretty soon we will focus on SUPER BOWL food and Valentines Day.  Maybe some of this healthy stuff will make it in there though!

Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

This was a new one to me and I was dubious about how this would be for dinner.  It was a very rich and flavorful meal with the addition of sage and onions.  I have to say I am completely fulfilled with my 5 day vegetable only dinners.  I am really not missing the meat at all.  Try it!  A great way to work on adding in all those essential vitamins and minerals.

Stuffed Peppers and Skillet Roasted Eggplant

I was hungry for a meal I would have made my family – way long time ago.  I had a bell pepper and some ground meat and an eggplant.  Two out of three were healthy, so I decided to proceed.  I didn’t want to use the oven and wait.  I decided to try stuffed bell peppers in a deep wok pan and the eggplant in a skillet.  I got those good flavors I was thinking about, but a little quicker and in a much smaller portion.  When my family was all at home, I made a lot of food.  It has taken me years to whittle down my portions.  Some things don’t taste as good unless I make them in volume to feed five.

We didn’t eat leftovers back then.  Hank didn’t like those, unless it was a ham.  Later on Andy would eat leftover casseroles or anything he could put on a flour tortilla and warm up in the microwave.  I eat leftover in almost any fashion.  Until I get tired of it.

I still make Spicy Spaghetti Sauce and lasagna to feed an army and Vegetable Soup or Chicken Soup is down to about 5-6 servings now.  Those are always good to have on hand.

This meal was good for two meals for me.  Perfect, so I could get home from walking, take care of a few chores and warm up dinner before Grey’s Anatomy started. Your peppers will be tender and the rice and meat will have that good pepper flavor too.

Be sure to check out some updates from my new friends over at New Friend Friday this week.

Black Tie Stir Fry

A Guest Post by MiddleSister a What’s On Hand Dinner

Happy 2013!!! Tonight, I decided to clean out the fridge and call it dinner. With the mixture that I had on hand, stir fry was a sure deal, but I had to change it up a little. I didn’t feel like rice, and I had some bowtie pasta on hand. My husband always wants some red meat so veggie and pasta alone would not do. Everything else was thanks to a left over veggie tray, some frozen broccoli begging to leave the freezer and some veggies that were not looking to make it much longer and be as fresh as I would like them to be.

Sharing with:
Premeditated LeftoversInside BruCrew Life
Back for SecondsLil\'LunaGrowing HomeLove Bakes Good CakesHungryLittleGirlAdorned From AbovePhotobucketPint Sized BakerTotally Tasty TuesdaysWhite Lights on Wednesdays

Spicy Lasagna for Shine Supper Club

Spicy Lasagna – Fall comfort food for a crowd at its best!

I can’t remember exactly what spurred me on to make lasagna on this beautiful fall day.  I think it had something to do with a list of upcoming blog ideas and cooler weather.  But I did it anyway.  I weighed this on the scale and it totaled 16 pounds including the casserole dish (which is large).  Krista gave me this for Mother’s Day.  Isn’t that sweet?

Now I need to take some to Amy and her family and put some in the freezer for comfort food this winter.  I can smell it baking and it smells wonderful.  The fennel and Italian herbs make the whole house smell good.  I have the doors open.  I may even have a neighbor drop by to check it out.

I made the sauce the day before in the traditional spaghetti sauce pot.  It is always better if it can cool and be reheated.  Overnight is best.

I had to have about 3 uninterrupted hours to make it up and let it bake.  That is what I did with my Sunday afternoon.  I also washed up the dishes and cleaned every surface that was spotted with sauce.  Counter tops, stove and floor.  Where are my children when I need them?  They always say I use every pot and pan in the kitchen to prepare dinner.  Maybe they were right?

Lasagna is a tradition for Christmas Eve dinner for my family, but it feeds a crowd anytime.  It can be made ahead and frozen or refrigerated. Great to portion it out and put it away for a cold and busy winter day.

This is a tried and true recipe that everyone loves.  Hope you do too.


  • Salt for the water
  • 1 1/2 (16-ounce) boxes lasagna noodles
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage or remove the casing if in links
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (12-ounce) package mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons, divided
  • 1 recipe Tumbleweed Contessa’s Spicy Spaghetti Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 pound grated mozzarella

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Working in batches, cook the lasagna noodles until they are soft and pliable but not limp, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the pasta from the boiling water and immerse in an ice bath, remove and lay flat on a sheet tray to cool. I usually put a little olive oil on the sheet pan to keep it from sticking.

Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until brown and crumbly. Sprinkle in a pinch of red chile flakes.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.



Remove the fat from the pan and add olive oil along with 2 cloves of smashed garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Bring the pan to medium-high heat. When the garlic becomes golden and very aromatic, remove it from the heat and discard. Add the mushrooms and season with salt. Cook the mushrooms until they are soft, wilted and dark brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add about 6 basil leaves chopped or torn after turning off the heat.  Remove from pan and set aside.


In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, 1/2 the Parmesan, the eggs, and the remaining fresh basil. Add salt and mix to combine.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

In the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch or deep-dish baking dish, add a couple ladles of sauce and spread out in an even layer. Arrange a layer of the lasagna noodles to completely cover the sauce. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the pasta.  (I had to use my fingers to spread it evenly.) Place a layer of pasta going in the other direction as the first layer (this makes it easier to serve). Spread a light layer of sauce on the pasta and sprinkle 1/3 of the sausage over the sauce, repeat this process with 1/3 of the mushrooms. Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella and some of the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano over the veggies. Repeat these layers until all the ingredients have been used up or the pan is full. The final layer should be a layer of pasta on top covered with sauce and sprinkled with mozzarella and Parmigiano. Cover tightly with foil.

Place the lasagna on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until the lasagna is hot and bubbly, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing.  Note: It is best to make and bake the lasagna the day before. Heat it up again before slicing.

This sauce recipe is the same recipe I use for spaghetti, except I add sausage or beef (or chicken).  A meatless meal was not acceptable in my house for my husband.

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 28 ounce can Cento Tomatoes (puree)
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes +1 can of water
  • 1 can tomato paste + 1 can of water
  • 2 packages McCormick Thick and Spicy dry spaghetti sauce mix
  • ½ teaspoon dried red chile flakes
  • 4 tablespoons Italian dried seasoning herb mix (Tones)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon garlic grains or 1 fresh clove of garlic finely minced
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar

An additional can of water may be added, but this must be a thick sauce.

In a heavy-bottomed iron Dutch oven warm the olive oil and add the remaining ingredients.  Stir and bring to a low simmer.  Cover and cook about 1 hour, stirring occasionally to be sure the dried herbs don’t stick to the bottom.  Remove the lid and let cool.  Store in the refrigerator at least overnight before using.  It is ok to use it immediately, but the flavors develop and it is best left at least overnight in the refrigerator.

I’ve just opened the 2012 Cookie Exchange.  Take a look and add your recipe into the mix:

Cookies 2012


This will be the perfect recipe for the Shine Supper Club.  I can’t wait to share and see what everyone else is making.  Since it is sooooo big, I am also going to take it to:
Down Home Blog Hop The Mandatory MoochBarns and NoodlesFreedom Fridays

Thursday Favorite Things mop it up mondays