Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cheesy Chicken Sour Cream Enchiladas (with Guac & Marg Bonus Recipes)

It's snowing here in Denver and I just enjoyed the last leftover enchilada to warm myself up! I've experimented with many recipes for sour cream chicken enchiladas, which was my favorite Mexican dish growing up in Texas, where Tex-Mex food is so good it will make you weep in your salsa. I think this is, by far, the closest to enchiladas n my memory.

Cheesy Chicken Sour Cream Enchiladas

Begin by turning oven to 350.

Bone a deli roast chicken or cook and shred whole chicken or chicken breasts to yield about 2 1/2 c. chicken, chopped or shredded. Put in a big bowl.

Soften a dozen corn tortillas by putting them on a plate, sprinkling with water and inverting another plate on top and microwaving about a minute and a half.

In a big skillet, prepare cheese sauce.

Saute 1/2 chopped onion (you can also add some chopped green pepper here if you like) and 1 minced garlic clove in a little olive oil.

Add 2 1/2 c. half-n-half to the skillet, and heat until simmering around the edges.
To this mixture slowly stir in about a cup of grated cheese, any kind you like. This is a great recipe to use up bits of leftover cheese.
Add 1/4 c. bottled picante sauce
1 t. cumin powder

Now, Greg doesn't like little "bits" of onion and "green things" in his food, so at this point, I blend the cheese sauce in a blender to make it smooth for him.

Then ladle about 1 cup of the cheese sauce onto your bowl of chicken and mix until chicken in generously coated. (Adding more sauce if needed)

Put an oblong Pyrex casserole at the ready, spraying bottom with nonstick cooking spray.

Put a couple of Tablespoons or so, of chicken-cheese sauce mixture in each softened tortilla, roll up and place in pan. When your pan is full, pour rest of cheese sauce over all.

Then, put dollops of sour cream (about 2/3 cup) on top of enchiladas, and using a knife
swirl through the cheese, in a pretty pattern. Finally top with one more handful of grated cheese. Garnish with sliced jalapenos and bits of sundried tomato.

Bake until cheese is melted and edges are golden.

Wonderful served with fresh guacamole, chips, salad and fresh margaritas!

Okay, recipe for quac and margaritas?

Here ya go.


2 avocados, peeled and mashed
1 minced clove garlic (I love those garlic presses for this)
Good squeeze of fresh lime (about 1 - 2 T.)
A pinch of sugar
Salt to taste
Seeded, chopped tomato if desired

Super Fresh Margaritas

Fill blender about 2/3 full with ice
2/3 c. - 1 c. white/clear tequila (better for those prone to headaches)
2 fresh limes, squeezed (if not very juicy, use more!)
1 big juicy fresh orange, squeezed (or 2 -3 seedless clementines)
real maple syrup or agave nectar to sweeten (this varues according to individual taste, but I don't like mine very sweet.)
(can also add 1/2 chopped fresh mango or 1 peach)

Blend until smooth, serve in salt-rimmed glasses and top each margarita with a squeeze of fresh orange or tangerine juice floating atop before serving.

These are very fresh tasting, with no corn syrup sweetener or artificial flavors. I am very prone to headaches from alcohol, but I can enjoy one of these with no ill effects.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Crispy Parmesan Eggplant Appetizers w/ Butternut Squash Marinara Sauce

One of my favorite Italian meals is eggplant Parmesan. Then my son Gabe assisted his friend, Cessna, who is studying to be a chef -- at a big fancy dinner. They made this very thin, very crisp, melt-in-your mouth appetizers that turned out to be maybe in the Top Ten Best Things I've Ever Tasted.

One eggplant makes a bunch. Great for cooking up while your guests are watching a ballgame or milling with you in the kitchen, tasting these amazing appetizers as soon as they come out of the pan.

I used Dave's Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce (purchased at World Market) which was amazing, but you can dip these in any of your favorite marinara sauces or even Ranch Dressing. Or savor without any sauce.....

Crispy Eggplant Appetizers

Peel and cut one eggplant in veeery thin slices. Try for 1/8 inch if you can.

Prepare your "batter" station with 3 bowls, near the stove top.

In Bowl One: put 1 c flour
In Bowl Two: 2 eggs, beaten
In Bowl Three: 1 c. panko bread crumbs (available on Oriental aisle, I just stock up on these when I am at World Market because they are much less expensive here); 1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese; 1 t. salt, 1 t. Italian seasoning, 1 t. pepper, 1/2 t. garlic powder.

Heat a skillet with 1/4 inch olive oil in bottom. Medium High temp.

One at a time, dip thin slices of eggplant into flour then egg (shaking off excess) and finally panko mixture. Fry until golden brown. Remove and let drain on a paper towel, taste to see if they need to be salted a bit (or not), then serve with sauce of your choice.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Beef Stroga-Becky: Easy Filling Meal for Holiday Company!

Just got back from a potluck dinner and when I went to pick up the dish I'd brought, it looked like somebody had licked the platter clean!

So here is my easy, cheap, crowd-pleasing recipe for Beef Stroganoff a la... moi. Serves 10 - 12 so it's a great go-to recipe when you've got a hungry group to feed.

I'm a huge fan of Reynold's Cooking bags, which you can get near the paper products at any grocery store. I discovered them when I took a job as a caterer years ago, around Thanksgiving time, and had to cook 10 turkeys. The cooking bags yielded a savory turkey everytime; falling off the bone tender. Plus no mess.

Enough with the 'splainin' ... here's the recipe!

In a large cooking bag that has been set in your biggest Pyrex or roast pan, put 3 pounds of lean cubed stew meat, 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix (dry), 1 can fat=free condensed mushroom soup, 2 cups water, 1 cup wine, 1 coursely chopped onion, 1 clove garlic peeled and cut in half.
Tie up the bag with the enclosed plastic tab, but don't poke a hole in the bag. I've not yet had one to blow up and this keeps all the juices inside.

Bake at 325 for about 4 -5 hours, or until the stew meat is tender. Take out of oven and let cool a bit.

In the meantime, put a big pot of salted water on to boil and boil a large package of wide egg noodles.

Then, in a large skillet, sautee a cup of fresh sliced mushrooms in a little olive oil until they are tender (you can use more mushrooms if you like).

Then carefully cut a hole in the bag of beef which has, by now, made its own gravy and pour into skillet with mushrooms. Add 1 T. brown sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Then add 1 1/2 c. sour cream (you can use fat free or low fat if you prefer).

Stir gently until sour cream is incorporated and just heated through. (You don't want to overcook at this point, or the sour cream can begin to break up... Just heat until it is hot enough to eat and then remove from stovetop).

Drain noodles, and toss with a little olive oil or butter.

Pour noodles in a big pretty casserole dish or serving platter. Ladle the stroganoff down the middle of the noodles letting the noodles "show" about an inch around the edge. Garnish with fresh or dried parsley or chives. If you want to give a nod to Christmas colors you can also sprinkle with a tiny bit of finely diced red pepper, just enough to garnish.

Serves 10 - 12. Which makes this a great recipe to keep on hand for big family gatherings at holiday time!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Two Southern Sides: Corn Pudding & Orange Glazed Carrots

At least once every two weeks, I bring home a big juicy roast chicken (usually from Sams) and since I don't have to cook the main dish, I can spend a little extra time on the sides.

Here are two of my favorite down-home country sides that -- along with a salad, green beans or broccoli --can sure give Boston Market a run for its money!

Corn Pudding
16 oz. frozen corn (I like Cascadian farms organic , gold & white corn)
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
T. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. half n half
(optional) 2 T. chopped chives
1/4 c. melted butter
1/4 grated cheese

In a bowl mix all the ingredients above, except for the corn and the cheese. Butter a round or square pyrex pan. Put corn in pan and pour egg mixture on top. Sprinkle with cheese. To speed up cooking time I like to microwave this (covered) for about 5 minutes, then finish in a 350 oven until cheese is melted and it is a little bit golden around the edges.

Orange Glazed Carrots

Peel about 7 big carrots and steam them, whole. I use a microwave proof bag for this.
Steam until just tender.
Pour any juice into a skillet, and place the carrots on a cutting board until they are cool enough to touch. Then slice them into about 1/4 inch slices.
Into the skillet with any carrot juice, plop a heaping T. of butter, 1/3 c. orange juice, 1 T. brown sugar. Add the carrot slices and simmer until the orange juice is reduced to a thick syrup around the carrots. Season with salt and pepper at this point, to taste.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A-ha Moment: Finding True North Again

As I was sitting in Starbucks yesterday, mentally grappling with fear that had kidnapped me hook, line and sinker; I experienced a one sip revelation. I have had these A-ha moments before in times of deep need, and had been praying for inner relief for two days, after tears and heartache and much wrestling over a couple of tough issues.

When A-ha moments arrive, they feel as though God has injected a thought into my head. And that thought -- a fresh perspective outside of the nonstop gerbil wheel of anxious thoughts -- gives the most instant and total relief that it feels near-miraculous.

So my Ah-ha moment yesterday was this. "All the pain you are feeling is coming from mentally meddling in business that is not your own. If you will only focus on the business labeled 'For Becky's Attention' -- the inner pain will stop."

So I did. And it did.

Almost as simple as that. I also had a good, long cleansing cry that morning that seemed to open my heart to deeper listening. Tears clean out a lot of pent-up toxins and cobwebs that block our ability to hear clearly from God.

Greg was out of town last night and so I bought Chinese food, and for once, got a "fortune" in my cookie that wasn't completely lame. It said, "Stop asking so much if you are doing things right, and ask instead, 'Are you doing the right things?'"

Again, most of my pain came from the angst of wondering if I were saying or doing the right thing to "help" someone else make the right choice, get better, or feel better or like me better. Rather than pausing to ask if I should be doing anything at all, or if, by taking on this mental task,I might actually be draining energy away from my truest calling?

Then it dawned on me that I had gone to meddling again. Feeling completely responsible to rescue, fix, solve the problems of people I could no more control than I could direct the movement of the sun. People who were, for the most part, not even asking for my advice, opinions or input. People who were grown up, bright and capable of making great choices all by themeselves for their very own lives.

I'd steered away from my personal North Star, and that always causes pain.

When I lost everything after an excrutiating divorce, including very nearly my mind, I went through intensive therapy -- going every day for two weeks to try to sort out the remaining puzzle pieces of my life that had been blown to smithereens.

The therapist asked, "What do you want, Becky?" and I said, without hesitation, in an answer that surprised me, "I want to make one really good man happy for the rest of his life. I was born to be a good wife, to a good man." I am not even sure where that came from, and I knew that if this therapist asked other people the same question each of us would respond differently. But for me and my life, I knew my calling with such clarity in that moment when I felt I'd lost everything but my will to live and be happy. I knew that to love and be loved back by a very good man was the box God had labeled "For Becky's Attention."

Then, in God's grace and mercy, I married this very good man and his name is Greg.

Five years into our marriage we have one of the most unique, intimate, loving and fun relationships imaginable. Both of us are tenderhearted nurturers so we pour out a lot of our lives into other people who are going through the "What the heck happened to my life?" experience.

We have six kids (all married or paired up)and three grandsons, between us, and have enjoyed a lot of involvement with them.

Without realizing it,however, over time, I have lost my clear, razor sharp focus. I'd become a card carrying member of the Over-Caring Club. I've allowed myself to go from caring about others to wanting to fix, change, help or rescue them -- and often times without being asked to do so. Sometimes I AM asked to do so, but still tend to take on too much personal responsibility, internally. Instead of helping, I begin trying to fix. Sometimes this shift is totally mental, nobody knows how much emotional energy I'm using to figure out other peoples problems, except me. And God.

And all the while, there is this one very good man, this incredible gift from God, lovingly and patiently holding my hand through it all. And on his forehead is written, "For Becky's Attention" ...

Aside from knowing God, Greg is my clearest calling. Our marriage is my highest privilege. It is, perhaps, the best marriage I've ever observed or known and I do not say that with pride as if I have done anything to deserve it. I say it with awe, that I have been given this privilege.. to love and be loved back by the kindest, wisest, most loving soul I have ever known.

Supporting, tending to, and cherishing this relationship brings me the pure joy of knowing I am following my True North. If something,someday, should happen to Greg, which is my deepest fear, then God will give me a new box with "for Becky's Attention" on it and I'll get a new, clear focus.

But for now, I HAVE my heart's desire and my clarity of purpose. And with the love of a lifetime in my arms, then the rest of life --- other people's pain, a dozen problems ever-waiting to be solved, our grown kids and grandkids, the details of living --all of it will fall into place. Or not. It doesn't really matter.

I only know my own personal calling and it is deep and sure, and the compass for my life. I do not expect that my north star would be YOUR north star or anyone else's. I only know that when own my personal compass is set on toward my true north, I am home.

And when I forget, I am totally lost.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Winter's Take on Summer Dish: Hot Chicken Salad

One of my favorite dishes as a child was my mom's "hot chicken salad casserole" which is warm and tangy, creamy and crunchy and basically... irresistible.

The problem with making it for Greg is that the original recipe called for onions and chopped celery and those two ingredients are on his, "Please, for heavens sake, do not ever serve these to me!" list of most hated foods.

So I've modified the recipe, and it has become one of our favorite wintry meals. Served with a slice of hot bread, and maybe some fresh fruit, and dinner is done. You can bake in individual casseroles or in one large dish.

Hot Chicken Salad Casserole

2 cups, cooked chopped chicken (You can use chicken from a deli roasted chicken or saute diced chicken breasts, seasoning as you like. I like Tony's Cajun seasoning, and a little fresh garlic.)

Toss with:

1 small can chopped, drained water chestnuts
1 cup vegies, your choice! (I usually just toss in frozen peas and a couple of carrots chopped finely. My mom used celery and onions, sauteed but still with some crunch.)
1/2 c. almonds, slivered, sliced or chopped

Mix with:

1/3 to 1/2 c. good lite mayo
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. Ranch Dressing -- lite version

Add until it is the consistency you might like for any cold chicken salad.

Check for seasoning, but go light on salt because you are going to add cheese and salty chips as toppings.

Pour into a square or small rectangle pyrex casserole dish.

Cover top with grated cheese.

Bake at 350% until cheese is melty.

Pull out of oven and then top with a handful of well crushed chips, any kind you like. I like sun chips, some like potato chips, others corn or tortilla chips.

Put back in oven until chips are hot and crunchy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Secret of Happiness is Small Frequent Moments of Gratitude

(Tulips pushing up through the snow in my backyard. This picture always brings to mind a favorite quote: "In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invicible summer." Albert Camus)

"I come in the little things, saith the Lord." Evenlyn Underhill

If you want to know the secret to joy, it is not found in all the big things you dream about. For the big things, like a baby's birth or fresh-found love, or the dream house, dream job or dream car only come around infrequently, and who can afford to put their joy on hold for the rare Big Moments?

No, the secret of people who keep their child-heart alive is that they collect small joys one after another and pause, just briefly, to notice and be grateful. They collect small bits of happiness until they pile up, like a bowl of sea shells, or strings of pearls, or a bouquet of wild flowers.

Here's a poem from a very old book that I came across today, that reminded me to quit waiting for "When the Big Event Happens" ... as I have only to look around, in this very moment, this very room, to find joy.


I have found such joy in simple things;
A plain, clean room, a nut-brown loaf of bread
A cup of milk, a kettle as it sings,
The shelter of a roof above my head,
And in a leaf-laced square along the floor,
Where yellow sunlight glimmers through a door.

I have found such joy in things that fill
My quiet days; a curtain's blowing grace.
A potted plant upon my window sill,
A rose, fresh-cut and placed within a vase;
A table cleared, a lamp beside a chair,
And books I long have loved beside me there.

Oh, I have found such joys I wish I might
Tell every woman who goes seeking far
For some elusive, feverish delight,
That very close to home the great joys are;
The elemental things - old as the race,
Yet never, through the ages, commonplace

by Grace Noll Crowell

It is so easy to let concerns, worries and fears overtake our minds and overshadow the goodness in the present moment. I usually find that my peace is stolen the minute I ruminate over yesterday's mistakes or losses; or worry about some supposed upcoming disaster. When I can corral my mind to the here and now and look around for the small blessings that are mine in this moment, I get "centered" and relax and remember the happiness I'd temporarily forgotten. My biggest A-Ha moment of the past few months is that when I need strength to face today or tomorrow, the most reliable place to find it is ask God to open my eyes to the joy that is already mine. Then to hold, savor, give thanks for all the small blessings within my reach. When I am filled back up with joy, I find that strength comes, almost as a side-gift, by the way.

So I don't pray for strength as much as I pray for joy. Because when joy arrives, courage, clarity, strength and wisdom seem to just tag along as well.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Son, Marathon Man

"The Family that Runs Together, Has Fun to Together" -- My son Zeke with his wife Amy and their sons Nate & Titus this past Spring.)

"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure. "
Eric Liddell

In going through old boxes of things filed (or more accurately, "things piled") I found a poem that was a favorite of my son Zeke's in high school. I must have asked him for a copy of it to put in his memory file.

Tomorrow this wonderful man (who is also an architect, a fabulous husband to Amy, and father of two adorable sons) is going to run his first marathon! I should also mention that Zeke is one of the kindest most optimistic people I've ever known. I used to call him my sunshine kid because raising him was a walk in the park, easiest thing I ever did as a mom. Except for the fear of him falling off whatever mountain he was climbing, or the two times he dislocated his elbow playing football (known as The Kamikaze Kid), or that one time he fell through the church roof into the kitchen.

But all in all, I hope to grow up to be more like Zeke someday. Still, I know I will never, in a million years, have the perpetual energy he has been given!

In honor of Zeke's big race tomorrow, and the race of life that he's run so very well, I'd like to share this poem today. It brings a tear to my eye every time I read it because it is SO my Zeke, who gives everything he has to all he cares about.

I love you, Son! Run well, and feel God's pleasure in every step!


To James

Do you remember

how you won

that last race...?

how you flung your body

at the start...

how your spikes

ripped the cinders

in the stretch...

how you catapulted

through the tape...

do you remember?

Don’t you think

I lurched with you

out of those starting holes...?

Don’t you think

my sinews tightened

at those first

few strides...

and when you flew into the stretch

was not all my thrill

of a thousand races

in your blood...?

At your final drive

through the finish line

did not my shout

tell of the

triumphant ecstasy

of victory...?


as I have taught you

to run, Boy -

it’s a short dash.

Dig your starting holes

deep and firm

lurch out of them

into the straightaway

with all the power

that is in you

look straight ahead

to the finish line

think only of the goal

run straight

run high

run hard

save nothing

and finish

with an ecstatic burst

that carries you


through the tape

to victory...

By Frank Horne

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Easy, Healthy Pita Pizza

You have to laugh when you find yourself posting about Frito Pie and whipping up southern "butter queen" Paula Deen's strawberry cake, in the same week you are enjoying a healthy South African tea, tasting a Thai pineapple curry, trying a new Indian curry and experimenting with whole wheat pita to make a healthier pizza.

It's Redneck Mama meets International Food Aficionado. Or, The Schizophrenic Gourmet.

Even my choice in food reflects my desire to live in balance and moderation. So if I have a slice of strawberry cake now and again, I'll try hard to eat a a light chicken salad to even things out.

Here's one of my favorite healthier recipes that we enjoy for a busy day supper or quick snack It makes a super thin crispy pizza crust, and if you want to take it to go, you can fold it in half to eat the way they do in Italy! (Great for hungry teen boys on the run.)

Pita Pizzas

Whole Wheat Pitas (Whole Foods Brand preferred)cut in round, thin pizza halves with kitchen shears (2 pitas makes 4 pizza 'crusts')
One small can tomato paste mixed with 1 clove fresh pressed garlic, pinch Italian seasoning, a teaspoon of honey, dash salt
Olive Oil
Cheese of your choice

Toppings: Whatever you like!

For basic pizzas, preheat oven to 400. Sprinkle the biggest flat sheet pan you have with a olive oil. Place pitas on the pan and spread with "fancied up" tomato paste.(It will be thick but if you use sauce, it makes the pita bread too soggy.) Put on toppings and cheese and bake until crust is crispy and cheese is melted. Sometimes I switch to broiler if the bottoms are cooking too fast, but the cheese hasn't melted enough yet.

For Bar-B-Que Chicken pizza, mix a little bar-b-que sauce with the seasoned tomato paste, sprinkle with chopped roasted chicken, red or green onion and top with your choice of grated cheese (cheddar and mozzerella combo is nice)

For Hawaiian Pizza: Sprinkle with well-drained pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple, green onions and canadian bacon or bits of ham

For Curry Pizza: Mix some of your favorite Indian curry sauce (in a jar) with the tomatoe paste and top with chicken, well drained pineapple, onions and peppers. I really love Patak's brand of Jalfrezi Curry, a combo of tomato, peppers, coconut. World Market has a good assorment of Patak's Indian products.

For Margherita Pizza: Top with fresh mozzerella, sliced grape tomatoes and basil leaves

For Buffalo Pizza: Top with pieces of roast chicken that have been tossed in Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Sauce, and mixture of mozerella and blue cheese crumbles. Before serving, top with chopped celery

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Brain Science: Do We All Have the Same Amount of Free Will?

(Photo of Dr. Earl Henslin. Is that a kind face, or what?)

Be compassionate, as I am compassionate." Jesus (Often wrongly translated to say, "Be perfect as I am perfect.")

Yesterday, my friend, Dr. Earl Henslin, once again helped a dear friend of mine stuck in complicated emotional pain. She said, as every one says, after talking with Earl in person or by phone for a typical intake/counseling session, some version of ..."He is an angel. I cannot tell you how much hope I feel. How deeply heard and understood and encouraged I am. I have a plan and a future and I understand my brain and behavior. I get that I am loved by God, that I have value, but that I just need a little help to get where I need to be."

(By the way, if you or someone you love may want a phone counseling session with Dr. Henslin, please tell him or his assistant, Pam, that I sent you. Here's the contact information:

It was a giant privilege to write books with Dr. Henslin because I was able to learn so much more about a subject I've been intensely interested in for many years: the brain. To get to meet his colleague, Dr. Amen, and have my own brain scanned was a life-altering experience.

People sometimes ask me, "Becky, how can you and Greg be so compassionate to people who are hurting or acting out, emotionally?" And I say, "I've looked inside brains, including my own. I cannot argue with the truth that Dr. Amen and Dr. Henslin came to when they saw the wide variety of emotional pain, visible in people's brains.... that we do not all have the same amount of free will. This is why only God can look into our 'innermost parts' and see our brain chemistry; only He knows the stories behind our depression or our anger or addictions. Mother Teresa said, 'If I am too busy judging people, I won't have time to love them.' I feel like saying, 'If I waste time judging someone, I won't have time to get them to the real help they need.'"

These days Greg and I both feel like the "stretcher-bearers" who brought the paralytic man to Jesus for healing. Only, we're bringing them most often to Dr. Henslin, who is one of the most compassionate, brilliant therapists and life coaches we know. Well, that and serving them a cup of hot tea, or a warm meal, or a night or two in the "beach room" -- a place to feel loved and heard in our home. Greg and I offer compassionate "aunt and uncle" lay counseling:) But we know when a person needs more than a hot meal and an empathetic ear, and we are so very grateful to have Dr. Henslin as our top resource.

(To see my post on my brain scan experience click on or click on "brain scan" on the list of posts on the current blog page.)

I have a book of before and after pictures of Spect Scans that I often show people. You can also see many of these for yourself, in living color, at (Click on Spect Images)

One of the most impactful to me was a woman before and after PMS. During PMS, her cingulate (the obsessive & angry part of the brain) fired up like a literal red flame.
Her cingulate gyrus (the center of anxiety) was also aglow. Even the limbic system, (the area where depression is seen) was red hot. Then a week later, all is calm, all is cool. I have never speculated again, after seeing that scan, if hormones make us crazy. They affect every single neurotransmitter in the brain, and we simply are not functioning with our best brain with untreated PMS. And this is just one small example!

In my next post, I'll share an excerpt This is Your Brain on Joy that will describe Dr. Henslin's first encounter with Spect Imaging, fourteen years ago, and the risk he took to halt practicing therapy as he'd been trained, take 10 years to study the brain with Dr. Amen, and apply it to his counseling practice.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Favorite Chidhood Supper: Mexican Salad!

(Frito Pie)

Sometimes when a dish is so familiar, you assume that everyone has tried it at a Pot Luck supper or made it themselves,but since leaving Texas, I found that many people have never eaten good ol' Frito & Catalina Mexican salad. Like me, once they try it, they come back for seconds every time. There's something about that combo of sweet dressing, salty corn chips and fresh tomatoes and greens that is just... a winner.

I just had it for lunch... two bowls full!

Here's the basic recipe:

Mexican Salad

1 head iceberg or romaine lettuce, chopped
1 large tomato, diced
1 c. grated cheese
1 can Ranch Style beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups small sized Frito's brand corn chips

Toss with enough Catalina Dressing to coat ingredients.

Optional additions:

Green or red onions, chopped
black olives, drained
avocado, chopped
1/2 lb ground beef, seasoned & drained and cooled slightly

If you have leftover corn chips, another Texas favorite was Frito Pie. This was one of my mother's best "go-to" dinners, alongside a green salad, when she'd had a busy day and no time to cook. She used Wolf Brand canned chili, without beans. But you can use any kind you like.

Just coat square pyrex pan with Fritos, pour your favorite chili on top, add chopped onions if you like, sprinkle the top with cheese and bake just until cheese is melty. As a kid, I loved this with ketchup on top... but I may already be making my gourmet friends cringe as it is with this post:) '

If you have a big bunch of teens to feed at a outdoor party or sporting event, this is at great, warm, to-go dish for chilly autumn days or Fall Festival party. Just heat up the chili in a crockpot and when time to serve, put Frito's in bottom of disposable bowls, a scoop of chili on top, then let the kids put cheese, onions or jalapeno slices on top. (Or, my personal favorite, ketchup.:)