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Cooking with Rod

By Rod Cohenour

Mexican food is universal. The tantalizing flavors of beans, rice, and corn have combined to complement one another for centuries. Ancient Native Americans planted corn, beans, and squash (pumpkins commonly) together and referred to them as the Three Sisters. Rice, however, usually replaced the squash in the tasty dishes that graced their tables.

My sweet wife has created a dish using our favorite Southwest ingredients that tickles all our taste buds! Delicious, nutritious, and easy to prep. Why Christmas? It combines both Red and Green Chile Enchilada sauces for a New Mexico Christmas delight.

Try it. You'll like it!

Bon appetit ~!

Ms Southwest Christmas Enchilada Casserole

For Southwest Rice Base:

  • Butter flavored pan spray
  • Aluminum foil
  • 2 cups instant white rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Red Enchilada sauce
  • 1 (15 oz ) can of whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lg. Green Bell Pepper, diced fine
  • 1 lg. Red Bell Pepper, diced fine
  • 1 (7 oz.) can of Green Chiles, diced plus liquid

For Quick Enchilada Topping:

  • 2 pkgs DelMex Frozen White Meat Chicken Corn Taquitos
  • 2 cups Fiesta Blend shredded cheese

For Queso:

  • 1 can (28 oz) Los Palmas Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
  • 1 can (10.5 oz) Rotel tomatoes with green Chiles (include liquid)
  • 1 can (4 oz) chopped green Chiles (include liquid)
  • 1 brick Velveeta (32 oz) brick
  • 1 pkg. 8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)

For Garnish:

  • 2 cups Pico de Gallo (fresh diced tomatoes, onion, deseeded minced jalapeno, diced fine bell pepper, cilantro, squeeze of lime)
  • Sour cream
  • Green onions, tops, and bulb sliced in small pieces
  • Cilantro leaves (remove large stems) chopped

Instructions:

    1. Spray a large roasting pan (like that used for roasting a turkey, this recipe serves 8) with butter-flavored spray. Spray liberally on all sides and bottom to prevent the casserole from sticking. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. In a large bowl mix together instant rice, broth, and all ingredients listed for the Southwest Rice Base. Stir well and pour into the roasting pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until rice is softened but not mushy.
    3. When the rice base is done, arrange Taquitos on top, fitting so as to fill the pan evenly. Top with shredded Fiesta Blend cheese. Cover again with aluminum foil and return to oven. Bake another 16 to 18 minutes.
    4. While taquitos bake, melt the Velveeta cheese. Then whisk together green chile enchilada sauce, Rotel, green Chiles, and cream cheese. Whisk to blend well. Add to the melted Velveeta and heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. This is your Green Chile Queso.
    5. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Top with Green Chile Queso and return to oven for about 5 minutes. Let heat while the queso heats through and blends with the taquito-cheese layer nicely.
    6. Plate the casserole by spooning rice base plus taquito queso layers on each serving dish. Garnish with Pico de Gallo, sour cream, cilantro, and green onions.


Serve with a crisp salad and Tostitos, warm corn or flour tortillas, sweet butter, iced tea, or lemonade.


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