Posts Tagged ‘Tex-Mex Cuisine’

Quesadilla Casserole Recipe

August 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Quesadilla Casserole

When I’m at the grocery store, I like to look around for new products on display. Oftentimes, grocery stores will put out new items at reduced prices to see how popular they will become. Sunday, I went grocery shopping with my husband Erik and came across this:

McCormick Recipe Inspirations Quesadilla Casserole spice packet

It’s a pretty neat idea, in that you don’t have to buy each individual spice, they all come in the packet for the recipe. If you can’t find it, that’s ok. I’ll post the spice list 🙂

In a word, this was excellent. I’d have another piece, but then I’d hate myself later on. Modify ingredients if you like.

Ingredients (serves 8):

  • 1 lb ground beef (I used lean Angus because it was on sale)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cans (8 fl oz each) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (8 3/4 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can (4 1/2 oz.) chopped green chiles, undrained (I used mild because I don’t like it to be too spicy)
  • 6 flour tortillas (8-inch)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (Monterey Jack is awesome)
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional: I didn’t use them)


  1. Brown beef and onion in large skillet on medium-high heat; drain. Add tomato sauce, beans, corn, and green chiles; mix well. Stir in all of the spices except Red Pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes.  Add Red Pepper flakes if desired.
  2. Spread 1/2 cup of the beef mixture on bottom of 13x8x2–inch baking dish sprayed with no-stick cooking spray. Top with 3 of the tortillas, overlapping as needed. Layer with 1/2 of the remaining beef mixture and 1/2 of the cheese. Repeat with remaining tortillas, beef mixture, and cheese.
  3. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 15 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Restaurant Review: Los Comales (Edinburg, TX)

August 6, 2010 Leave a comment

My coworkers and I went there for lunch, and it was pretty tasty. We all got the lunch buffet, which gave me the opportunity to sample a few of their dishes. The asado de puerco was most excellent, slow roasted and with just the right amount of spices in the sauce. Prices are pretty reasonable, and the service is very good.

Get there early, because it does get pretty packed and a mariachi comes by to sing about his lost loves.

Los Comales, Edinburg, TX

Migas… the fast and easy way like Grandma used to make

August 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Printable version here: Migas Recipe

If I had to think back as to what the very first thing I tried to cook, I would say it was Migas. My grandmother taught me at probably six years old so that I could make breakfast for me and my cousins whenever we’d stay at her house on summer vacation. My twin sister and cousins could not be trusted around the stove since we already had a few incidents where things ignited in the kitchen.

So that’s where my cooking career began… in my grandmother’s kitchen. My mother found out shortly after and wasn’t too happy with my grandmother, but she got over it.

I think the genus behind Migas is someone back in the day was trying to figure out what to cook for breakfast, but there was no bacon, sausage, frijoles refritos, nothing! Just eggs, tortillas, sauce, and that’s it. Voila! Migas was born… and it was good.

Migas Recipe (Basic)


  • Corn tortillas (usually 2 per person so it depends on how many you have to feed)
  • Cooking oil (canola or vegetable)
  • Eggs
  • 1 can Tomato sauce (I recommend Hunt’s because it’s tasty)


  1. Add oil into a frying pan and allow to heat up. The amount you use is your preference, but minimum would be 1 tsp.
  2. Shred up tortillas (I just tear them up into little pieces) and fry up in the pan.
  3. Add eggs. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add tomato sauce and let incorporate into mixture.

Add-ins: Some folks like onion, chiles, shredded cheese. It’s purely up to you and your imagination as to what you want to add in 🙂

Crockpot Charro Beans recipe – stickied post

August 1, 2010 11 comments

Printable version here: Crockpot Charro Beans

I’m often asked how this recipe came about. Well, let me tell you the story:

My mother has always made charro style beans in a large stockpot on the stove. They just always seemed to lack a certain something. Seasoning? Texture?

So when she gifted me with a medium-sized crockpot one day, I decided to attempt my quest at charro bean recipe creation.  The first step had to be the ultimate seasoning. Enter Fiesta Pinto Bean Seasoning. My local supermarket (in this case, HEB), stocks a pretty good selection of Fiesta seasonings, including the one I wanted to try. And so, the following recipe came about:

Crockpot Charro Beans


  • 1 piece salt pork, chopped up in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 lb pinto beans
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 3 green onions chopped (including the stalk)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (or you can add a can of Ro-tel for a little extra spice)
  • 1 heaping tbsp Fiesta Pinto Bean Seasoning (or whatever is local to you. I live in Texas, so this is the brand I use). If you look at the label, it calls for 2 tbsp. I find that this can make the beans pretty salty, so I reduced it down to 1. It really depends on your taste preference.


  1. Soak the beans in a bowl of water for about six hours. After they’re done soaking, put them in the crockpot.
  2. Add all other ingredients and fill crockpot with water until the water level is at least an inch above the beans. Stir it up a little with a spoon to get everything incorporated.
  3. Set on low setting and allow to cook for 8-9 hours. I normally get it going the night before and let them cook overnight. Makes me wake up hungry every time I do this 🙂

Charro Beans… love them 🙂


The beauty of these beans is you can freeze them, mash them up with some oil for refried beans, or put some in a bowl and eat them charro style. My dad swears charro style includes rice in the bowl along with the beans, but whatever’s clever.

It’s also important to note that you can alter the ingredients. if you don’t like cilantro, don’t use it. If you want them spicy, add jalapenos or even habanero peppers if you’re really gung ho about spice. It’s pretty versatile.


Making Pork Carnitas without all the grease and WITH the flavor

August 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Printable version here: Pork Carnitas

If you’ve ever had pork carnitas (shredded, deep fried pork) you know that the traditional way to make them is to deep fry them in lard. I don’t know about you, but this cowgirl has to watch her fat intake. So, is there really a way to make them WITHOUT lard WITHOUT losing the taste?



  • 1 onion
  • 3 lbs boneless pork butt (shoulder), cut into 2-inch cubes (I found that my local supermarket actually has it pre-chopped and labeled “Carnitas”)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 orange
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • kosher salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into three or four pieces
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 275 degrees. Split the onion into quarters. Set aside.
  2. Season pork chunks with 1 tbsp salt and place in a 9×13 casserole dish. The pork should fill the dish with no spaces.
  3. Split orange into quarters and squeeze juice over pork, then nestle the orange pieces within the pork.
  4. Add 2 onion quarters, 4 cloves garlic, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick pieces to casserole. Pour vegetable oil over surface.
  5. Result before going into the oven

  6. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in oven. Cook about 3.5 hours until pork is fork tender.
  7. Set strainer over large bowl. Using tongs, remove orange sections, cinnamon, bay leaves, onion, and garlic from pork. They won’t be needed again so you can dispose as desired.
  8. Transfer pork and liquid to strainer and let drain for 10 minutes. Transfer pork back to casserole dish.
  9. Using a flat spoon, skim fat from surface and add back to pork, then shred the pork into large chunks with fingers or two forks. Season to taste with salt.
  10. Turn on oven to Broiler setting and put casserole back in the oven to brown for six minutes. Remove casserole, stir up the pork with a spoon to expose new bits to heat, and broil again for 6 more minutes until crisp.
  11. Here is the result:

    Carnitas ready for tacos

    Now you can get a couple of tortillas, brown them in a pan or a comal and fill them up with carnitas. Garnish with whatever you like, guacamole, cheese, cilantro, onion, all are acceptable.


Garnished with cilantro and queso fresco. Yum.

You may think that adding a cinnamon stick, orange sections and juice, and bay leaves are unconventional, but they really did add to the flavor.

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