Recipe: Mexican Potato Casserole

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Gotta love those recipes that are born from “What am I going to cook for dinner tonight” and “Dang, I need to use up some of that 5 lb bag of potatoes” and “What do I have in the freezer???” And once again, this is a hubby-love recipe… as in hubby loved it. He ate a bit after us but he came and found me in the bathroom while I was bathing our boys and said “Oh my goodness. THIS is really good.”

And then he told me again after his second bowl.

And again after his third.

Yep. Score.

Mexican Potato Casserole

Ingredients

  • 5 or 6 medium sized yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can ROTEL
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken (or Cream of Potato or Celery if you are vegetarian)
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained
  • 1 1/2 cup colby jack shredded cheese, divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 5-6 dashes Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce (or similar)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Steam the potatoes on the stovetop until “al dente”. (Can I use that term for potatoes?)
  3. Meanwhile, stir the cumin, garlic salt, and pepper sauce in with the beans and mix to combine.
  4. Mix together the corn, cream of chicken, rotel, beans, 1 1/4 cup of cheese.
  5. When the potatoes are ready, mix them in with the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Pour the mixture into a 9×13 dish and cook for 17-20 minutes.
  7. Let cool and enjoy!

Recipe: Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup (Vegan)

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This one is partially for my husband who lovvvvvvvves anything I cook with Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce. And it’s also partially for my friend over at love.life.chocolate who has lost FIFTY pounds as a vegan!

Buuuuuuut, mainly it’s for me: because it’s EASY. And it’s all pantry/freezer stuff except for the bell pepper – although I have found frozen green bell pepper before, and you could chop them up and freeze them ahead of time if you needed to. You could also easily make your own beans and use fresh tomatoes if you wanted!

Taste-wise, it is reminiscent of my Easy Black Bean Soup… which is probably the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Well. Maybe not THE most amazing… but it definitely ranks up there in levels of awesomeness!

Anyway, I named it this because it uses a lot of the same ingredients that I used in my UNstuffed Mexican Style Bell Pepper Casserole.

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I prefer the ones that are fire roasted)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup frozen chopped onion
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped into chunks
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin

Instructions

  1. Dump everything in a large soup pot and stir to mix. (Don’t rinse or drain the beans or tomatoes)
  2. Bring to a boil and then simmer at medium for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Let cool for five minutes and DIVE IN!

I just LOVED this picture of the soup… and allow me to just gush praise over this bowl! My husband’s grandmother (Bernice) makes them and she might just be one of the most amazing potters on the planet and she just GIVES me these beautiful hand-crafted unique gorgeous bowls! They are some of my most cherished belongings… partially because they are so amazing, but also because they were formed by the hands of a woman who has spent hours praying over her family. Somehow that just makes them extra beautiful!

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Here is my psycho “this stuff is good” face for all to see. And, yes, I am eating in bed. The boys and I go in my bedroom during my husband’s guitar lessons for their TV time cause otherwise they get too loud!

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Recipe: UNstuffed Mexican Style Bell Pepper Casserole

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I purchased a bunch of green bell peppers at Sam’s last week intending to use them for stuffed bell peppers, but the more I thought about making stuffed bell peppers the more I just couldn’t muster up the energy to make them. They really aren’t that difficult, although the whole process of getting them to stand up never comes easily to me for some reason, but they are kind of difficult to eat. Plus, my bell peppers always end up a bit… soggy. And, well, that’s just plain ol’ gross. With this recipe because they only are in the oven for about 15 minutes, they still have a bit of crunch to them!

I remembered seeing a recipe for UNstuffed Bell Peppers, and although I couldn’t find it on Pinterest, I did find a couple of others that sorta reminded me of the basic idea, and then I made my own (vegetarian) version! It would be vegan if you just left out the cheese! I would love to try this with black beans as well, but we were out tonight.

A question for my experienced cooks: could I make this ahead and refrigerate it?

UNstuffed Mexican Style Bell Pepper Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (frozen is fine)
  • 3 teaspoons of minced garlic (jarred is fine)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes (regular would probably be okay too)
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn (frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce (I used tomato and basil but I’m sure any would be fine)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 6-8 dashes of Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 3 green bell peppers
  • 1 cup colby jack cheese, finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese chunks (if you want… we are feta freaks and so I put it in a lot of stuff where it doesn’t make “sense” but it always seems to be soooooo gooooooood!)

Instructions

  1. Cook rice according to directions.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  3. Lightly spray a 9×13 casserole dish.
  4. Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Saute garlic, onions, dried basil, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin until soft (about 3-5 minutes).
  5. While vegetables are cooking, cut and seed the green bell peppers. Cut into 2 inch chunks and arrange along the bottom of the casserole dish.
  6. In skillet, add fire roasted diced tomatoes and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes while the juices cook out a bit.
  7. Add in kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, 2 teaspoons cumin, and cayenne pepper sauce. Stir to combine and allow to heat through.
  8. Stir in rice.
  9. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of colby jack cheese lightly over bell peppers in casserole dish and 1/4 cup of feta cheese on top of colby jack.
  10. Spoon the vegetable and rice mixture into the bell peppers in the casserole dish.
  11. Sprinkle with remaining colby jack and feta cheeses.
  12. Cook at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until colby jack is melted (feta rarely looks melted).
  13. Serve and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes and then enjoy!

As soon as I arranged the bell peppers and saw how pretty it all was, I started to get excited!

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This step is really important I think because it lets some of the flavors come together without it having to spend a bunch of time in the oven.

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I could hardly wait when I pulled the dish out of the oven. It looked beautiful and smelled DIVINE!

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Recipe: Semi-Vegetarian Chickenless Pioneer Woman Chicken Spaghetti

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Okay, no laughing at my title. I had trouble naming this stuff!

The hubs and I have been really eating pretty light lately… well, more like rabbits, lot’s of healthy type stuff involving kale, parsley, and cilantro. He’s trying to slowly transition some of our meals into juicing (we’ll see how that works, neither of us are terribly keen on cleaning the juicer cause it takes forever, so that tends to thwart our motivation at times).

Anyway, I was just fixated on Chicken Spaghetti today (or, as we used to call it at church camp, Chicky-La-La). But, not eating meat again this year sorta gets in the way for having CHICKEN spaghetti. But then I started thinking about how many recipes I have “converted” from omnivore recipes to vegetarian (or at least semi-vegetarian… meaning there might be some animal product in there somewhere), and why not Chicken Spaghetti.

So, I searched for a recipe that used cream of chicken (cause, remember, I’m not a good healthy cook quite yet) and lo and behold when this recipe popped up from The Pioneer Woman, I took heed! So, I did almost exactly what she does only I switched out her chicken for mushrooms and black beans. But, really… look at her version, she has all these beautiful pictures of her chopping everything and laying everything out, etc. It was quite helpful to me (the amateur).

My husband was a BIG fan. As in… go back for seconds… twice. So, here we go…

Semi-Vegetarian Chickenless Pioneer Woman Chicken Spaghetti

  • 1 can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 5 Mushrooms, chopped into chunks
  • 3 cups Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
  • 2 cans Cream Of Chicken
  • 2 cups Shredded Colby Jack Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Finely Diced Green Pepper (this was a little more than 1/4 of a large bell pepper)
  • 1/4 cup Finely Diced Onion (I used frozen… wait, no, I just realized that I entirely forgot it!)
  • 1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained
  • 2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot (I used a chicken bouillon cube in the water I cooked the spaghetti in)
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper OR 10 dashes of Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Additional Shredded Colby Jack Cheese
Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook spaghetti, in water with a chicken bouillon cube, until al dente. Do not overcook. Reserve 2 cups of “broth” before draining.
  3. If desired, saute mushrooms in some olive oil for a few minutes until a little tender.
  4. In a large bowl, combine black beans, mushrooms, cream of chicken, colby jack cheese, green pepper, onion (if you remember), and pimentos and stir just until mixed.
  5. When spaghetti is cooked, stir it into the mixture.
  6. Add seasoned salt and pepper sauce (or cayenne pepper) and 1 1/2 cups of reserved “broth” to the mixture and stir until combined.
  7. Place mixture into a casserole dish (I sprayed mine just to be sure) and cover with remaining cup of shredded cheese.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (The Pioneer Woman suggests that if the cheese starts getting too cooked to cover it with foil).

She also mentions that you can cover and freeze up to six months, or cover and refrigerate up to two days! So, to my friends that are due with a baby in a couple of months… plan on having Semi-Vegetarian Chickenless Pioneer Woman Chicken Spaghetti for your meal!