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Mexican Casseroles

Note:   The first two recipes are from Lo Mejor de la Cocina Hispanico Espanola, a cookbook project of the Godwin Middle School Spanish class students , with the help of their teacher Mrs. Gilta Engman. Our daughter was her student.

1. Impossible Mexican Pie

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cp onion, chopped
Chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, coriander, cumin to taste

1 cp Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 4 oz)
Jalapeno peppers to taste, or 1/4 oz can

1 1/4 cp milk
3/4 cp flour
1 t baking powder
3 eggs

1. Heat oven to 400 F. Grease pie pan.
2. Brown beef & onion, stir in seasonings.
3. Spread beef mixture in pie plate.
4. Sprinkle with Jalapenos and cheese.
5. Beat remaining ingredients in blender. Pour into pie plate.
6. Bake 25-30"

2. Gorditas Casserole

Note: The recipe could be meatless by adding some lima beans or other firm vegetable like broccoli, cauliflower, or winter squash.

1 lb ground beef
3/4 cp cubed potatoes, cooked
2 T minced onion
1/4 cp slivered or sliced almonds
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
4 cps crushed tortilla chips (about 5 1/2 oz)
3/4 cp Swiss cheese

Combine and simmer 15 minutes:
1 cp tomato sauce
1 T minced onion
1 t oregano
1 T wine vinegar
3 T olive oil
1 1/2 t chili powder

1. Brown meat and potatoes in oil. Stir in onion, almonds, salt and pepper.
2. Layer in 2-qt greased casserole in order: 1/3 sauce, 1/3 tortilla chips, 1/3 meat mixutre, 1/3 cheese.
3. Bake covered at 350( for 15 minutes. Remove cover and continue baking 20-25 minutes.

3. Mexican Tamale Pie

Note: A blend of recipes from the former Country Journal Magazine and an old hometown sorority cookbook inherited from my mother. For a vegetarian version, substitute 1 cup each black and pinto beans for the meat.

Or, skip the crust and try a lasagne version: lightly fry 12 corn tortillas and place them in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Blend a cup of ricotta or cottage cheese with an egg and 3/4 t of oregano. Spread the meat mixture, on top of the tortillas, add the cheese mixture and top with some mozzarella cheese. Bake as below. 

One epicurious.com recipe for Shepherd's Pie was almost identical to this filling!  This cook tried using leftover turkey instead of the beef and mashed potatoes for the crust.  It was passable, but less tomato sauce and more vegetables might have given it a better texture.  If you have a lot of time to spare and want to try something new, visit epicurious.com and find their Gourmet magazine recipe for Pork or Boar Tamale Pie. Or, see Pork Loin Roast.

For the filling:
1 lb ground beef chuck
1 lrg onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chpd
1 clove garlic, minced
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen whole corn kernels
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles (use fresh, frozen, or dried to taste--they have more flavor)
1/2 cp sliced ripe olives
2-3 t chili powder

Brown beef over med-high heat in large skillet. Drain off fat, add onion, green pepper, and garlic.
Saute 3-4 min. Reduce heat and add tomato sauce, 1/4 cp tap water, corn, chiles, olives, and chili powder.
Stir to blend, cover, and cook 10 minutes. Meanwhile,

For the crust:
3/4 cp yellow cornmeal
1 T flour
1 T sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2/3 cp milk
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 cp Monterey Jack cheese, grated

Combine all dry ingredients.
Stir in milk and vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 375
Transfer meat mixture to greased 2 1/2 qt shallow casserole.
Sprinkle grated cheese on top of meat mixture.
Spread crust on top.
Bake 30-35 min or til topping is lightly browned and casserole is bubbling.