Mexican Meals The Whole Family Can Enjoy

IN THE KITCHEN

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South-of-the-border flavors are a vibrant addition to our American culinary melting pot.

For that Hispanic heritage, we have to thank people like Maria Conception Jacinta Dominguez Ortega, otherwise known as "Mama Ortega," who presided over a family of 13 children in a small adobe home in California more than 150 years ago.

The flavors and textures of her homegrown, handpicked and homemade meals still taste great today, but are far easier to create -- and more fun to eat.

Pantry-friendly, Ortega Diced Green Chiles are ready to stir into your favorite casserole, cheese dip or egg dish.

Ortega's crisp taco shells are still made from real ground corn, but vacuum sealed to keep them fresh and to prevent breakage.

Ortega microwavable salsa and cheese bowls, taco dinner kits and microwavable nacho cheese mean a delicious snack or a hearty dinner is only minutes away.

So, gather the family at the table and enjoy your own fiesta of flavors.

Fiesta Nachos

Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 2 minutes.

28 tortilla chips

1 cup Ortega Salsa & Cheese Dip

1/4 cup Ortega Diced Green Chiles

1/4 cup Ortega Salsa (any variety)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

Place tortilla chips on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cheese and chilies.

Bake about 4 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with salsa. Serve hot.

Serves four.

Taco Casserole

Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 35 minutes.

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup water

1/2 cup Ortega Thick & Smooth Taco Sauce -- Medium

1, 4-ounce can Ortega Diced Green Chiles

1, 2-1/4-ounce can sliced ripe olives, drained, divided

1, 1-1/4-ounce package Ortega Taco Seasoning Mix -- Regular

1, 4-1/2-ounce package Ortega Taco Shells (12-count), broken

2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided

1/4 cup chopped tomatoes (optional)

1/8 cup sliced green onions (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 12-by-8-inch baking dish.

Cook beef, onion and garlic in skillet until beef is browned; drain. Stir in water, taco sauce, chiles, 1/4 cup olives and seasoning mix. Cook over low heat 3 to 4 minutes.

Layer half of broken taco shells on bottom of prepared baking dish. Cover with half of meat sauce; sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Repeat with remaining shells, meat sauce and cheese.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Top with remaining olives, tomatoes and green onions.

Serves four.

Original Tacos

Preparation time: 12 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes.

1 pound ground beef

3/4 cup water

1, 1-1/4-ounce package Ortega Taco Seasoning Mix -- Regular

1, 4-1/2-ounce package Ortega Taco Shells (12-count), warmed

Toppings: shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, shredded mild cheddar cheese, Ortega Thick & Smooth Taco Sauce

Brown beef; drain. Stir in water and seasoning mix. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 6 minutes or until mixture is thickened.

Fill taco shells with beef mixture. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and taco sauce.

Serves six.

Sweet & Spicy Fajitas

Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes

1-1/2 pounds boneless beef sirloin OR boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1, 1-1/2-ounce package Ortega Fajita Seasoning Mix -- Regular

3/4 cup Ortega Salsa (any variety)

1/3 cup ketchup

1 to 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

6, 8-inch Ortega Flour Tortillas

Sour cream (optional)

Shredded lettuce (optional)

Chopped tomato (optional)

1 cup Ortega Salsa & Cheese Dip

1/4 cup Ortega Diced Green Chiles

Cut beef or chicken into strips. (Beef is easier to cut if partially frozen, about 1 1/2 hours.)

Heat 12-inch skillet or wok over high heat. Add oil; rotate skillet to coat.

Add beef/chicken. Stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown; drain. Stir in fajita seasoning, salsa, ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until hot.

Serve in tortillas with sour cream, lettuce and tomato if desired, topped with salsa, cheese dip and hot diced green chiles.

Serves four.

For more recipe ideas and information on Ortega's new Grande Dinner Kit and Fiesta Bowl, visit www.ortega.com

From Family Features Editorial Syndicate

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