Warm Up Early Spring Nights With Mexican Flavors

IN THE KITCHEN

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Spring may have arrived, but the weather will be on the unpredictable side for awhile yet. So, if there is a chill one evening this spring,warm things up with the flavors of Mexico via the Ortega Web site. Here is a sample of some of the more tastier sounding dishes the company recommends:

Stuffed Chiles in Ranch Sauce

Chiles Rellenos, stuffed chiles are zesty and flavorful when prepared with Ranch sauce. Filled with luscious cheese and coated in a rich beaten egg mixture, these chiles in a thick and chunky sauce will please everyone around your table.

Recipe yields 5 servings, taking 20 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to cook.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 small onion, peeled and chopped

1 cube chicken bouillon cube

1 small red, green or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1, 24-ounce jar Ortega Salsa - Thick & Chunky (Medium)

1/2 cup water

2 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces

1/2 teaspoon crushed dried oregano

2, 7-ounce cans Ortega Whole Green Chiles

8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1-inch-by-2-inch strips

3 eggs, separated

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions

For Ranch Sauce: Heat vegetable oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in salsa, water, bouillon, bay leaves, cinnamon and oregano. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until flavors are blended. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick pieces.

For Stuffed Chiles: Stuff each chile (being careful not to break skins) with cheese. Beat egg whites in small mixer bowl until stiff peaks form. Whisk egg yolks in small bowl until creamy. Fold egg yolks and flour into egg whites until just combined.

To Cook: Add vegetable oil to 1-inch depth in medium skillet; heat over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Dip chiles in batter until well coated. Place in oil; fry, turning frequently with tongs, until golden brown. Remove from skillet; place on paper towels to drain. Serve with Ranch Sauce.

Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas

With leftover cooked chicken, it's a snap to assemble these creamy enchiladas.

Recipes yields 4 servings. Preparation time is 25 minutes and cooking time is 15 minutes.

Ingredients

1 small onion, chopped

1-1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken breast meat

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1, 16-ounce jar Ortega Salsa - Homestyle Recipe (Mild), divided

1/2 of an 8-ounce package reduced fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)

8 (7 or 8-in) fat free or regular soft

taco-size flour tortillas

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Add onion; cook over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add chicken, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 3/4 cup salsa and cream cheese. Heat and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheeses are melted.

Spoon a scant 1/3 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place in 13-inch-by-9-inch (3-quart rectangular) baking dish; drizzle with remaining salsa. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese; cover. Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through and cheese on top is melted. Top with additional salsa, if desired.

Taco Casserole

Casseroles aren't the same old boring, soggy, hot dishes they used to be. This recipe offers both appealing taste and texture. Ortega seasonings spice up the filling, and layers of taco shells give it crunch.

Recipe yields 4 servings and can be prepared in 10 minutes. Cooking time is 35 minutes.

Ingredients

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

4 ounces Ortega Diced Green Chiles

1, 2.25-ounce can sliced ripe olives, drained, divided

1 package Ortega Taco Seasoning Mix -Regular

1, 4.5-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)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

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

Layer half of broken taco shells on bottom of greased 12-inch-by-8-inch baking dish. Cover with half of meat sauce; sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Repeat with remaining shells, meat sauce and cheese.

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

Nacho Dip

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef

3-4 packets Ortega seasoning

1 block of Velveeta cheese

1, 16-ounce jar of Ortega sauce chips

Directions

Brown the beef in a skillet and add the Ortega seasoning depending on how spicy you like it. Let it simmer and add the Velveeta cheese. Cover. Let cheese melt, stirring occasionally. Add Ortega sauce. Stir. Let simmer 10 to 15 minutes.

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