Salads, side dish

Santa Fe Salad

I can’t beleive I have never posted this recipe. my daughter asked the other day if I could post this recipe to her Facebook Group for Recipe Share Wednesday. When I went browsing through the blog I did not find it. This is a classic Tills’ summer salad recipe that we have been making for over 25 years.

Back when we had our first house we had a picnic and one of my hubby’s co-workers brought this salad. We immediately asked for the recipe and it has been a summer staple. It goes together in just a few minutes after you cook the brown rice and has very easy ingredients.


2 cups cooked brown rice
1 16oz. can black beans, rinsed
1 17 oz can of whole kernal corn, drained
1/8 cup minced onion (use discretion)
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cnipped cilantro
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
2 teasopoons chili poswer
1 teaspoon salt


Combine rice, beans, corn and onion. Combine vinegar, oil, cilantro, peppers, chili powder and salt in a small jar with a lid. Pour over rice mixture, toss lightly. Cover and chill 2 to 3 hours for flavors to blend. Stir before serving.


Mexican Casserole

I know that it has been quite awhile since my last new post.  We have been very busy these past few months.  We spent spring break in Europe, we then spent a weekend in New York, attended numerous school functions as our son’s senior year came to end.  Our daughter graduated from college. Then came high school graduation this past weekend with his party at our house.  Now we are slowly get back to some sense of normalcy.  This recipe was good for those crazy week nights.  A little prep with a lot of flavor.


lb ground beef, cooked, drained
package (1 oz)  taco seasoning mix
can (11 oz.) whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, undrained 
1 1/2
cups shredded Cheddar-Jack with jalapeño peppers cheese blend (6 oz)
can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated Crescent Dough Sheet
  • Prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking Spray.  In a skillet,over medium high heat, cook and crumble the ground beef.  Drain.  Add Taco seasoning and can of corn (do not drain). Stir t

Tex Mex Black Bean Dip

We needed a little pregame treat and something to enjoy while watching the Puppy Bowl yesterday.  I dug out a recipe from about 15+ years ago for a low fat Tex Mex Black Bean dip that is quick to make and packs in the flavor and a bit of protein.  This is made on the stove and ready in about 15 minutes. 

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/3 cup bottled picante medium sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded reduced-fat Colby Jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish   
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add tomato and next 4 ingredients (tomato through beans); cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; partially mash with a potato masher. Add cheese, cilantro, and lime juice, stirring until cheese melts. Serve warm or at room temperature

One Pot Cheesy Taco Casserole

Here is another quick one pot meal for weeknights that is pretty tasty.  Hubby found this browsing on Pinterest from Mother Thyme and we decided to give it a try over the holiday break.  What I love about one pot meals is that you have your major dinner components in one dish and if you add a side salad, the meal is complete.    
The family was pleased and the bowl was empty at the end of the meal.  I guess this is a keeper.  
1 pound ground beef
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 ounce packet taco seasoning (or about 3½ tablespoons homemade taco seasoning)
2 cups water
1 cup jarred mild salsa
8 ounces uncooked rotini pasta
1½ cups shredded Mexican-style cheese
Optional toppings – chopped tomatoes, avocado, crushed tortilla chips, chopped cilantro

Preheat a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and season with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally until cooked thoroughly. Drain grease.
Stir taco seasoning into ground beef then stir in water, salsa and pasta noodles.
Bring mixture to a boil. Stir, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until pasta is tender.
Turn off heat and stir in cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with optional toppings if desired.


Healthy Beef Enchilada Pie


I remember a few years ago my hubby was at a training class and it was just the kids and me for dinner for about a week.  I didn’t want to keep doing the same old, same old for dinner while he was away.  I wanted to try new recipes that would be easy and that the kids would enjoy.  So I found this recipe from Betty Crocker, made some tweaks and made it for dinner one night and they liked it.  But then it got forgotten in the big binder of recipes until a couple of weeks ago.  So I whipped that up for dinner.  Hubby must of liked it because there were no left overs.
I think my children enjoy our cooking and have a couple of favorite recipes each.  Now that our daughter has moved off campus this year I asked her what she plans on making for dinner and did she want some recipes.  Her reply was I will just look at your blog!  I am sure she will look for this one.

Healthy Beef Enchilada Pie



1 lb. lean  ground beef 
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup) 
1 can (10 oz)  red enchilada sauce 
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed, drained 
1 can (4.5 oz)  chopped green chiles, drained 
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
1 teaspoon chili powder 
5 flour tortillas for burritos (from 11 oz package) 
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend (4 oz) 
 sour cream and cilantro, if desired 


Heat oven to 350°F. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Reserve 1/4 cup enchilada sauce; set aside. Add remaining enchilada sauce, corn and chiles to beef mixture. Stir in cumin and chili powder. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered 5 minutes.

Spray 9-inch round (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Place 1 tortilla in casserole; top with about 3/4 cup of the beef mixture and 3 tablespoons of the cheese. Repeat layers 3 times. Top with remaining tortilla, the reserved enchilada sauce and the remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, 30 to 40 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted. Cool 5 minutes. Serve with sour cream and cilantro sprigs.

Adapted from Betty Crocker


Taco Tater Casserole

There is nothing more flavorful and fun that tater tots! Now add them to a taco casserole and you reach a new comfort food high.  I will admit that this is a recipe that hubby made.  He has been preparing a lot of meals lately and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.  He finds a recipe and adds his own special tweaks.    Give this one a try.

Taco Tater Casserole

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced finely
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (4 oz) can Old El Paso diced green chiles
1 (1 oz) package Old El Paso taco seasoning mix
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (12 oz) package frozen corn
3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 (28 oz) package frozen tater tots
1 (10 oz) can Old El Paso red enchilada sauce

Toppings: olives, cilantro, sour cream, tomatoes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. For extra crispy tater tots, bake tater tots for about 10 minutes while preparing the beef mixture – otherwise prepare as follows.

In a large skillet, brown the beef and the onion. Add the garlic towards the end of the browning process and cook for 1 minute. Drain.

Add the green chiles, taco seasoning mix, black beans, corn, and 2 cups of the cheese. Stir together to combine. If your skillet isn’t big enough you may need to stir it together in a bowl.

Pour mixture into the prepared 9×13 pan. Arrange tater tots on top of the mixture in a single layer.
Pour the enchilada sauce on top of the casserole as evenly as you can.

Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until tater tots are nice and crispy. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese on top and place back in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until cheese has melted.
Top with olives, cilantro, sour cream, tomatoes when serving if desired.

For extra crispy tater tots, bake tater tots for about 10 minutes while preparing the beef mixture.

This recipe is inspired from the blog – The-girl-who-ate-everything


An oldie but a goodie! Chicken Enchilada Casserole. Just in time for Cinco de Mayo!

This is a really old recipe of mine that I remember making soon after Hubby and I were married.  If you are asking how old it is, well we will soon celebrate our 25th this year.  This was probably my first attempt at anything Mexican and I have been making this ever since.  About 15 years ago I was featured as the cook of the week in our local Sunday paper and this was one of the recipes I shared.  I have friends who request this for their birthday present.  Even when we formed our dinner club I made this for our planning meeting where we set up the group guidelines – No seafood as a main entree!  That was about 13 years ago.  Times have changed but this recipe stays true to my cooking criteria – easy and delicious! 

So with Cinco De Mayo just around the corner, whip up a batch of these and enjoy with a Margarita or two!

Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas

1 medium onion chopped
2 tablespoons of butter
1 1/2 cups of shredded cooked chicken or turkey
1 12oz. jar of picante sauce, divided
3 oz. of cream cheese, cubed
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cups (8oz.) extra sharp Mexican or taco cheese blend
8 flour tortilla (6 inch)

Cook and stir onion in butter in large skillet until tender.  Stir in chicken, 1/4 cup picante sauce, cream cheese and cumin. Cook until throughly heated.  Stir in 1 cup cheese. remove from heat.

Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture in center of each tortilla; roll up.  Place seam side down in 12 x 7 inch baking dish.  Top with remaining picante sauce and cheese.  Bake at 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.


King Ranch Casserole

I went scouring the big binder last week to find a recipe that would use our chicken leftovers that we froze about 2 weeks ago. I had made a delicious roast chicken and what was left over would be great in a casserole.  This was a recipe that we have had but hadn’t made in quite sometime.  So, we dropped our son off at his basketball practice on Wednesday we went to the store and picked up the small list of ingredients that we did not have on hand.  Everything was ready to throw this together after work the following night.  And it worked out well having the ingredients handy and the chicken already cooked.   

It is casserole season, cold winter evenings where you want something hot and hearty.  Hubby and I had tickets to see Matilda, so a nice hot casserole was perfect to head back out in the cold after dinner. This chicken casserole fits the plan with the corn tortillas and the cheese.  It can be made with fat free soups and a reduced fat cheese for a light version.  Either why it is a great dish. 

King Ranch Casserole


large onion, chopped 
large green bell pepper, chopped 
Vegetable cooking spray 
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts 
(10-ounce) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted 
(10-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted 
(10-ounce) can diced tomato and green chiles 
1 teaspoon chili powder 
1/2 teaspoon pepper 
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas 
(8-ounce) block Cheddar cheese, shredded 


Sauté onion and bell pepper in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender.

Stir in chicken and next 6 ingredients; remove from heat.

Tear tortillas into 1-inch pieces; layer one-third tortilla pieces in bottom of a 13- x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with one-third chicken mixture and one-third cheese. Repeat layers twice.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.