ole’ X4 – favorite quick mexican-style meals

I don’t know what it is but I love the flavors of mexican-style dishes and I am always on the lookout for recipes that take those flavors and provide a quick, easy to prepare dish that will feed a large group or work for several meals in a week – IE yummy enough where no one is complaining about having it again or you have to show up early to grab some for lunch the next day.  Last week we were on vacation with some extended family in the beautiful Adirondacks and tried out a new one that is definitely a keeper and it inspired pulling together a blog post devoted to south of the border crowd-pleasing entree meals and getting the recipes loaded onto the site.

Pictured here first is Buffalo Chicken Pot Pie which is a veggie rich version of a Rachel Ray recipe. I make a vegetarian version of this as well using black beans, hominy and extra peppers, carrots and celery. The general idea is a stew of chicken shreds and vegetables in a wing sauce gravy topped with a layer of corn bread dotted with blue cheese crumbles – full out delish.

The recipe we tried last week  came from a Facebook post that my friend Kim’s sister Korey put up – Chicken Enchilada Pasta. We tag teamed the cooking, didn’t have any penne so used some orecchiette and it was a big hit with the fam. Cooked pasta and shredded chicken are combined with a sauce made from sauteed onions, red peppers, enchilada sauce (from a can), sour cream and colby/jack cheese. Served with a green salad and some bread, this was a super – comfort type meal, perfect for the chilly temperatures we experienced early on in the week.

The next keeper dish – Chicken Salsa Verde Casserole – is whipped up including cooking time in less than an hour if you already have some shredded chicken on hand. It’s also a great way to use up tortilla chips that have been crushed in the drawer and the chicken can easily be replaced or augmented with extra veggies (I love a mushroom, hominy, bell pepper mix.)  This also started from a Rachel Ray recipe kicking up the veggies a notch or two. The crushing and layering of the chips is a fun task to get some help from the kids.

The last recipe is an original that includes arborio rice for a mexican risotto feel and can be made in about 30 minutes with some onion, diced tomatoes, canned beans and salsa. Served with a dollop of plain yogurt, red onion, sliced avocado with cilantro and a squirt of lime over shredded greens –  my personal ultimate comfort dish.

Every one of these recipes are perfect paired with or served on top of a green salad which replaces any need for salad dressing. You could also serve with a condiment of thinly sliced cucumber, red onion and chunks of tomato sprinkled with coarse salt, freshly ground pepper and a squirt of lime or white vinegar to add some tang.

What’s your favorite mexican style dish? Would love to hear from you!

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