Travelling with Dinner

10 Mar

Some friends of ours had a baby two weeks ago, and as good friends we took dinner over to them one night. As I was planning what to take, there were several criteria. Firstly, it had to be easy enough for me to make after a long work day and trip to the grocery store. Second, it had to be large so that I could split it in two: half for GP and I and half for them, with enough to have leftovers on both sides. Third, it had to be yummy!

Obviously a casserole fits that bill. So I started looking through my cookbook of collected recipes and came to a realization. Growing up in Texas, the only casseroles I know how to make are Tex-Mex! Now, Tex-Mex is its own food genre, as it isn’t traditional Mexican food, and has been altered to suit the palate of those who are less able to handle spices and who don’t like lettuce. Of my eight or so Tex-Mex casseroles, I chose the one called Mexican Casserole, which I have inherited from my mother.

Corn tortillas
1 lb ground beef
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 yellow onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Ro-Tel
4 oz grated cheese
1 can Ranch style beans, drained

Preheat oven to 375o. Brown meat and onions together. Add taco seasoning and cook as per package directions.
In a large casserole dish layer ingredients as follows:

6 corn tortillas
1/2 meat mixture
1/2 cheese
can of soup
6 corn tortillas
other 1/2 of the meat
can of Ro-Tel

Place mixture in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until heated through and bubbly. Top with remaining cheese and bake until cheese is melted.

On the side I made a Catalina Salad. This one has long been in the family, and after calling Mom to figure out the recipe, she found a similar recipe in my Grandmother’s recipe box. Grandma acquired the recipe in 1975 from a friend, and it has a few different ingredients than what I’m giving you here.

Bag iceberg lettuce mix
chopped tomatoes (optional)
1/4 to 1/2 C grated cheddar cheese
1 can Ranch style beans, drained and lightly rinsed
1 cup original style Frito’s chips
1/2 small bottle of Catalina dressing

Dump everything into a big bowl and toss to mix. If you are going to take this to a party, I suggest taking the chips separately and adding them once you get there to prevent sogginess from setting in.


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