Seasoned with Sun

Seasoned with Sun is a cookbook which was compiled by the Junior League of El Paso.  My copy is dated 1974 and is the fourth printing.  It’s full of Southwestern recipes that reflect the cuisine of my home state, Texas.  I must say, Texans love their beef!  We enjoy large, grilled steaks, slow smoked BBQ (which is mostly beef, not pork), chili (without beans), chicken fried steak, and a variety of Tex-Mex and Mexican dishes.  Our favorite soft drink is Dr. Pepper and we drink large glasses of iced tea, but we call it “ice tea”, all summer long to keep cool in the hot Texas heat.  The favorite beers of Texas include brews such as Shiner Bock, or Mexican imports such as Corona and Tecate.  Yes, we love to eat and we prefer our food spicy.  If I ever had to move away from Texas, my taste buds would suffer from culture shock.

This cookbook even has a section for Mexican food.  There were so many great-looking recipes that once again I had a hard time deciding on a recipe… so I picked two.  For dinner, I decided to make a Beef Enchilada Casserole.  I made very few changes to the original recipe and my changes are reflected in the recipe printed below.  First, I did not have a can of evaporated milk in my pantry, so I used this recipe from Recipezaar: Evaporated Milk . I used tortilla chips instead of frying my own corn tortillas and I also used a blend of Colby-Monterey Jack, which the recipe did not specify.  I’m not sure I’d serve this to dinner to guests, but it was tasty.  Vince and I both enjoyed our dinner and Vince said I could make it again, so overall we give the recipe a “two thumbs-up”.  For dessert, I made a Pecan Apple Pie.  I’ve been searching for that perfect apple pie recipe for several years and while I have some recipes that I really like, I don’t think I’ve found “the one” yet.  Unfortunately this was not “the one” either.  It turned out runny and I’m not sure if that is the fault of the recipe or the fault of the baker, but I went over the recipe twice and I don’t believe I altered the ingredients or amounts.  Perhaps it was the apples used?  I noticed after I peeled them that they turned brown more quickly than usual and perhaps they weren’t very fresh.  At any rate, the pie had a very good flavor and I enjoyed the crunchy pecans.  I might try making this recipe again someday to see if I can obtain a different result. Oh well… it was still enjoyed nonetheless.  

Beef Enchilada Casserole

1 pound lean ground beef

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 4-oz can chopped green chilies, drained (I used Hatch brand)

1 14-oz can enchilada sauce (I used Hatch brand – mild)

1 cup evaporated milk (I used a substitution found on Recipezaar.com)

1 10 ¾-oz can cream of chicken soup, undiluted

6 cups crushed tortilla chips

2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.  Brown ground beef and onion in a skillet; drain.  In a mixing bowl, combine green chilies, enchilada sauce, evaporated milk, and cream of chicken soup.  Spray an 8X10-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Sprinkle half the chips into the bottom of prepared baking dish.  Top with half the meat and half the sauce.  Repeat.  Top the casserole with shredded cheese.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and top is bubbly.  ~NOTE~  This casserole can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator before baking.  When ready to bake, place in warm oven and bake or 45 minutes.

 

Pecan Apple Pie

 

Pie Filling:

5-7 Granny Smith apples

¾ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Dash of salt

2-3 tablespoons chopped pecans

1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

Topping:

¼ cup melted butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup chopped pecans

Peel, core and thinly slice apples to make 5-6 cups.  In a mixing bowl, combine the following pie filling ingredients: apples, sugar, nutmeg, flour, cinnamon, and salt.  Let sit for about 15 minutes at room temperature.  Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons on chopped pecans into the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.  After 15 minutes, turn apple mixture into the pie shell.  Combine all topping ingredients and mix well.  Sprinkle topping on top of pie.  Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden.

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