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Mexicali Casserole

This is recipe was originally for wraps (filled tortillas for an easy dinner) in my student apartment and developed into a casserole when Paul and I decided to find a way to get rid of a roommate's stale tortillas!  It can be very simple or complicated, depending on how you choose the ingredients.  Canned beans are easiest, but if you can't find them (like black beans in England!) you can soak and cook dried beans, but you'll have to plan for it the day before.  We liked Mahatma Spanish Rice (it comes in an orangeish foil packet for about 40 cents) but store brands are fine if you're adding spices anyway.  If you can't find the rice, make 1 cup of white rice and add salsa and spices (see below).

1 package Spanish/Mexican Rice
1 can of Red or Black Beans, drained
1 small can of corn, drained (optional)
Half green pepper, chopped
Half red pepper, chopped
Half onion, chopped
1 or 2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes/strips
Spices: garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper
fresh cilantro (optional)
salsa
Splash of lemon and/or lime juice (optional)
Splash of tequila (optional)
oil for cooking (1-2TBS)
shredded cheese
tortillas (corn or flour, your choice)

In a saucepan add rice mix as directed (add slightly more water), beans, corn, and a few pieces of the onion and peppers. Cook according to package.

In a medium skillet heat oil (1-2TBS) and add chicken. Brown chicken, seasoning with spices (especially cumin - Paul says it 'smells like Mexico!') and cilantro, and adding a splash of lemon or lime juice and/or tequila if desired.
Add onions and peppers. Cook until chicken is cooked through. Add 3-4 TBS of salsa.

Mix rice and chicken mixtures together. Grease a casserole dish or baking pan.

Cover bottom of the dish with tortillas. Layer rice/chicken mixture, cheese, tortillas, until you fill the dish. Add more cheese to the top layer of rice, cover with one last tortilla, then cover that with cheese.

Bake until cheese on top is browned (about 20 minutes) at 375 degrees.

Serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired.


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14 September 2004

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