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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: National Hispanic Heritage Month Provides Great Food Ideas and Celebrations for All

By Sherrie Norris

In the High Country, we are fortunate to have a large community of Hispanic friends who share much of their culture with us. One of my favorite “takeaways” is the food. Who among us does not like what we refer to as Mexican food? Not only do eating establishments continue to pop up to meet the growing demand for the delicious, aromatic cuisine, but many in the community prepare their specialties to share for community and church events. While I’m sure my attempts at trying to replicate their food makes them cringe, our friends have helped us learn to appreciate their food and probably will not mind me sharing a few recipes in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Each year, from September 15 to October 15, a time has been set aside to celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. So, let’s join in the fun and food in the coming weeks to honor our friends and neighbors who contribute to life as we know it here in the High Country. These recipes may not be “authentic,” but hopefully, it’s the thought that counts.

Mexican Brunch Pie

5 beaten eggs

2 tsp. melted butter or margarine

¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking powder

1 (8-oz.) carton cream-style cottage cheese

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 small can drained, chopped green chilies

Combine eggs, butter, flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl; beat well at medium speed. Stir in remaining ingredients and pour into a well-greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 and bake about 20 minutes or until set. Cut into wedges and serve.

South Of The Border Casserole

1 dozen tortillas

1 cup enchilada sauce

1 can niblets Mexican corn

1 lb. grated Cheddar cheese

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained

1 cup green chili peppers, chopped

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

Saute ground beef. Heat tortillas. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or pan with tortillas and cover with sauce. Layer beef, half of the cheese; add corn and peppers, Pour soup over top and sprinkle remaining cheese over all. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

My Favorite Layered Dip 

1 can refried beans

2 cups sour cream

1 cup of salsa

½ chopped red onion

chopped chilies

1 cup cheddar cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese

Sliced black olives

Layer in a 9 x 13-inch glass dish with ingredients in order as listed. Keep in fridge until time to serve. Great with corn chip scoops or tortilla chips.

Simple Salsa

2 lg. tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 or 2 hot chili peppers, seeded and chopped

1/3 cup chopped green onions

2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro

2 Tbsp. lime juice

¼ tsp. salt

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Can be stored in refrigerator up to a week.

Quick Spanish Rice

¾ cup uncooked regular rice

½ cup water

1 (14 ½ oz.) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 (11-oz.) can (niblet) sweet corn

In medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender and water is absorbed, stirring frequently.

Homemade Guacamole

1 med. peeled, mashed avocado

¼ cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup chopped tomato

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. hot sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

Combine all ingredients, stirring until blended.