Entertain guests with fajita casserole

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

It is always fun to get together with family. Recently our family visited with my niece, Tarah Battaglia, and her husband, Steve, in Royalton, Ill. It was our first time to their new home, and we had wonderful time visiting and catching up on family news. Of course the day involved food, and this casserole was on the dinner menu. They were wonderful hosts and we look forward to our next visit with them.

Chicken Fajita Casserole

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 box Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice

1 (4-ounce) can black olives, drained

1 (4-ounce) can green chilies

2 cups boiling water

1 cup Monterey jack cheese

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 cup crushed tortilla chips

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Place beans and rice in a 9-by-13-inch greased baking dish. Add 2 cups boiling water and mix well. Add black olives, chilies and tomatoes to rice and mix well. Place chicken pieces on top of rice mixture. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle cheese and tortilla chips over top. Bake 5 minutes longer. Serve with flour tortillas and use as a scoop to eat, or roll up casserole in the tortilla. Serve with sour cream, salsa and additional toppings if desired.

While we were at Steve and Tarah's, I looked at her new Gooseberry Patch Cookbook, 5 Ingredients or Less. It was a nice book and I borrowed a few recipes to try for myself. Then I decided you might like them as well.

Saucy Sausages

1 pound cooked Polish sausage, sliced

1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling

Arrange sausage slices in an ungreased 9-by-9-inch baking pan; spread cherry pie filling on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Arrange on a serving platter; serve with party toothpicks.

Shrimp Dip

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 (4 1/2-ounce) can shrimp, drained

1/4 cup butter

2 green onions, chopped

Mix all ingredients together; cover and refrigerate until serving.

Cheesy Crab Spread

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup imitation crabmeat, shredded

1 cup mayonnaise

Combine ingredients together in a microwave-safe serving bowl; mix well. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring well until cheese melts and mixture is warmed.

Raspberry Cheese Dip

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

2 cups shredded mild Cheddar cheese

1 cup mayonnaise

2 green onions, chopped

12 ounces red raspberry preserves

Mix first 4 ingredients together; spread into a 10-inch springform pan. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours; remove from pan and place on a serving plate. Spread preserves over the top. Makes about 5 cups. Serve with assorted crackers.

Crab Soup

1 pound crabmeat, cooked

1 can cream of celery soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

Mix together. Add 1 can water. Heat through, but do not boil. Serve with crackers or crunchy sourdough bread.

Pizza Mac & Cheese

1 (7 1/4-ounce) box macaroni and cheese

2 eggs, beaten

16 ounces pizza sauce

4 ounces sliced pepperoni

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Prepare macaroni and cheese according to package directions. Remove from heat and add eggs; mix well. Pour into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake at 370 degrees for 10 minutes. Spread with pizza sauce; layer pepperoni and mozzarella cheese on top. Return to oven until cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Serves 8.

Spicy Peach Salad

1 (3-ounce) package orange gelatin

1 (29-ounce) can whole spiced peaches, chopped and juice reserves

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 (8-ounce) box chopped dates

Prepare orange gelatin according to package directions, substituting 1 cup peach juice for the water; chill until slightly thickened. Fold in peaches, pecans and dates; pour into a bowl. Chill until set.

Grape Salad

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup chopped pecans

2 cups seedless grapes, halved

Combine first 3 ingredients together; fold in pecans and grapes, mixing gently until well coated. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup honey

1 (1 ounce) package Italian salad dressing mix

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix first 3 ingredients together; add chicken breasts. Marinate for one hour, turning to coat both sides. Grill or broil until juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Makes 6 servings.

Saucy Pork Chops

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup ketchup

6 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

4 to 6 pork chops

2 1/2 cups prepared rice

Mix soup, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce together; set aside. Arrange pork chops in an ungreased 9x13-inch baking pan; pour soup mixture over the top. Cover and bake for one hour at 350 degrees. Serve each pork chop on a serving of rice; spoon remaining sauce over top.

Easy Slow Cooker Steak

2 to 2 1/2 pounds beef round steak

1 (1/2 ounce) package onion soup mix

1 can cream of mushroom soup

Slice steak into 5 serving-size pieces; place in a slow cooker. Add soup mix, ? cup water and soup; cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Crispy Pork Cutlets

2 eggs

2 tablespoons mustard

2 pounds pork cutlets

1 cup instant mashed potato flakes

3 tablespoons oil

Blend eggs and mustard together in a shallow pie pan; set aside. Dip pork cutlets in egg mixture; coat with potato flakes. Heat oil in a skillet; add pork, heating on both sides until done.

I got all caught up in these new recipes and lost track of space. I need to leave you for this week so have a great week and happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at smcclanahan@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by the Southeast Missourian staff.

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