Tex-Mex means comfort food for Christmas

Since families can disperse on Christmas Day to the homes of grandparents, in-laws, brothers, sisters, aunts or uncles in Texas, get them all together on Christmas Eve for food. Mexican is a tradition.

After a candlelight service, concert or midnight mass, Tex-Mex comfort food is ideal for a “long winter nap.”

Stress-reducing beef enchiladas, chicken and taquito casserole, slow cooker posoles or Frijoles Borrachos fill the house with a cheerful aroma.

Why dream of sugared almonds when there is the Sopapilla Cheesecake.

I wish Feliz Navidad everyone. I just hope you remembered to order some tamales in time to pick them up on Christmas Eve morning. They are excellent with a can of good chili.

EASY BUF ENCHILADAS

1 32-ounce bag of beef and cheese burritos, thawed

1 28-ounce can red enchilada sauce

1 10-ounce can of tomatoes and green peppers

1½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, combine the enchilada sauce, tomatoes and green peppers.

2. Pour a small amount of sauce into the prepared dish. Place the burritos in the dish. Top evenly with remaining sauce, sprinkle with cheese.

3. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Makes 6 servings

CHIMICHANGA CHICKEN CASSEROLE

1½ cup cooked rice

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 10-ounce can green chili enchilada sauce

1 can of 4 ounces chopped green peppers

2 cups grated pepper jack, divided

4 frozen chicken chimichangas

directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 7 inch deep pan with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine the rice, corn, enchilada sauce, green peppers and 1 cup of cheese. Spread ¾ of the mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Stir the chimicangas into the mixture and use the rest to fill in the sides and spaces between the chimichangas.

3. Cover with greased foil and bake for 30 minutes or until the taquitos start to be crisp. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining cheese and cook 10 minutes more or until cheese melts. Serve with spicy sauce, sour cream and shredded lettuce.

VERDE PORK FILLET POSOLE

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 1½-pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic packed in oil

2 cups of chicken broth or broth

2 teaspoons of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 16-ounce jar of salsa verde

1 can of 4 ounces chopped green peppers

1 28-ounce can white or yellow hominy, drained

directions

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven. Add half the pork and cook to brown it on all sides. Repeat with the rest of the pork and set aside.

2. Add the rest of the oil to the pan. Add onion and garlic, cook over medium heat until onion is translucent. Pour in the broth and cook for 1 minute, scraping the golden pieces on the side.

3. Stir in the pork with the juices, cumin, salt and pepper, salsa, green peppers and hominy. Simmer, uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes or until pork is tender.

4. Serve with diced avocados, sour cream and flour tortillas.

FRIJOLES BORRACHOS (HÈVES TO DRINK)

½ pound of smoked pork neck bones

1 pound of dried pinto beans, sorted, rinsed

1 12 oz bottle of Mexican dark beer

6 cups of water

1 15-ounce can mashed crushed tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 medium white onion, chopped

1 – 2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and chopped

1 tablespoon of salt

directions

1. Prepare the slow cooker with the liner on. Place the pork neck bones in the slow cooker. Add the beans, beer, water, tomatoes, garlic, onion, jalapeño and salt.

2. If necessary, add more water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Cook over low heat for 8 hours, checking for liquid at 4 hours.

3. Remove bones from pork neck before serving. Makes 8-10 servings.

SOPAPILLA CHEESE CAKE

1 8-ounce can croissant dough

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1½ cup sugar, divided

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon of vanilla

½ cup unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, egg yolk and vanilla until smooth.

2. Unroll 1 can of dough and stretch it to the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish, pressing down to seal the perforations. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the dough.

3. Unroll the second box of dough on a lightly floured surface, pressing the perforations together. Carefully place over the cream cheese mixture, making sure the perforations are pressed together.

4. Pour the melted butter evenly over the top. Combine remaining ½ cup of sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over butter.

5. Cook for 35 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before cutting into 3×4 bars to serve lukewarm or refrigerate to serve later. Reheat in the microwave at 50% for 10 seconds. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 12 servings.


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