The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

June 12, 2013

Zesty Mexican Meals Made Fast


FOR THE DAILY SOUTHERNER

TARBORO — Flavors from south of the border are always a crowd favorite. They're also a quick, easy way to get dinner on the table in a hurry. Celebrity chef AarÛn S·nchez shares his favorite weeknight recipes, which use easy, flavorful ingredients to get families out of the kitchen and at the table in record time. "As a chef with a young family, I love creating delicious dishes that are quick and easy to prepare," S·nchez said. "My new Ortega recipes bring that flavor and simplicity together. Enjoy."



Fundido Fiesta Flats



Servings: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes



1     pound ground beef

1     1.25-ounce package Ortega Taco Seasoning Mix         or 40% Less Sodium Taco Seasoning Mix

1/2     cup water

6     ounces American cheese, cubed

1     16-ounce jar Ortega Salsa, any variety

12     Ortega Fiesta Flats Taco Shells

Chopped fresh cilantro



Brown beef in large skillet over medium-high heat; drain. Stir in taco seasoning and water. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened.

Meanwhile, combine cheese and one cup salsa in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds, until smooth.

Evenly spoon meat mixture into Fiesta Flats and top with cheese mixture. Top with additional salsa and sprinkle with cilantro. If desired, also top with Ortega Taco Sauce and Diced Green Chiles.



Mexican Lasagna



Servings: 8

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes



1     tablespoon vegetable oil

1     medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

2     garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2     pounds lean ground beef

1     1.25-ounce package Ortega Taco Seasoning Mix

1/2     cup water, divided

1     16-ounce can Ortega Refried Beans

9     Ortega Flour Soft Tortillas

2     10-ounce cans Ortega Mild Red Enchilada Sauce

1     16-ounce jar Ortega Thick and Chunky Salsa

8     ounces shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar

    cheese



Preheat oven to 350?F. Heat vegetable oil in large skillet over medium heat and cook onion and garlic for 4 minutes or until softened. Add ground beef and cook for 4 minutes or until browned. Stir in taco seasoning and 1/4 cup water. Cook for 2 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Heat refried beans in microwave or small saucepan and stir in remaining 1/4 cup water to thin slightly.

Cut one tortilla in half and fit cut ends at either end of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Arrange two tortillas, slightly overlapping, to cover the bottom. Layer 1/3 refried beans, 1/3 meat mixture and 1 can enchilada sauce. Repeat to make a second layer.

Repeat to make a third layer using salsa instead of enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until lasagna is bubbling and cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

If desired, top servings with sour cream and diced green onion.



Mini-Meatball Fiesta Flats



Servings: 4

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes



4     Ortega Taco Shells, any variety

1/2     pound ground pork

1/2     1.25-ounce package Ortega Taco Seasoning Mix         or 40% Less Sodium Taco Seasoning Mix

1     tablespoon vegetable oil

1     10-ounce can Ortega Mild Red Enchilada Sauce

1/4     cup water

2     ripe avocados

1     1-ounce package Ortega Guacamole Seasoning         Mix

12     Ortega Fiesta Flats Taco Shells

Shredded lettuce

Place taco shells in food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form. (Or place in resealable plastic bag and crush.) Combine crumbs, pork and taco seasoning in mixing bowl.

Form mixture into small meatballs, about 1/2 inch in diameter. Heat oil in large skillet and brown meatballs lightly, in batches if necessary, about 5 minutes per batch, turning frequently. Return meatballs to skillet and add enchilada sauce and water. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked.

Meanwhile, mash avocados and stir in guacamole seasoning mix. Let rest in the refrigerator according to package instructions.

To serve, spoon meatballs and sauce into Fiesta Flats. Top each with shredded lettuce and guacamole. If desired, also top with Ortega Taco Sauce and Diced Green Chiles.



Chicken Taco Casserole



Servings: 6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes



12     Ortega yellow corn or white corn taco shells

3     cups shredded cooked chicken

8     ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese

2     cups chicken stock

1     1.25-ounce package Ortega 40% Less Sodium         Taco Seasoning Mix

1     16 ounce container sour cream

1     16 ounce jar Ortega Salsa, any variety

Juice of 1 lime



Preheat oven to 350?F. Break taco shells into large chips. Combine taco chips, chicken, cheese, stock and taco seasoning in large mixing bowl.

Spread mixture in 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Top with 1 1/2 cups sour cream; pour salsa over sour cream. Bake for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbling.

Meanwhile, stir lime juice into remaining sour cream. Remove casserole from oven, drizzle sour cream and lime mixture over top and serve at once.