Since I grew up in Southern California, Mexican food was always a regular part of our diet. Though my dad was a Minnesota farm boy, he moved to California in his twenties and developed a taste for spicy foods. As a result, they were flavors I grew up with.
But Mexican food is not the only cuisine to feature a warm use of spice. Thai and Indian cooks, among others, know how to kick it up a notch. There’s a whole world of flavors out there!
I’ll never forget our first pediatrician who recommended that we feed our baby salsa! My husband loved that! (FishPapa loves spicy foods as well.) She reasoned that children need to be raised with the flavors and intensities that their parents liked.
Unfortunately, not all our children have adopted our flavor preferences. We’re working on it. The following is a favorite of FishPapa and mine. This is one of my sister Jamie’s wonderful dinners. You can adjust the heat based on how much jalapeno you use. When I use serranos, it’s got an extra kick. (I know it’s not “authentic,” but we love it anyway.)
Recipe: Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Makes 2 8-inch pans or 1 9×13-inch pan
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup OR use homemade cream of celery soup
- 8 ounces sour cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 small can chopped green chiles
- 1 small can chopped jalapenos OR 1-2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup jack or cheddar cheese
- 12 corn tortillas cut into bite size pieces
- 2 cups cooked chicken breasts, diced
- In large mixing bowl, combine soup, sour cream, milk, green chiles, jalapenos, onion and cheese. Mix well. Stir in tortillas and chicken.
- Spoon into greased baking pan(s), either one 9×13 or two 8-inch square pans.
- At this point, you can cover the pans and stash them in the freezer. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before baking.
- Bake 1 hour at 350°.
What’s a hot and spicy dish that you make? Share it with us!
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