Red Chile Gravy Cheese Enchiladas

l200425467 This is categorized as a Tex-Mex dish, though I think the only reason for this is that the chile sauce is “adulterated”, by having ground beef and onions added to it. But it is truly truly a great dish and I think you might like it, if you like real enchiladas.

The making of the dish only gets complicated (read messy) when you get to assembly. The parts are all easy to do.


  • About 12 dried chile pods (in the mix you prefer) such as New Mexican, Guajillo, Anchos, and Arbol, depending on how hot you like it.
  • 1 lb ground round, leaner rather than fatty
  • 1 c of diced onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, or 1 tsp dried
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • lard, oil, butter (3 tbsp) of any of them
  • corn tortillas
  • 8 oz of cheese, shredded (again use what you like, cheddar, Monterey Jack, Cotija, queso fresco, etc


  1. Break off the tops of the chiles, and dump out the seeds and discard.
  2. Place in a saucepan with about 2 cups of water and bring to a soft boil, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Take off the heat, and cool down until warm.
  3. In a saute pan, cook the beef, breaking it into small pieces.
  4. Remove from the pan and add the onions and garlic and saute until softened and just beginning to brown.
  5. Remove the chiles from the liquid and put in a blender along with the onions and garlic, spices and salt and pepper. Add as much of the liquid from the chiles as needed to blend the chiles into a puree.
  6. Strain if necessary (depends on the power of your blender to really get the skins pulverized)
  7. In the saute pan, depending on how much oil remains, add some and add flour until you have a roux going, cooking it for a minute or two.
  8. Add the chile sauce, along with the beef back to the pan, stirring and bring to a soft boil until the chile gravy thickens. Add more liquid from the saucepan or chicken stock if it seems too thick.
  9. Cook for about 30 minutes at a low simmer.
  10. To assemble the enchiladas: dip each tortilla in the sauce, turning to get both sides. Lay on a plate, add the cheese, and roll. Place in a baking dish 8 x 10 works well that has been oiled and has a thin covering of chile sauce in the bottom.  Continue until you have filled the baking dish.
  11. Spoon a bit of sauce lightly over the tops of the enchiladas, then sprinkle additional cheese over the top. Bake in a 375° oven until bubbly. Thirty minutes are probably enough if you have constructed your enchiladas with hot ingredients.
  12. Serve with beans and rice and sour cream, avocados, chopped scallions, and pico de gallo or any combination you like.


NOTES: Control the heat by controlling the type of dried chiles you use. Some add a bit of sugar to the sauce if they find it too harsh.

SOURCE: Adapted from Serious Eats


Cauliflower Mac and Cheese with Green Chiles*

cauli Comfort food today. Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? How about lightening up that carb total a bit, and spicin’ it up at the same time?

A winner for sure.

So get up and get busy in that kitchen.



  • About 1/3-1/2 of a large head of cauliflower, broken up into fairly small flowerets.
  • 1 c elbow macaroni (or other such as small shells)
  • 1 1/2 c of milk
  • either a roux of butter and flour (1:1 ratio) generally 2 tbsp of each, or 1 tsp xantham gum.
  • 3 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 large Poblano or other chile of your choice, charred, seeded, peeled and chopped.
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-3 tbsp hot sauce of your choice
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (sharp cheddar is great)


  1. Salt a large saucepan  of water and either place pasta in cold or bring to a boil first. It really doesn’t make any difference. Cook until about half way done and then add the cauliflower and continue cooking until macaroni is al dente and cauliflower is firm but pierceable with a knife fairly easily. Drain.
  2. Add the roux and milk, or add the milk to the empty saucepan, sprinkle the xantham gum on the surface and whisk, while heating until it gets bubbly and thickens.
  3. Cut up the cream cheese into bits and drop in and continue whisking until it has melted in.
  4. Add the mustard and salt and pepper and hot sauce.
  5. Add 2 c of cheese, cheddar.
  6. Add the pasta and cauliflower back in and stir until fully coated.
  7. Serve.


NOTES: you can add whatever chiles you wish and also vary the cheeses as you desire

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Cheddar Cheese Sauce

IMG_8242Oh cheddar cheese sauce, I do love thee. Let me count the ways.

Oh, well that could take all day.

What I don’t like is CheeseWiz, or that detestable crap called Velveeta. I mean the latter just tastes awful. I have tried it, I have I swear. I have thrown stuff out because it tastes like wallpaper paste with #3 yellow food coloring.


The problem with making a traditional roux white sauce and then dumping in shredded cheddar, is that when heated, it separates into an oily mess. Very unappetizing.

But then I found this recipe, which solves that problem and makes a delightful, smooth gorgeous cheese sauce. And it’s very easy. Big plus. Do try. Perfect for homemade nachos, and daaarling, nachos must be homemade!


  • 8 oz cheddar cheese (I use sharp or extra sharp) shredded
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
  • a good shot of hot sauce (optional)


  1. Heat the milk until it just comes to a boil.
  2. Take off the heat and stir in the cornstarch.
  3. Stir and return to heat until it thickens nicely.
  4. Turn off the heat and add the cheese, stirring until melted.
  5. Add the hot sauce and stir again.

SERVES: 2 cups

NOTES: Perfect for nachos, or over any vegetable that has been steamed crisp. Also will work beautifully with mac and cheese. You will see the difference when you reheat leftovers.

SOURCE: Serious Eats



Hot Jalapeno Pepper Dip

Well, it’s good to be back!

We are mostly moved into our new home here in Las Cruces, and I’ve been able to get into the kitchen for some simpler recipes at least, and this will be one of our favorites for sure.

There are lots of Jalapeno dip recipes around, so there is nothing earth-shattering here, but we loved it so much that we ate the whole thing in two nights. It was so good.

Eat it with tortilla chips or raw veggies. Eat it by the spoonful, or lick the dish. It’s good.


  • 8 oz of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 c mayonnaise (Hellman’s is best if you want this dip hot, since it won’t separate on you)
  • 2 green chiles, roasted, peeled and chopped
  • 3 healthy TBSP of canned jalapeño slices, chopped
  • 1/2 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1 small can of corn or equivalent frozen
  • 1 large fresh jalapeño


  • Place the cream cheese and mayo in mixer and mix on medium until smooth
  • Add the chiles and jalapeño and mix on low until incorporated
  • Add the Parmesan cheese and the corn, and mix on low until well mixed.
  • Turn into a oven-friendly baking dish. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan if desired.
  • Slice the fresh jalapeño, and place around the top.
  • Place in oven at 350° for 20 minutes or just until it starts to bubble.

Note: this is also great at room temperature. Can be easily doubled or tripled for company. Also consider adding crumbled bacon to the top after it comes out of the oven.

Ham It Up Cheese Dip

Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean we’re through–with appetizers that is. There is still the Super Bowl you know, and plenty of lazy Sundays when you don’t want to do a lot of cooking and would rather graze on a few crackers dipped in heaven.

I don’t much care for cheese balls per se, finding them pedestrian and rather 60’s.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t add some lovely ingredients together and let your cracker or celery stick dance through something cheesy and spicy.

So take a look, and think about sitting and reading a book and dipping your chip in some of this:


  • 1 pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 2 slices deli ham (smoky if possible)
  • 1-2 tsp finely chopped onion
  • 1 heaping TBSP roasted red pepper
  • 1 heaping TBSP jalapeño pickles
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 TBSP parsley (fresh if possible)
  • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Put it all in a food processor and puree.
  2. Spoon into a nice serving dish, and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, longer if you can.
  3. Serve with crackers and/or raw veggies.


Si, Si, Cheese Enchiladas

What can be said about cheese enchiladas? They are simply sublime are they not? Unless they are not, and that usually comes from using inferior ingredients.

So do yourself a favor and make some Final Destination Enchilada Sauce first of all. It will simply make all the difference in the world between, American Enchiladas and real South of the Border ones.

You can make it all in one day, or make the sauce and freeze it for when you just have to have some cheese!

The rest of the ingredients are fairly easy. I will admit, construction is a mess. So my advice is to try to get all your ingredients set up and ready, and then, well, just accept the fact that it will be messy to put together.


  • Enchilada sauce, homemade or otherwise (about 1 1/2 c)
  • 10-12 corn tortillas
  • 1 c  onion, diced (the sweeter the better)
  • 2 cups of your favorite cheese–cheddar, Monterey jack, or a blend, grated
  • 1/2 of a package of cotija cheese (or similar crumbly Mexican cheese) grated
  • 1/4 c of oil, give or take


  1. Get everything diced, grated and so forth.
  2. Put your sauce is a broad saute pan and warm
  3. Put oil in a saute pan and heat to a sizzle
  4. Take a 13 x 9 baking dish and smear with a small amount of the sauce, just enough so the tortillas won’t stick.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 350°
  6. When everything is ready, using tongs, take a tortilla and lay it in the oil, and let it sizzle for NO MORE than 30 sec. Turn over and do the other side. Pick up and drain, and then lay it in the sauce, turning to coat both sides.
  7. Now comes the messy part. Place the tortilla on a plate, then place some diced onion and both kinds of cheese (a couple of TBSP of the cheese). Roll up carefully and place in the baking pan.
  8. Continue until the pan is filled. Mine generally holds 10.
  9. Ladle some of the sauce over the top of them all, and spread it around. You don’t want or need lots here, maybe a bit more than 1/2 a cup. Then spread lots of grated cheese over all of it. 
  10. Pop into the oven and leave only long enough to melt the cheese. About 10-15 min.
  11. Place on the table with sour cream, avocado, chopped scallions, and/or olives. I also placed a bowl of shredded lettuce on the table and scattered that on my enchiladas. It provides a nice crunch and cooling to the dish. Also nice served with “Spanish” rice and/or refried beans.

Eureka! That’s Mac & Cheese

Mac and cheese is easy. Make a bechamel sauce, add cheese, stir in the macaroni, dump in a baking dish, cover and cook until bubbly.

Except that it sucks pretty much. It’s okay when you first eat it, but when you reheat it, it’s tasteless, dry and just plain blech.

My husband has eaten (during periods in his life) a ton of mac and cheese. He pretty much could take it or leave it. Okay, honestly, mostly leave it.

Until I found this magic secret from Ms. Carla at The Chew. Add some cream cheese. And don’t bake it. (I guess you could if you wanted.)

And I did that, and added a bit of my own idea, and didn’t add some of hers, and well, I can tell you, my husband declared this to be “the best mac and cheese I’ve ever eaten.”

With Carla’s additions of onions and bacon, this is a main dish. I made it without and used it as a side dish to barbecued ribs. We feasted!


  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 c warmed milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (any combination of cheddar, sharp, medium, jack, pepper jack, Gruyère, etc.)
  • 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • salt and pepper to taste (or any thing you might like such as a bit of chipotle powder or cayenne)
  • 1 c toasted bread crumbs (homemade or not as you choose)
  • 1 c caramelized onions
  • 6-8 slices bacon, cooked, and crumbled
  • 2 c elbow macaroni (or other pasta), cooked and drained


  1. Melt butter in a large sauce pan, add the flour and cook for one minute.
  2. Add the milk and continue heating until it boils and thickens.
  3. Take off the heat, and add the cheeses and stir until melted.
  4. Taste for saltiness, and add any needed salt and as much pepper as you like
  5. Add the cooked macaroni, and stir until combined.
  6. Add onions and bacon if using.
  7. Spoon into a serving dish and place a nice coating of bread crumbs over. Serve.

Serves: about 6 as a side, less if it’s the main dish obviously.