Tex Mex Strata


Quick, easy, overnight casserole with a wonderful Southwest flavor.


Sauté a pound of sausage, green onions and red pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until sausage is browned, about 8 minutes.  Drain off excess fat.

In a 9″x13″ buttered baking dish, layer corn tortillas, half of the sausage mixture,  and a cup of shredded cheese.

Repeat another layer of tortillas, sausage mixture and cheese.

Top with a third layer of tortillas and press down.  Cover with another cup of cheese.

In medium mixing bowl, combine 3 cups of milk, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, a cup picante sauce, a can of diced chilies and 6 eggs.

Pour over the tortillas, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour (up to overnight).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Remove plastic wrap and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Printer-friendly recipe:  Tex Mex Strata


Stuffed Chayotes


Such a special Mexican treat — Stuffed Chayotes.  Chayotes are Mexican squash, similar in size and shape to a large avocado, but very hard with a “seam” around the edges.  They make a wonderful shell for stuffing with all kinds of goodies.

This time I stuffed them with onion, red bell pepper, mushrooms, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, cilantro and cheese.

First slice the chayotes in half along the seam and remove the seed.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until tender.  Then drain them on a towel.
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When cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp leaving about a quarter inch of the shell all around.  Chop the pulp and let drain (or squeeze out excess moisture with towel).  Set shells in baking dish.
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Toast bread and slice into cubes.  Chop pepper, onion and mushrooms, and mince some garlic.
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Sauté the peppers, onion, mushrooms and garlic in butter.

Then add the bread crumbs, chayote pulp, egg, cilantro, salt, pepper and a little chicken bouillon.  Combine well and spoon the mixture into the chayote shells.  Cover with cheese (I used parmesan cheese to save on the fat and calories, but a Mexican blend would also be yummy).

This recipe can be made ahead up to this point and refrigerated overnight.  Let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before baking.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.   Uncover, add more cheese and bake an additional 3 to 5 minutes for the cheese to melt.

Then enjoy!!  These are best served hot, but I like them chilled the next day, too.

Print friendly recipe:  Stuffed Chayotes


Tequila Sunrise


Tequila Sunrise is a perfect cocktail to add to a
Tex Mex Brunch, and it’s so easy to make.


Tequila                                   Orange Juice
Grenadine syrup              Crushed ice
Fruit for garnish (optional)

First I sliced up some kiwi and
oranges, added some maraschino cherries, and skewered them with some tropical toothpicks.



In a large pitcher, I mixed 2 cups tequila and 4 cups orange juice.  Whether you mix per glass or in a larger container, just use twice as much orange juice as tequila.

Then I set out the pitcher, the skewers, ice and the grenadine and made a sign so people knew how to mix it themselves.


Tequila Sunrise Directions

NOTE:    Remember not everyone drinks alcohol, so have a separate pitcher with just orange juice to make Virgin Tequila Sunrises, but be sure to label these very clearly so everyone gets the drink they want.

Salted Caramel Oreo Icebox Cake

20150509_122442-1This cake is so creamy and sweet and pretty and, best of all, simple to make!  It literally took only 15 minutes to put it together.  It needs to sit in the fridge a few hours or overnight, but what a hit it was at the brunch!


First make some coffee, pour it in a bowl to cool.  Then dip Oreo cookies in the coffee and layer them in the bottom of a baking dish.
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In a large mixing bowl, combine a three-fourths cup caramel ice cream topping and around 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground sea salt.  Add the salt to taste.  I’m not much of a salt lover, so I went a
little too light (only used about 1/4 teaspoon).   Will add more next time.

Then using an electric mixer, combine the caramel and salt with 12 ounces of softened cream cheese.  Okay, I just have to say, you could stop the dessert right there and it’s already soooooo yummy!  Leave a little extra on the beaters so you get to lick it off.

Fold in three cups of Cool Whip.

Pour half of the caramel cream mixture over the layer of Oreos.

Top that with another layer of coffee-dipped Oreos and cover with the remaining caramel cream mixture.  Then spread one and a half cups of Cool Whip on top of that.  Oooo-wheee!

Refrigerate until set — I prepared it the day before the brunch.  Then, when you’re ready to serve it, top with more Cool Whip if you like (I didn’t) and drizzle chocolate and caramel syrups over the top.  And that’s just what this is — an Over the Top dessert!!

TIP:  I used plastic wrap around the edges of the baking dish when I drizzled the chocolate and caramel syrups over it.  Then I removed the plastic wrap, and my dish was ready to set on the serving table without a mess on the counter or the dish.

This recipe came from Jocelyn Brubaker’s blog: www.insidebrucrewlife.com.   Check out her website for lots of amazing treats.  And I want to give a should out to Jocelyn because I posted a question about this recipe on her website, and she answered me the same day.  Wow!  Thanks, Jocelyn!

Jocelyn’s recipe calls for an 8″x8″ dish, but I used a 9″x13″ dish and increased the recipe by half.  Mine served 18 women with just enough left over that I got to enjoy another serving that evening.

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Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball


A simple cheese ball with the added yum of bacon.


Two 8oz bars of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I use the Mexican cheese blend)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch

Mix in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until soft and creamy.  Add the lemon juice, shredded cheese, Ranch mix and half of the bacon and mix thoroughly.20150502_214701-1

Form the mixture into a ball and roll it in the remaining bacon pieces.  This part is REALLY messy, and my only suggestion is that, if you are taking pictures of the process, you should have someone else available to hold the camera.  I did not and so had to keep stopping to wash my hands off, dry them, take the next picture and start again, only to have my hands completely covered in sticky cheese a moment later.

Actually, if you don’t like to get messy, you could simply put the dip in a shallow serving dish and just put the bacon pieces on top.20150502_215731-1     20150502_215914-1

This can be made up to three days ahead, just cover and refrigerate.  Serve with crackers, pretzels or crudités.