Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mexican Mondays

As I am sure many of you fellow cooks find, you have a 5 page document with "must try" recipes. I felt a little overwhelmed but I really wanted to try all these items. So to keep me in order, I determined Monday to be a mexican inspired dish, Friday to be fake out take out and then I can fill in the rest of the days. However, the last time I did mexican monday, well, it didn't turn out so well. I attempted empanadas and well, it didn't work out for me. (see post "a few failed attempts") Last night I was determined to get back on the Mexican Monday wagon. Since I still had chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, I wanted to use those.
I am came across this recipe on Cooking Light, of course. I made some changes & boy am I glad I did. I think it would have been pretty bland had I not. My changes are in green and probably made it not "light" anymore.

Chili & Cheddar Bow Tie Casserole
Cooking Light
1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced Canadian bacon (about 2 ounces) ** I didn't have any so I used real bacon**
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk ** I only used 1 cup**
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
8 cups hot cooked farfalle (bow tie pasta) or other short pasta
Cooking spray
** 1 can diced tomatoes**

Preheat oven to 400°.
Remove 1 teaspoon adobo sauce and 1 chile from canned chiles; mince the chile. Place remaining sauce and chiles in a zip-top plastic bag; freeze for another use.

**Here I cut the bacon into bite-sized pieces & cooked in a skillet. I drained the fat & placed the bacon on a paper towel to blot out extra grease**

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper ; sauté 4 minutes. Add onions; sauté 1 minute. Stir in the adobo sauce, minced chile, flour, chili powder, salt, and cumin; cook 1 minute. Gradually add milk; cook until thick and bubbly (about 4 minutes), stirring constantly with a whisk.
** Here I added the can of tomatoes to the milk mixture. I think it gave it much more flavor**
Remove from heat. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups cheese and cilantro, stirring until cheese melts. Add pasta to pan; toss well.

Spoon the pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over pasta mixture. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until browned.

** I just guessed on the spices, I wasn't sure how hot the adobe sauce would make it so I would add the spices, then taste, then add more spices. Also I think you could use different kinds of cheese, like monterey jack would be good in this. You could make this into a vegetarian dish by omitting the bacon as well. **

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