La Fiesta de Comida
Buckets o' Margaritas
Stuffed Jalapeños
Barbara's Mexican Roll-Ups
Macho Nachos
Ensalada de Merida
3 Pines Ranchero Salsa
3 Pines Beef Taco Filling
3 Pines Enchilada Sauce
3 Pines Cheese Enchiladas
3 Pines Beef Enchiladas
Burritos Grande
Frijoles Refritos
Mexican Rice
Corn Fritters
Chocolate Bread Pudding
Key Lime Pie

MARGARITAS
Now, what's a Fiesta without margaritas? Get the best ingredients, mix up the best, share with everyone, and don't have too many!
Recipe for 1 margarita; Just Multiply it the number of "Attitude Adjusters' participating :-)
Prep.Time: 5 minutes

1 1/2 ounces tequila
1/2 ounce triple sec
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
1/2 egg white
Coarse Salt
1 lime wedge
Ice cubes
Cracked ice

For 1 drink: Pour margarita or other coarse-ground salt on a small plate. Rub the rim of a cocktail glass with the lime wedge and dip the rim of the glass until it is coated with salt. Fill the cocktail glass with ice cubes.

Fill a mixing glass with cracked ice. Add the tequila, triple sec, lime juice, egg white, and powdered sugar. Shake and strain into the cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime wedge.

For a Crowd: Chill a large clean container (pitcher, jug, bucket, etc.). Fill a small dessert bowl with salt for the glasses and have the glasses ready; cut limes and keep in a small bowl. Combine the tequila, triple sec, lime juice, powdered sugar and egg whites. Beat until thoroughly mixed. Keep the container covered and chilled until ready to use., and in-between uses.

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BACON-CHEDDAR JALAPEÑO POPPERS
I found these on the internet and they are irresistable! Make them up ahead of time, keep them chilled until ready to pop them under the broiler.
Yields 12
Prep.Time: 20 minutes

6 fresh jalapeño chiles -- seeded and halved
12 slices bacon
1 pound Cheddar cheese

Pre-cook bacon 2-3 minutes or until just soft but not browned; drain on paper towels. Cut Cheddar cheese into 12 slices long enough to fit inside the jalapeno halves and insert cheese slices into the jalapeno halves. Wrap the jalapeno halves with the bacon slices, securing with a toothpick, if necessary. Place on a medium baking sheet. Cover and keep chilled until just before serving.

Preheat the broiler. Broil 5 to 10 minutes, or until the bacon is evenly browned and cheese is melted. Serve hot.

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BARBARA'S MEXICAN ROLL-UPS
My niece, Barbara, treated me to this goodie during my one and only visit to Denver. Use my 3 Pines Ranchero Sauce (recipe below) and you've got a hot tongue!! Make these a day ahead.
Yields 16
Prep.Time 40

1 package Cream Cheese (11 oz.) -- softened
1 can chopped Green Chiles (4 oz.)
1 can chopped Black Olives (4 oz.)
1 jar chopped Pimiento (4 oz.)
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce or to taste
8 Flour tortillas (8-inch)
Hot Salsa

Place cream cheese into small bowl. Drain chiles, olives and pimiento and add to cheese. Mix well until blended thoroughly. Spread mixture about 1/4 inch thick on one side of each tortilla and roll up tightly. Wrap in waxed paper; chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Slice rolls into 2-inch slices and serve with salsa.

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MACHO NACHOS
You really need to be macho to love these, especially if you use my home-made Ranchero Salsa. But, Pardner, you gonna do Tex-Mex, you gotta do chiles! *LOL*
Serves: 4
Prep.Time: 20 minutes

1 can Kidney Beans (16-oz.) -- rinsed and drained
1/2 cup 3 Pines Ranchero Salsa, or other Salsa
12 Corn Tortillas -- cut in quarters *
3 tablespoons Vegetable Oil *
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped Pickled Jalapeño Chiles
1 can chopped Green Chiles (4-oz.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine beans and salsa in blender or food processor; puree 20-25 seconds or until almost smooth. Fry the tortilla quarters in hot oil in small skillet about 2 minutes each side until crisp. Drain on paper towels and place on ungreased cookie sheet close enough to touch. Spoon bean mixture over tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese and chiles. Bake 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

* If you're in a hurry or just want life easier, subsitute a bag of Tostitos White Corn Chips (the large ones).

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ENSALADA DE MERIDA
(Merida Salad)
This light, tart salad is from the town of Merida on the Yucatan Peninsula. Great to accent spicy dishes of all types----from the Sunset Mexican Cookbook This would look so pretty on your Tex-Mex buffet table!
Serves: 8
Prep.Time: 30 minues

2 large oranges (blood oranges preferred--any are OK)
2 tangerines
2 large ruby red grapefruit
2 large Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Coarse salt
Fresh cilantro sprigs to garnish
1 head romaine lettuce

Use a sharp knife to carefully cut off peel and white membrane from oranges, tangerines and grapefruit; separate into segments and place into a medium bowl. Core and thinly slice apples; add to citrus fruits. Add lime juice and sprinkle with salt to taste. (Can be refrigerated up to 1 hour at this point.) To serve, arrange romaine leaves on serving plates; top with spoonfuls of fruit and garnish with fresh cilantro.

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3 PINES RANCHERO SALSA
I began my search for the perfect salsa years ago, and used basic combinations out of "The Well-Filled Tortilla Cookbook" as a start----but their sauce was much too wimpy for us! So I changed proportions, added more chiles, more seasonings, and much more "heat"----and ole'! I had it!! We use this stuff all the time! This type of salsa (or sauce) is very popular all over the Southwest, and south of the border, too! You'll find it on home dining tables and restaurant tables everywhere; the natives use it on absolutely everything---even eggs! Make this 1-2 days ahead to give the flavors time to marry.
Prep.Time about 1 hour

4 very large Tomatoes -- chopped
1 medium Onion -- chopped
4 Jalapeño Chiles, stemmed -- coarsely chopped
2 cloves Garlic -- chopped
1 can Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce (7-oz.)
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 teaspoon ground Chiles de Arbol (powder) or Chili Powder Blend
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground Coriander
3 tablespoons white Vinegar
1 tablespoon Lime juice
1 teaspoon Habanero Sauce or Tabasco Sauce, optional

Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven; mix thoroughly. Cook slowly over low heat, stirring occasionally 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft and flavors are well-blended. Place 1/2, 3/4, or all of the mixture (depending on how chunky you like it) into blender or food processor; puree until smooth, about 30 seconds. Return pureed mixture to the pan; mix well. Allow to cool about 30 minutes. Serve warm, or store in sterilized canning jars or plastic containers in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks. Makes 3-4 pints.

Heat Scale = Hot

FOR MEDIUM: Reduce Jalapeño Chiles from 4 to 2; use plain chili powder blend instead of pure; reduce chipotle chiles from a whole can to 1/2 can; use only a dash of Tabasco.

FOR MILD: Use only 1 Jalapeño Chile; use plain commercial chili powder blend instead of pure; use only 1-2 chipotle chiles; eliminate using any hot sauce.

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3 PINES BEEF TACO FILLING
Another perfect dish for your Fiesta! Almost eveyone loves tacos, so make up a large batch of this filling and put it out on a "taco buffet" with plenty of choices for toppings (including some of that yummy Ranchero Salsa!).
Serves: 4 (but double or triple for a crowd)

1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
1 tablespoon masa harina or yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup water or more as needed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 clove garlic -- minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano -- crushed
3 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 3/4 cup chopped onions
3 to 4 jalapeñes, with or without seeds -- chopped

In a large skillet, cook ground beef until no longer pink; drain off excess liquid and fat. Stir in seasonings and masa or cornmeal and water; mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 12-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in onions and chiles; cook over low heat 3-4 minutes or until heated through, and it's ready to use. Feel free to adjust any ingredient you like to please your tastes.

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3 PINES ENCHILADA SAUCE
This recipe is a combination of ideas, ingredients, and proportions from three separate Mexican cookbooks, all claiming to be authentic! I played around with it until I got the flavor that I remember from Tucson. It really will taste like you are south of the border! (DO NOT wait too long to make your sauce after purchasing the dried chiles, as they will become so hard your will need a nutcracker to break them open and they lose much of their flavor. If you want additional heat, add some cayenne pepper or Tabasco Sauce; but remember, though, that the authentic enchilada sauce is not very hot. Make this ahead and store tightly sealed in the fridge.
Heat Scale = Mild
Yields about 2 quarts
Prep.Time about 1 hour

12 dried Ancho Chiles
6 dried Pasilla Chiles
10 cups Boiling Water
3 cloves Garlic -- chopped
1 can Tomato Sauce (15-oz.)
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Chili Powder Blend
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Oregano
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Break chile pods open; remove stems and seeds. Place chiles in a large bowl; pour boiling water over all and let stand 1 hour, stirring occasionally to keep chiles covered with water.

Remove chiles, reserving soaking liquid, and place softened chiles into a blender or food processor, removing the pieces by hand being careful not to include any occasional seeds. Add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the soaking liquid; pulse until mixture is thick and mushy. Add remaining ingredients; stir gently. Begin adding soaking liquid, 1 cup at a time, pulsing after each addition until mixture is smooth and shiny (this may use almost all of the soaking liquid). Mixture should not be too thick but should be thick enough to run slowly off a tablespoon. (If all the liquid needed does not fit in the blender container, continue to thin the mixture to the desired consistency in the next step.)

Place mixture into a large non-stick saucepan and bring slowly to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. Do not boil, but simmer uncovered over medium-low heat about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow mixture to cool in the pan about 1 hour; ladle into plastic containers or sterilized canning jars and refrigerate until ready to use. Sauce may be used immediately, stored in the refrigerator for several weeks, or frozen 3-4 months. Yields about 2 quarts.

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3 PINES BEEF ENCHILADAS
This is my way of doing these....I'm sure there are a gazillion versions out there! You can make these a couple of hours ahead of time and keep refrigerated until ready to bake.
Yields 6 enchiladas
Prep.Time: 45 minutes

2 cups 3 Pines Enchilada Sauce, or 2 10-oz. cans Enchilada Sauce
3 tablespoons Beef Broth or water *
2 cups 3 Pines Mexican Beef Filling, or other prepared Taco-seasoned meat
2-3 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
6 Corn Tortillas
Vegetable oil for heating tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease a shallow 15x8x1 baking pan. Place sauce in small bowl; gradually add just enough broth to thin sauce to desired consistency (we like it thick---it's not necessary to use all the broth). Spread about 1/4 cup sauce over bottom of pan. Heat meat in small skillet or saucepan; stir in 2 tablespoons of sauce to meat. Add green onions and about 1/2 cup of the cheese; set aside.

In a small skillet, heat 2-3 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat until hot enough that a drop of water dances on top; carefully cook tortillas, one at a time, 4-5 seconds per side, turning once with tongs, until just limp and very slightly blistered. Drain on paper towels; spread about 2 tablespoons of meat filling down the center of tortilla. Wrap tortilla around filling tightly; place seam side down on baking pan. Repeat the cook/fill/wrap process until all are done.

Cover with remaining sauce; sprinkle with remaining cheese. (At this point, the dish may be prepared ahead, covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

Bake 20 minutes (30 minutes if chilled), until heated through and bubbly. Serve immediately, using an elongated narrow spatula to remove enchiladas from pan, and spoon sauce over.

* NOTE: If using commercially canned sauce, do not use beef broth to thin out the sauce.

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3 PINES CHEESE ENCHILADAS
No cookbook could ever provide me with a recipe for excellent cheese enchiladas like I used to get in Tucson----so I made up my own! These are great, especially if my "3 Pines Enchilada Sauce" is used because you get the flavor of the real chile peppers! This recipe is easy to double or even triple.
Serves: 2
Prep.Time: 30 minutes

1 cup 3 Pines Enchilada Sauce, or 1 can (10-oz.) Enchilada Sauce
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
3 Green Onions, with tops -- thinly sliced
1 fresh anaheim or jalapeno chile -- seeded and diced
1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
Vegetable Oil for frying
4 Corn Tortillas
Additional sliced Green Onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; spray a 9"-square baking pan with cooking spray and spoon just enough of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan to barely coat it. In a medium bowl, combine cheeses, onions, diced chile and seasonings. In a small saucepan or a 7" non-stick skillet, warm enchilada sauce over low heat; spread about 2 tablespoons over bottom of baking dish.

In a small skillet, heat about 3-4 tablespoons oil over medium heat; using tongs, dip tortillas one at a time 4-5 seconds each side and drain on paper towels. For each tortilla; place about a handful of cheese mixture lengthwise on one side; roll tightly and place in baking pan seam side down. Repeat until all tortillas are prepared.

Ladle remaining sauce over enchiladas; top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake 9-10 minutes or until heated through and bubbly. Serve immediately garnished with sliced green onions.

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BURRITOS GRANDE
I don't actually fold these like normal burritos, but they are "grande" (big) and filling, and yummy! One of our favorites.
Serves: 4

2 cups 3 Pines Mexican Beef Filling
1/4 cup 3 Pines Ranchero Salsa or other hot salsa
1/4 cup chopped Onion
1 fresh Jalapeño chile (optional) -- chopped
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
4 large Flour Tortillas (10 inches)
Olive Oil
1 cup commercial Cheese and Salsa (Tostitos "Salsa con Queso")
Shredded Lettuce
Chopped Tomatoes
Chopped Onion
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Hot Salsa

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat beef filling in a medium skillet until heated through. Remove from heat; stir in onion, chile if used, and cheese and set aside.

Brush olive oil over one side of each tortilla; turn over. Place about 2-3 tablespoons filling down one side of tortilla; tuck in the end and roll tightly. Place on a shallow baking pan and repeat process with the other three tortillas. Bake 12-15 minutes until tortillas are lightly browned and beginning to crisp.

Meanwhile, heat "Salsa con Queso" in microwave 2 minutes on high, or in a small saucepan until melted and bubbling. Place on burrito grande on each plate, pour hot cheese sauce over top and serve with garnishes.

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FRIJOLES REFRITOS
This recipe was brought back from Mexico by a couple who later wrote a cookbook (that's where I found it). I don't know of any proper substitute for the fat (but you can try oil---I haven't)----it just doesn't taste right otherwise. This is just about as authentic a Mexican dish as you can get.
Serves 4

FOR FRIJOLES MEXICANA:
1 pound dried Pinto beans -- washed and sorted
7 cups Water
1/4 teaspoon ground Cumin
2 cloves Garlic -- minced
3 tablespoons Bacon Drippings
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 large Onion -- minced
FOR FRIJOLES REFRITOS:
4 tablespoons Bacon Drippings
4 cups Frijoles Mexicana
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

FOR FRIJOLES MEXICANA (Mexican Beans):
Place beans in a large pot with water, cumin and garlic; simmer on low heat 1-1/2 hours. Add remaining ingredients; simmer over low heat another 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Drain and reserve liquid.

FOR FRIJOLES REFRITOS (Refried Beans):
Heat drippings in a large skillet; add beans and a little of the bean liquid. Mash beans well, leaving a few whole. Cook a few minutes, stirring frequently, until beans become a paste. Serve immediately, topped with cheese.

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MEXICAN RICE
This is an easy, quick side dish that goes perfectly with almost any Tex-Mex meal.
Serves 4
Prep. Time about 25 minutes

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup chopped Onion
2 tablespoons finely diced Carrot
1 clove Garlic -- minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup uncooked Long-grain Rice
1/4 cup Picante Sauce
3/4 cup Water

Saute onion, carrot, garlic and rice in oil in a medium saucepan for 4-5 minutes or until rice begins to turn golden and onion is soft, stirring frequently. Add picante sauce and water; bring to a boil. Lower heat; cover and simmer 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve immediately.

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CORN FRITTERS
I found these yummy li'l guys in Jack Daniels Barbecue Cookbook. Use whatever kind of corn available---fresh cooked off the cob, frozen and thawed, or canned and drained.
Prep. Time about 30 minutes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne or to taste (optional)
2 eggs -- beaten
3/4 cup milk, or more if needed
2 cups whole kernel corn (see my note above)
Vegetable oil for frying

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the eggs. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly, until batter resembles thick pancake batter consistency, using more than 3/4 cup if needed. Fold in corn. Heat about 1/2 inch oil in a large heavy skillet to about 365 degrees. Carefully drop batter by tablespoonfuls into hot oil and fry fritters until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, sprinkling with a little more salt. Serve hot.

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CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING
For folks not on a diet, this is a perfectly yummy way to end any meal! Make this even more special by using Mexican chocolate, of which there is no equal. (If you can't find it in your stores, try ordering it from Cooking.com on my Shopping Page).
Serves 10-12

3 1/4 cups milk
5 eggs -- beaten
1 can chocolate-flavored syrup(16 oz.;1-1/2 cup)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
8 - 10 oz French bread (about 8 cups) -- cut in 1" cubes
3 ounces semisweet chocolate -- coarsely chopped
3 ounces white chocolate -- coarsely chopped
BOURBON CHOCOLATE SAUCE:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate -- chopped
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons bourbon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine milk, eggs, syrup, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in bread cubes; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in chopped semisweet and white chocolate; pour mixture into ungreased 13x9x2 baking dish. Bake uncovered 50-55 minutes or until pudding is puffy and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly (center will fall).

Meanwhile, for the sauce, in a heavy saucepan, stir semisweet chocolate over low heat just until melted. Stir in cream and sugar; cook and stir over medium heat 5-6 minutes or until mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat; whisk until smooth. Stir in bourbon. Cool slightly before serving spooned over warm pudding.

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KEY LIME PIE
I found this in King Arthur Flour Baker's Catalog, and immediately ordered their Key Lime Juice and Lime Oil---it's for real)! You can find them among my "faves" on my Shopping Page. What a refreshing way to end a meal, especially if you make your sauces and dishes on the spicy side!
Serves 6

CRUST:
1 1/2 cups vanilla cookie crumbs -- melted
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
6 tablespoons melted butter
FILLING:
1 package cream cheese (8 oz.) -- softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
1/3 cup fresh key lime juice (8-10 key limes)
1/8 teaspoon lime oil -- optional
1 cup sour cream

Whipped cream -- optional
Lime slices -- optional

CRUST: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the crust ingredients in the bowl of a mixer or food processor; puse a few times to mix well. Press mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake 20-22 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

FILLING: In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until soft. Gradually add condensed milk and beat until well-blended. Add lime juice and lime oil (if using); and mix until just combined. Add sour cream, mixing until smooth. Pour filling into cooled pie crust; refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. (Filling will thicken as it sits.)

Garnish slices of pie with large dollops of whipped cream and lime slices if desired.

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