Cheesy jalapeño hash brown casserole

cheesy jalapeño hash brown casserole

What happens when you have a bumper crop in your garden? You get creative.

Hash brown casserole is another example of a typically over creamy, over buttered wonderful food that can be made without all the extra fat. The jalapeño adds a really nice flavor. Cooking them first makes it not too spicy.


20 ounce fresh shredded hash browns

3 jalapeño, remove seeds and dice

1 cup diced yellow onion

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup shredded Colby jack cheese – divided


Cook the jalapeño and onion in butter on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the flour. Slowly add the water in small amounts while stirring constantly. Add in the bouillon, pepper, and cumin. Continue to stir often until thickened. Remove from heat. Add in 3/4 cup of the cheese. Stir until melted.


Place the hash browns into a bowl. Fold in the prepared cheese sauce until fully mixed. Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 casserole pan. Press the mixture in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-60 minutes uncovered.






Pickled red onions


1 red onion thin sliced

1 jalapeno thin sliced

1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper

2 garlic cloves smashed

1.5 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup apple cider vinegar

Dissolve the sugar and salt into the vinegar. Pour all of the liquid over the onions, jalapeno, black pepper and garlic that are placed into a mason jar. Refrigerate at least 24 hours. This will store refrigerated for 2 months.

My favorite use for these is on a grilled hot dog or bratwurst.

Carne guisada

What is this? Great question. It is like nothing else. Basically super spicy tex mex stew. It is almost like a beef chili….. served in a flour tortilla. Super juicy and saucy. There is a flavor explosion from slow cooking everything for hours. This is NOT a fast dinner. I will make a big batch on a Sunday. I usually use leftover steak that we didnt eat or stew meat. Today I used leftover steak and some frozen leftover smoked pork.

I hate soggy previously prepared and frozen casseroles. Before my second daughter, I filled my freezer with nothing else and it was a horrid experience. Non of the recipes froze well. I have found a few exceptions that do well in the freezer and this is one. It keeps wonderfully in a ziploc bag to reheat later.


3 roma tomatoes

8 ounces tomato sauce

2 pound beef – steak, stew meat, smoked brisket, whatever you have or a combination but not ground beef. Trim fat. You do not want a fatty piece of meat for this.

1 yellow onion chopped

1 green bell pepper chopped

1 jalepeno seeded and chopped

3 cloves garlic chopped

1/2 or more fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper or peppercorns

2 teaspoons cumin

2 cups beef broth

1/2 teaspoon mexican oregano

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon chipotle chili powdered

1/2 teaspoon salt

If using pre-cooked meat then just combine all into a cast iron dutch oven with lid. Cook on stovetop on low for 2-3 hours. Stir every 20-30 minutes. Add water if it becomes too thick. I leave mine until there are no recognizable veggies left. I want them all cooked down into gravy. The finer you chop the veggies the faster this process happens.

From the beginning and then 30 minutes in:

1 hour:


2 hours:


And the final. See how the veggies vanish? Then it is done. Remember, it will look slightly different. Remember I said I had leftover pulled pork from last week. This photo is using a combination of leftover grilled steak and leftover pulled pork.


Don’t forget this freezes well! It is work (if by that I mean watching it cook for 3 hours), but you can easily get about 2-3 meals for 2 people out of this and maybe more!

Mexican red rice


This rice side dish is my favorite on enchilada or tamale nights. I searched forever for the best recipe. I tried probably like 30 in the past 10 years. I will never try another one again! This one never fails. I found it on Again… I did not create this… but I must re-share something so perfect. Okay I might have changed like 2 things.

2 cups canned petit diced tomatoes – do not drain

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup diced yellow onion

2 cups batsmati rice – rinse under cold water in a mesh strainer

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chicken broth or 2 cups water and 2 chicken bouillon cubes

Juice from one lime – 1 tablespoon or so

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

I use my dutch oven for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the oil in the pot and warm it over medium to medium high heat. Add the rinsed rice and cook this until slightly browned (6-7 minutes). Add the onion and garlic. Cook 1-2 more minutes stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes, paste, lime juice, chicken broth, salt and cumin. Bring this to a gentle boil. Cover immediately and place the whole dutch oven into the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove it from the oven and fluff the rice. Do not stir too much or it will get mushy. Allow it to cool for a bit, then stir again. This is really good leftover or with refried beans inside of a tortilla.

I think the original recipe calls for fresh jalapeno as well. I do not like my rice with heat. I feel as though the rice is the calm to the spice in the food. If I were to add it, I would dice it and add it to the recipe at the same time as the onion and garlic.

Easy black beans


This side dish is so simple. It really can go with any meal, but my favorite is to have it with tacos, over nachos, or with smoked pork and rice. It has no added oil or fat. The flavor all comes from vegetables.


1 can black beans – drain and rinse

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup diced yellow onion

1 small jalapeno – sliced

1/4 tomato diced – any kinds work

1 tsp cumen

1.5 cans of water – use the rinsed bean can

1 tsp chicken bouillon

1 handful fresh cilantro leaves


Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes or until the liquid turns a bit cloudy.


This never quite tastes the same. Sometimes I add a bit of leftover bacon. Sometimes I add fresh garlic. It is always fantastic. I have to say the combination above is my favorite. Tonight i made the same thing bit with pinto beans instead of black beans. Still wonderful!


Here are the peppers I picked yesterday. It is November and the garden is still going strong!