South of the Border Inspiration

Today is Nation Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day. While kiddo and I are big fans of Pastrami, Hubby not so much. Besides, today is Friday. And we all know that meat of any kind is generally not something us Old School Catholics have on a Friday night.

Besides, I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic these days. When I was a teenager, the place to be was Taco Bell. It was the only restaurant in the neighborhood that was within walking distance. Dining was outdoors. And the tacos could be had cheaply – as in spare change from the sofa cushions cheap.

Back then, you had tacos and you had beans. That was pretty much it. Hard crunchy shells filled with a meat-like filling, some lettuce and shredded cheese. And the beans – Pintos and Cheese. They came in paper cups with a layer of cheese and a red sauce. No bells, no whistles, just basic cheap food. From a teenager’s perspective, it was the best.

These days, when I’m feeling nostalgic, I just get in the kitchen and whip up simple yet delicious memories from those bygone days. Hubby has told me I can make this meal every Friday and he would love it. Kiddo agrees.

Taco Bell Inspired Spicy Quesadillas
Spicy Sauce
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Nacho Jalapeno Peppers, minced
1 tablespoon Jalapeno juice from jar
1/2 teaspoon New Mexican Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne

Place mayonnaise in a mixing bowl. Mince jalapeno peppers, add to mayonnaise. Add juice from the jar, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Mix well, taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until ready to use.

Quesadillas
1/2 tablespoon butter
2 cups Mexican Cheese
1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
4 large Flour Tortillas

Melt butter on a large flat skillet or griddle.

Lay tortillas on a flat worksurface. Spread spicy sauce over tortilla. Spread 1/2 cup of the Mexican Cheese down half of each tortilla. Scatter 1/4 cup of Cheddar Cheese over the Mexican Blend. Fold tortilla in half to cover cheese.

Cook on hot griddle until both sides are golden and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes per side.

Cut quesadillas into wedges. Serve with Pintos-N-Cheese and enjoy!

This recipe was originally designed to be baked in a single round casserole dish. However; Hubby isn’t a fan of cheese. By making the pintos-n-cheese in individual ramekins, each can be customized. Add diced jalapenos for those who want more heat, skip the enchilada sauce or forgo the cheese. Anyway you make them, they are delicious.

Baked Pintos-N-Cheese
1 can Refried Beans
1/4 Red Onion
1/4 cup Red Enchilada Sauce
1/2 cup Mild Cheddar Cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spritz 4 small ramekins with cooking spray.

Divide beans in into the prepared dishes. Finely mince onions, scatter over the beans. Top each with a few spoonfuls of enchilada sauce, then a scattering of cheese. Cover each serving with foil.

Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Add about 1/2-inch of water into the baking sheet to create a little steam. Bake in the heated oven for about 25 minutes or until heated through.

Carefully remove from oven. Serve as individual bowls of Pintos and Cheese. But remember, those ramekins are hot!


Still in need of a Hot Pastrami Sandwich fix? Got you covered. You can take your pick from previous postings such as French Dip Pastrami Sandwich or a Cheesy Hot Pastrami Sandwich.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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