Sneaky Mom Tricks Family, Overeats and Laments Margarita Shortage

In my supremely naïve effort to sneak ANY moderately healthy food into my family, I decided to try a new, yet bizarre recipe that I found on Southern Living’s website. This Hearty Tex-Mex casserole contains many ingredients that my husband actually likes, such as chicken, cheese, sour cream, salsa and tortillas. However, the recipe also sneaks in a substantial portion of squash and spinach, which I have to say, was pretty well concealed in the final product. While Mr. “I-have-X-Ray-Vision” spotted the healthy stuff right off, he eventually gave this casserole a fair try (after much melodramatic protest), and lo and behold, he liked it! The heathens ate a decent amount of this as well, and frankly, I thought it was dang tasty.

Hearty Tex-Mex Casserole

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Ingredients

  • 1  (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 3  medium-size yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 1  large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1  yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2  tablespoons  peanut oil
  • 3  cups  shredded cooked chicken or turkey
  • 12  (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1  (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of celery soup, undiluted
  • 1  (8-ounce) container sour cream
  • 1  (8-ounce) jar picante sauce or salsa
  • 1  (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
  • 1  (1.4-ounce) envelope fajita seasoning
  • 2  cups  (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

Preparation

Drain chopped spinach well, pressing between paper towels to remove excess moisture.

Sauté squash, bell pepper, and onion in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 6 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in spinach, chicken, next 6 ingredients, and 1 1/2 cups cheese. Spoon into a lightly greased 13- x9-inch baking dish. At this point, I worried I screwed it up, because the mixture was VERY thick. However, as it cooked, it loosened up and the consistency was right on.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, and bake 5 more minutes.

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While making this recipe, I also stumbled onto something awesome. I am not a fan of most store-bought salsas. They always seem to taste too sour, vinegary or overall weird. While at the Wally-world, I grabbed a jar of this stuff to use in my casserole prep:

Hands down, this was perhaps the best store-bought salsa I’ve ever had. I liked it so much, I ate the other half of the jar yesterday with a handful to tortilla chips…although I DID let my mom have a bite or two, so quit looking at me like that. All that was missing was a margarita, but I had enough wine to make up for it.

So, if you’re brave enough to sneak your own vegetables-of-doom into your family, give this recipe a try.

But if your husband has X-Ray vision too, you’re on your own, sister.

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