I was eating a handful of tortilla chips after work, today – leftover hurricane provisions – when I decided I wanted Mexican food for dinner tonight.  Or, rather, my gringo version of Mexican food.  It’s been a few lifetimes ago since I was last actually in Mexico and no self-respecting Mexican would lay claim to the things I throw together, but I do love the flavors.  While my concoctions may be unorthodox, they’re usually fun and flavorful.

Tonight’s concept started out as a chicken breast that I floured, egg-dipped, and then coated in a combination of panko bread crumbs and cornmeal.  Fairly unorthodox.  I sauteed a chopped bell pepper and a bit of jalapeño pepper and then added it to some pinto beans and a jar of tomatillo salsa – salsa verde.  It went into a casserole, the browned chicken breasts went on top, and it all went into a 350° oven for 30 minutes.

I then took it out, added the sliced tomatoes and pepper jack cheese, and put it back into the oven for another 20 minutes.

It was ooey-gooey good!  My mom would make dishes like this when we were kids.  Vaguely ethnic in a white bread sort of way.  It was great because when I finally did have authentic ethnic meals, there was just enough familiarity for me to accept them and not be afraid to try things and experiment with even more exotic flavors.


I really do like simple, one-dish meals.  I love when the weather turns colder and soups, stews, and casseroles come back out.

My only problem is I usually can’t make a one-pot meal without dirtying a dozen pots.

I shouldn’t complain. It is an art-form, after all.  But it is a bit ironic…