Collegiate Cooking: Your very own Mexican meal!

collegiatecookingMy inspiration: The Chile Relleno

This week, in keeping with our new international theme, we’ll be taking a look at how to make a complete Mexican meal! In my family, whenever everyone gets together and goes out for Mexican as a large group, it is guaranteed that at least two or three of us will find our way to the chile relleno, and for many of us, we use it as the basis for our judgment of the overall quality of the restaurant, and I’ve been sucked in as well—I love them!

So the basis of our recipe this week is an easy-to-make meal based on two interpretations of my favorite Mexican dish, the chile relleno. Any of these easy recipes can be prepared separately if only one catches your interest, or you can prepare them all together as a feast for your dorm-mates!

Our Mexican meal will feature Jalepeno poppers—a simple, delicious, and flexible appetizer—followed by a Chile Relleno Casserole with Spanish rice on the side!

Jalepeno Poppers:

What You’ll Need:

  • 16 jalapeno chiles
  • 1 1/2 cups of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy (optional for a vegetarian)
  • 3 Tbs. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic or 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, medium or sharp, grated

What to Do:

  1. Fry the bacon until crisp and set aside
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
  3. Rinse and dry the jalepeno peppers, the cut off the stems and slice them in half down the middle. If you like your food extra spicy, leave in the seeds! If not, remove as many of the seeds as you need to fit your taste, keeping in mind that leaving all of them will light your mouth on fire, while removing them all will make for a fairly mild dish.
  4. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and garlic.
  5. With your hands, crush the bacon and add it to the mixture as well
  6. Place the peppers onto a greased cookie sheet.
  7. With a spoon, scoop the cream cheese mixture into the peppers and top it with the cheddar cheese (push the cheddar into the cream cheese a little bit to make sure it stays)
  8. When all peppers are full, bake them for 25-30 minutes until they are golden-brown on top.
  9. Enjoy!

Chile Relleno Casserole:

What You’ll Need:

  • 12 oz.can of Chile Ortegas, whole Chiles
  • 1 1/2lbs. of shredded jack cheese or Mexican 3 cheese blend
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

What to Do:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. In a bowl, mix eggs, milk, flour, and salt
  3. Drain chiles and slice them. Layer the chiles and cheese in a lightly greased casserole dish (approximately 9×13 is recommended)
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the chiles and cheese
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes
  6. Enjoy!

Spanish Rice:

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 large tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup tomato puree
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 3/4 cups of chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup of frozen peas

What to Do:

  1. Add oil to a large pan and heat on medium high.
  2. Add rice and sauté for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown
  3. Add  the onion and bell pepper and sauté it all together for another 5 to 10 minutes
  4. Add the garlic and sauté for three more minutes
  5. Stir in the tomato puree, salt, and chicken broth, and increase the heat to high (if you cannot fit all of this into a frying pan, it will be ok to transfer the mixture to a pot for the remainder of the time)
  6. Continuing to stir, bring to a full boil and boil for 2 minutes
  7. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and let simmer for twenty minutes
  8. Remove the cover, turn off the heat, and stir in the peas
  9. Replace the lid and wait five minutes, then enjoy!

An overall tip:

If you want to make the entire meal and want everything to be ready at the same time, prepare the casserole first and put it in the oven, then prepare the jalepeno poppers. While these both cook, make the rice.

Don’t forget that any of these recipes is open for interpretation! Customize with any of your favorite flavors!

Credit for this recipe goes to, where you can find many, many more equally delicious and simple recipes!

Photo from Flickr user jessicafm, used under a Creative Commons license.

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