My King Ranch Chicken

King Ranch Chicken l Scarletta Bakes

I confess that, even as the outdoor thermostat rises, I still crave casseroles; this week will be solidly in the 90s here in the Valley of the Sun, but for the past few days I haven’t been able to stop thinking about a certain cheesy, flavorful, bubbling casserole…

King Ranch Chicken (also known as King Ranch Casserole) is a Tex-Mex heirloom dish that has been around for almost as long as its namesake, although the recipe likely did not actually originate from King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas (King Ranch, one of the largest working ranches in the world, is, after all, known for its beef).

The truth is that no one knows for sure where the original recipe for King Ranch Chicken came from, but it most certainly gained traction in popular culture right around the middle of the twentieth century while canned and condensed soups were also quickly becoming mainstays in pantries throughout the United States. Which is probably why, lineage or no lineage, there is very little question about the ingredients that typically make up a traditional King Ranch Chicken Casserole:  canned cream of mushroom soup, canned cream of chicken soup, canned Ro-Tel tomatoes, and canned roasted green chiles. Other ingredients are common -bell peppers, chicken, tortillas and cheese- but the cans stand out.

So I suppose, both in my abandonment of the can (I didn’t kick them all to the curb!), as well as my craving of the comfort-wielding casserole just as the mercury inches dangerously close to 100º F, I am committing some type of dual heresy.

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Best Chili For Your Week

Bowl Of Best Chili l Scarletta Bakes

I don’t know exactly what your week will entail.

I don’t know if you’ll have a couple of bonkers work deadlines to meet.

Or maybe you have some Spring Break stuff to be breaking.

Perhaps you’ll need to be reminded of Daylight Savings? Or maybe you’ll do some reminding yourself…

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Red Bean & Rice Burritos

Basket Of Burritos l Scarletta Bakes

Let’s celebrate Mardi Gras!

Sure, we’re a little early. And it’s true that we’re nowhere near New Orleans. But don’t you just feel like you want to let the good times roll right about now? Me too…

Red Beans + Rice l Scarletta Bakes

I don’t have a strong connection with New Orleans or its tradition, but I have often celebrated Mardi Gras over the years; it falls at a time on the calendar when most people are just about begging for the weather to warm up, dying to let loose and live a little, and after the first of the year’s health push, probably looking for a bit of indulgence.

Perfect.

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Loaded Turkey Taters (Totchos!)

Loaded Turkey Totchos l Scarletta Bakes

Have you heard?

You’re going to have some leftover turkey to contend with in the next couple of days.

Turkey to make sandwiches out of.
Turkey to put into soup.
Turkey to roll up and use as a scrunchie for your hair.

Lots and lots of turkey!

I personally am not the biggest turkey fan as I find it to be somewhat flavorless. Which is precisely why, after my sandwiches are made, my soup it stirred, and my hair is done did, I spin my leftover turkey into as much spicy, seasoned goodness as I can dream up.

So…  spicy loaded totchos!

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Cheater’s Green Chili Chicken Pot Pie

Green Chili Chicken Pot Pie l Scarletta Bakes

I don’t like cheating. I really don’t.

I never stole from the bank during a round of Monopoly. I didn’t write answers to math quizzes on my palm. I never tried to avoid the instant replay cameras in soccer. (Did they really use instant replay cameras in soccer games for 8 year olds? That’s what my coach told me. I call shenanigans.)

But in the immortal words of J. Lo, I’m real. Which means that last week my Wednesday night looked like exhaustion, two growling tummies, one irritable dog who had been home alone for way too long, and piles and piles of laundry:  this degree of real required some cheating.

Cheating and comfort! So I busted out this pot pie recipe and cheated with a few shortcuts.

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Chipotle Chicken Cemita Sandwiches

Chipotle Chicken Cemita l Scarletta Bakes

Are you familiar with cemitas poblanas? No? Please allow me to handle the introductions…

Cemitas are sandwiches that originate in the Mexican state of Puebla. The term ‘cemita’ refers to both the specific type of bread on which the sandwiches are constructed, as well as the finished sandwiches themselves.

You’ll want to build cemitas when you’re hungry.
You’ll want to build cemitas when you’re craving a perfectly matched array of flavors and textures.
You’ll want to build cemitas when you’re interested in putting a height-defying and perfectly satisfying sandwich that you won’t soon forget into your face.

Here’s what you’re going to want to do to complete construction:

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Dr. Pepper Chicken Tostadas

Dr. Pepper Chicken Tostadas

I can’t believe the summer is already almost over!

Sorry, I shouldn’t have spilled my cliché juice all over you, but I just had to say it. Because I really can’t believe it!

I mean, who authorized both weekends and summertime days getting shorter and going by so quickly?!?

It wasn’t me…

Get Your Dr. Pepper Out

This unfortunate, unfortunate hiccup in the space-time continuum has had one positive effect in my casa:  it has brought me around on busting out my slow cooker before reaching any months that start with the letter ‘o’.

I really always have thought of my crock as a tool relegated to autumn and winter. You know, mulled cider, winter enchiladas, what have you.

But seeing as how summer time is at such a premium these days, I decided to start making a few summer dinners in the slow cooker so that I can enjoy every single summery moment as much as possible.

And now I can’t stop!
I have bested the space-time continuum and all holes and tears therein!
All with the help of my crockpot!
Take that, Einstein! I bet you never used your crockpot for anything!

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Shrimp Tacos + Coconut Avocado Crema

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

What You’ll Be Eating This Cinco de Mayo Week continues with some tacos, some crazy good crema, and some truth talk:  tell me true – do you ever find yourself becoming that person???

That person who insists on humming along with the radio throughout an entire 8 hour road trip?
That person who puts empty milk and juice cartons back into the fridge?
That person with that habit you swore you’d never, ever, ever, never -not EVER- be like?

Don’t forget, this is truth talk time…

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In Skillets: Spring Pea Quesadillas

Spring Pea Quesadillas

Let’s face it:  quesadillas are all kinds of messy. Which is why they’re the perfect candidate for skillet containment.

You could bake your quesadillas on a baking sheet. Sure, you could do that.

But let’s just sit for a spell, talking of skillets, and then see if you want to bust out that baking sheet. We’ll see…

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