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March Madness..Enjoy the Fun of Cooking

  February 28, 2023

Will March come in like a  lion?  Or a lamb?   No matter what the weather does...cooking at home can be a great way to have fun as a family or with friends cooking together.  You can even create a little competitive activity with some sort of prizes for the best or most flavorful dish.  Or, just have  a great time being together.  You can even have a drawing for who gets to cook what dish.  

Another idea is for "stay at home" Moms or for weekends is to get together and do some batch cooking of dishes like chili, pasta sauce (my all-time favorite, recipe follows) casseroles such as an Enchilada Casserole  (recipe below).  You can make large batches together and then share the benefits for yummy eating with little or no effort for meal preparation later.

For some yummy chili recipes, come to our "Chili It Up" class set for Thursday, March 16 or our "Taco Time" class set for April  6.  (We do have very few openings in our next class, March 9--"New Mexico Favorites".) 

Our weekend and week long classes are much more inclusive.  The  weekend class is designed to teach the most popular and historic dishes of New Mexican cooking, whereas the week long class includes regional Mexican favorites such as moles  and Tres Leches cake.  For complete menus, check them out on our website, www.janebutelcooking.com.

I look forward to cooking with you--here's the  recipes...


(Italian Red Meat Sauce) 

Italian food a favorite?  Never be caught without this savory sauce, packaged in various quantities. For variety and convenience, package the sauce separately in different quantities for single, family, and company cooking. 

Yield: 8 servings 

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 cup minced onion

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground pork or other substitute such as Italian sausage

1 pound ground veal or turkey

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons Mediterranean oregano

1 teaspoon each of the following: thyme, rosemary, marjoram, basil and  savory

2 Tablespoons caribe chile

2/3 cup loosely packed snipped Italian  parsley

2 bay leaves

2, 14.5-oz. cans tomatoes or 1, 28-oz.

2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced or 1, 5-oz. can mushrooms

2 6-oz. cans tomato paste

1 ½ cups water

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup dry red wine (optional) 

  1. Place  olive oil in large pot or stock pot and sauté onion until clear and slightly browned. Add meats and stir into small pieces. 
  1. Press garlic with salt and add to meat mixture with remaining spices, tomatoes, tomato paste, and Parmesan cheese. 
  1. Simmer sauce until flavors are well blended, if it becomes too thick, add water—about 1 hour—add wine if desired during last 5 minutes of cooking. Cool and package. Freezing hint: Package freezer weight bags, wide-mouth jars or containers for a variety of uses. 

Maximum recommended freezer storage: 2 months 

To serve, cook your favorite pasta, such as spaghetti, rigatoni, or shells, and serve topped with lots of freshly grated Parmesan. Or use sauce as the basis for lasagna or manicotti.


A typically Texas main dish. Sometimes, this is called Tex-Mex Lasagna.

Yield: 4 servings

1 pound mixed, shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese,

13 ounces evaporated milk

1 pound lean ground beef

1 teaspoon salt

2 cloves fresh minced garlic

12 corn tortillas

4 ounces chopped green chiles, fresh and parched, or frozen

½ cup chopped onion

1. Melt the cheese in the evaporated milk.

2. Fry ground beef until browned and drain. Add salt and garlic.

3. Place ingredients in a greased 2-quart casserole dish, starting with tortillas. Add ground beef, chiles and onion; repeat.

4. Pour cheese mixture over entire dish and cover.

5. Bake in a 350° F. over for 25 to 30 minutes.

Variations: Add 2 cups cooked pinto beans for added flavor. Add more green chiles if desired.

Freezing Hint: Place greased criss-crossed pieces of foil in casserole dish. Then make casserole on top of foil. When frozen solid, place in a large freezer bag and label with date.

Reprinted with permission from Jane Butel’s Tex-Mex Cookbook.





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