Connestee Cooks: Mexican Happy Hour in the Mountains

Connestee Falls Cookbook Cover ArtCONNESTEE COOKS! is a cookbook compiled of classic recipes from the myriad of chefs in residence at Connestee Falls. The book covers a wide range of meals, styles and ingredients. The culinary diversity is shared in recipes from the book posted regularly here on the Blog.


EnchiladaIt’s the right time of year when the weather is perfect for hosting a happy hour with friends and neighbors. There’s no better way to celebrate a perfect summer day than a Mexican themed happy hour. It doesn’t matter where you are, but there is no better place in the summer than the mountains of Western North Carolina. If you’re in Connestee Falls, the margaritas might just taste a little bit sweeter.

That’s why this month the Connestee Cooks feature is a Mexican themed afternoon fiesta of recipes.

Start with a twist on the typical chips and salsa with this offering from Kay Ponder

2 (15 oz.) cans black beans rinsed and drained
1 (17 oz.) can whole kernel corn
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large avocado, peeled and chopped
1 purple onion, chopped
⅛  to ¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro
3 to 4 Tbsp. lime juice drained
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Pepper

Combine all and chill. Serve with tortilla chips.

Bring on a classic favorite from resident Barb Smith

2 cans (16 oz.) refried beans
1 (15 oz.) can nacho cheese sauce
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 (16 oz.) container sour cream
Salsa (mild or hot)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 (15 oz.) can pitted black olives, drained and chopped
1 ½ c. Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Tortilla chips
In large mixing bowl, combine refried beans with ½ can
of nacho cheese sauce, taco seasoning mix
and ½ cup sour cream. Stir until well blended.
On a large platter, spread the refried bean mix
to form the first layer. Spread rest of sour cream over
beans, then layer with remaining nacho sauce, then
Top with chopped tomato, green pepper, black
olives, Cheddar cheese and green onions. Chill until
ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips.
Serves about 12.

 Add a unique appetizer sandwich recipe from Toots Foth.

Tijuana Tid-Bits
¼ c. avocado or creamy garlic dressing
1 Tbsp. taco sauce
8 slices coarse white bread, crusts removed
4 slices Monterey Jack cheese
2 small hot Mexican peppers, diced (optional)
1 large white onion, sliced
¾ lb. shaved roast beef
4 slices American cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 bag taco-flavored or regular-flavored tortilla chips, crushed
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

Combine dressing and taco sauce. Spread evenly on each slice of bread. Divide each ingredient into 4 portions and layer on 4 of the bread slices as follows: Monterey Jack cheese, peppers, onions, roast beef and American cheese. Top with slice of bread.

Combine eggs and sour cream. Dip each sandwich into the egg-sour cream mixture and then into crushed tortilla chips, coating each side. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry sandwiches until browned on both sides. Place prepared sandwiches on cookie sheet and freeze until solid, about 2 hours. Remove and cut each sandwich into 4 squares. Arrange in 9×13-inch baking dish; cover and return to freezer. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake tidbits for 15 to 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Note: Recipe may be kept frozen for 6 to 8 weeks.
Serving Suggestions: Margaritas and avocado dip with tortilla chips complement the tidbits nicely.
Serves 12 to 16. Preparation: 20 minutes. Baking: 20 minutes. Freezing: 2 hours. Temperature: 375°

Then heat things up with this recipe from Mary Meseck.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas:
1 chicken, cooked, boned and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 ½ tsp. minced onion
3 to 5 jalapenos, chopped
1 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 c. sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
½ c. cooking oil
12 corn tortillas

Preheat oven to 350°. In saucepan, heat soup, sour cream, onions and peppers for about five minutes. Soften tortillas in hot oil and drain on paper towels
Top each tortilla with chicken pieces and 2 to 4 tablespoons of soup mixture. Roll up and arrange in greased 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Pour remaining soup mixture over enchiladas. Top with shredded cheese. Bake 30 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.

And no Mexican style happy hour celebration could be complete without fresh made Margaritas! This recipe for frozen margaritas is from the Jose Cuervo website.

The Cuervo Frozen Margarita

1 oz Jose Cuervo Especial® Gold
3 oz Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix® , Classic Lime
4 oz crushed ice
1 lime
1 tsp kosher salt
Glass: Margarita with a cut lime in slice. Rub rim of chilled margarita glass with lime slice, and dip into salt to coat. Mix Jose Cuervo Especial® Gold, Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix®, and crushed ice in a blender. Pour into margarita glass and garnish with lime wedge.

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