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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


March 22, 2003 - Issue 83


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In the next issues, I'm going to feature recipes that are good for you. This time, I'm sharing some heart-healthy Southwestern dishes.


Beef and Bean Enchiladas



  • 1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 8 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup canned nonfat refried beans
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese


  • In a small bowl, stir together tomato sauce and salsa. Using about half the tomato sauce mixture, brush both sides of each tortilla. Stack tortillas on a plate and set aside. (This allows tortillas to soften.)

  • In a large skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat until brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place in a colander and rinse under hot water. Drain well. Wipe skillet with a paper towel. Return beef to skillet. Stir in refried beans, chili powder, cumin and pepper. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, or until heated through.

  • Preheat broiler.

  • Spoon about 1/4 cup of the mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up tortillas and place, seam side down, in a 10x6x2-inch or 9x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Top with remaining tomato sauce mixture.

  • Broil 4 inches from the heat for 5 minutes, or until browned.

  • Sprinkle with cheese. Let stand 5 minutes before serving

Chicken and Tortilla Casserole


  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 1 teaspoon acceptable vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14.5-ounce can no-salt-added tomatillos, drained (or substitute red tomatoes,if desired)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1 cup shredded low-fat Monterey Jack cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Cut the tortillas into quarters and place them in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, or until they are crisp. Set aside.
  • (Baking helps to deepen the flavor of the tortilla.)
  • In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender.
  • Place the tomatillos, broth, jalapeño, and black pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  • Add this mixture to the onion mixture and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes over medium heat. Set aside.
  • Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish lightly with vegetable oil spray.
  • Place half of the tortilla quarters on the bottom of the dish, followed by half of the chicken, half of the tomatillo mixture, and half of the cheese. Repeat layers.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and spread sour cream on top. Serve warm.

Tip:The green tomatillo sauce (or salsa verde) in this recipe can be used over enchiladas, chicken, or fish, or even as a dip for baked tortilla chips.

This recipe leaves plenty of room for your own touches. If you have leftover chicken, turkey, or even lean roast beef, about 2 1/4 cups of any of these, give them a try. An extra piece of bell pepper or leftover vegetables in your refrigerator? Toss them in as well. You can add more cheese, but cut back on the poultry or meat if you do.

Fresh and Chunky Salsa



  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped green or yellow bell pepper
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • Few dashes bottled red hot pepper sauce
  • In a bowl, stir together all ingredients.

Serve with Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips or commercial tortilla chips with no added fat. Can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips



  • 10 5-inch corn tortillas


  • Preheat oven to 400º F. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crisp. Cool before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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