Friday, May 30, 2014

Last Friday of the Month Recipe ~ Santa Fe Casserole & Meet Author Andrea R. Cooper

Okay, anything Mexican, New Mexican, close to Mexican food is going straight to my heart (not hips, you notice I said) so I can't wait to try this new recipe from Andrea R. Cooper.  

And keep reading, we have an excerpt from her novel Cursed in Shadow Book 1.5 Legends of Oblivion series.

Santa Fe Casserole

This is my favorite recipe because it is spicy, cheesy, and versatile.

1 lb Ground Beef (sirloin or round)
1 cup of chicken broth
1 Tablespoon of flour
1 package of Taco Seasoning
1 can sliced or diced jalapeños
1 can sliced or diced green chilies (mild to hot, whichever you can handle)
4oz of sour cream
1 package of Fritos Scoops
Grated Monterrey Pepper Jack Cheese or Cheddar (as much or as little as you like)
Options: mix 1/2lb of beef with 1/2lb ground turkey. Add diced tomatoes or red bell pepper, (we even mixed sweet potatoes with the turkey meat once and it was still yummy). This is a very forgiving recipe and allows for lots of variations.

Brown meat. While the meat is cooking, heat up the chicken broth in a separate container, add the flour and whisk until all the flour is dissolved. When the meat is no longer pink, drain the fat. Return to pan, add the taco seasoning, jalapeños and green chilies. Stir in the chicken broth with the flour mixed in to the meat. Add the sour cream and simmer on low for 20 mins.

In the meantime, take a casserole dish and place a layer of the Fritos chips on the bottom.
Grate the cheese.
Add a layer of cheese to the Fritos in the dish.

After the meat mixture has simmered, add a layer of it on top of the chips and cheese. Then lay another layer of the chips, cheese, and meat again until no more of the meat mixture remains (The last of the meat mixture will not have chips on top of it in the dish, the chips are only for the bottom and middle layers). Then top with cheese (include the tomatoes and/or bell peppers here if using them).

So the final layer will have chips, cheese, last of the meat mixture, more cheese and any extras (i.e. tomatoes).

Bake uncovered for 15-20 mins at 250 degrees or until cheese is melted and it is heated throughout.


Cursed in Shadow is the continuation of The Garnet Dagger, Book 1 Legends of Oblivion series. This novelette bridges Book 1 and Son of Dragons, Book 2. 

After defeating the Warloc, Brock, the Elvin Vampyre, takes Celeste to Tamlon to search the prophecies of the four and the Son of Dragons. However, the Elvin city is not safe, even for his witch. 

The Warloc’s protégé is bent on his physical return to the living. Her necromancy brings forth Brock’s first victim and more. 

Brock and Celeste must defeat prejudice and power to continue their journey and find Brock’s twin sister, Mirhana.

When I rose, the two guards sidestepped away. Nay, they would not gamble their lives again by being within my reach.

Thankfully, since rescuing Celeste from the oak cave had taken all night, Shadowdancer was rested for the ride back to Tamlon.

With Celeste’s wounds slathered with yarroway and other healing plants, she mounted. Then Emillya climbed up behind her.

At least one Elvin besides me did not hate humans. If Emillya didn’t like humans, or Celeste for that matter, she wouldn’t speak to her much less ride on a horse with her. I ran alongside them while Celeste and Emillya talked. One guard raced on the opposite side of Shadowdancer, the other in front. And it appeared the horse gave the Elvin a race.

The Elvin were considerate enough to let Shadowdancer canter or walk whenever he tired. How they understood that running the horse too long too fast would be the end of him I do not know. There have never been horses in Elvin lands for as long as I can remember.

We all took turns getting Celeste to talk to us about her cave adventure; she must stay awake awhile longer, even though we could all see she fought to keep her eyes open.

“As soon as you’ve rested,” Emillya told her, glowering at my constant interruptions to translate, “you need to view the prophecies of the four. Nivel gave me instructions when he left with Brock. The library vaults await unchanged. He told me you’d come back after banishing the Warloc to the underworld.

“Hopefully, Brock hasn’t caused unrealized damage by the oak magic trapping you.”
I nearly stumbled at her words. How was I to know snares waited to spring upon humans in our land? Our kind was immune.

Just as I opened my mouth to voice my argument, Celeste smiled at me. Her grey eyes held a glimmer of her merriment, and my frown eased.

With a chuckle, I turned back to the path. Celeste was safe now. And that was all that mattered.

“We’ll make camp at dark.” Emillya patted Shadowdancer’s rump. “Should make Tamlon soon. It’s a fine horse—any other I fear would take us three or four nights to return.”

“That reminds me.” I said. “How did you get to the labyrinth so soon? The journey from Tamlon is longer than the time of Celeste’s entrapment.”

“We have a secret path Nivel created. It’s ancient magic and travels Elvin here within an hour.”

“Then let’s take this path back.” Celeste said.

“It’s only for Elvin. The magic would crush a human and perhaps even a horse.”

“Perhaps your magic needs to be altered now.” Celeste smiled.

“Indeed.” Emillya answered. “I’ll mention the request to the elders.”

When we arrived in Tamlon, I hoped to show Celeste the wonders of my land. And bask in the sun naked with her.

After the others slept, I laid down beside Celeste. She turned and snuggled her head under my chin. “Your language is so beautiful. Almost like music with its rhythms and melody.”

My hand traced circles up and down her back. “Emir voulan sptrea.”

“What does that mean?”

I eased her chin up and she looked into my eyes. “We are one heart.” I kissed her and relished in the sweetness of her mouth for we could do little else with company.

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Bio: Growing up in Houston, Texas, Andrea has always created characters and stories. But it wasn't until she was in her late twenties that she started writing novels.

What happened that ignited the writing flame in her fingers? Divorced, and disillusioned by love songs and stories. They exaggerate. She thought. Love and Romance are not like that in the real world. Then she met her husband and realized, yes love and romance are exactly like the songs and stories say. She is now a happy wife, and a mom to three kids (two boys and a girl).

Andrea writes paranormal and historical romance. When not writing or reading, one may find Andrea dancing in Zumba.

She believes in the power of change and counting each moment as a blessing. But most importantly, she believes in love.

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