In the little fishing village of Cundy’s Harbor, we have had to work together to make our own fun over these past winter months, and of course, that includes creating many opportunities to eat our way to spring.

There has been a plethora of potluck meals to entice everyone to gather together at the Community Hall to share good food and conversation. There was a breakfast to benefit the library, lunches hosted by Harpswell Aging at Home, a Saturday night dinner and dance to raise funds for the community fire departments, and Tuesday night suppers.

Here in Maine, potluck meals are popular enough that I’m sure we all have our favorite recipes that we can be counted on to prepare for these occasions. There are the lobster pies, the chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, the chili, the kale salad, cheesy hash browns, and chicken and dumplings.

These enchilada casseroles are what I like to contribute when the need arises to feed a crowd. Family favorites that I have been whipping up for years, I know these recipes by heart and can make the casseroles ahead of time and stick them in the freezer so they’re ready for defrosting and baking when another potluck comes around the bend.

For both casseroles, I highly recommend adding a bunch of fresh cilantro, a pint of sour cream, an avocado or two, and a couple bags of tortilla chips to your grocery list for ample garnishes to serve with these crowd-pleasing, family-friendly casseroles.

As far as the mocha brownies go, they are one of my favorite things to eat. I’m crazy about mocha-flavored anything and these really hit the spot. Please be sure to really keep an eye on them when they’re in the oven as they are a bit persnickety. Sometimes it seems like the middle isn’t getting done and the edges are getting too done.

Rather than taking the chance of over-baking, it’s best to pull them out even if they seem a bit underdone. You’ll be rewarded with a rich, chewy, coffee-chocolate brownie that will become your new guilty pleasure.

The Whole Enchilada
2 lbs. ground turkey, cooked
1 (16-oz.) bag frozen corn, thawed
2 (15.5 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 large sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
1 pkg. (16 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
2 (28-oz.) cans red enchilada sauce
1 pkg. (12-count) corn tortillas, cut into strips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Layer all ingredients in a large greased baking dish, starting with a thin layer of enchilada sauce. (You may not use all the sauce, depending on how many layers you have.)

Bake until cheese is melted and the casserole is heated and bubbling, about 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your baking dishes and if the casserole was cold to begin with or freshly put together.

Remove from oven and allow to cool and set for 15 minutes before serving.

This recipe makes enough for a 13-by-9-inch pan plus another 2-quart casserole or it can be divided between four 8-by-8 pans. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Blond Enchiladas
4 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 (10-oz.) cans cream of chicken soup
1/2-3/4 cup milk or chicken broth
1 (8-oz.) can diced green chilies
1 (12-oz.) pkg. shredded cheddar cheese
1 small onion, diced
1 pkg. (12-count) flour tortillas, cut into strips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine soup and milk or broth in a large bowl, adding enough liquid to thin the mixture slightly. Add chilies, chicken, and onion.

Layer this mixture with tortilla strips and cheese in a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and hot throughout.
(See baking guidelines above if your casserole was in the freezer.)

Allow to cool and set for 15 minutes. Yield: 8 servings

Mocha Brownies
1 lb. brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
2 tbsp. strong instant coffee granules
1 tbsp. hot water
2 eggs
2 tbsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Heat brown sugar and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until butter melts. Dissolve coffee granules in hot water and stir into butter mixture. Let cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When the butter mixture is cooled, beat in the eggs and vanilla with a wooden spoon. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and stir into butter mixture. Stir in chocolate and nuts.

Spread mixture evenly into a buttered 11-by-8-inch pan. Bake until lightly browned, about 30-40 minutes. Cool completely and cut into 2-inch squares. Yield: 15 brownies.

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