As the old joke goes, all Mexican food has the same four ingredients, there’s just a dozen names for it – taco, burrito, enchilada, quesadilla – and today, I’d like to add another candidate to the field. Mexican Lasagna.
It really isn’t much different from other Mexican foods (and for the record, when I say “Mexican food,” I mean the type of food they serve in Mexican restaurants in the US, not in Mexico – and I’ve been told there’s a difference). However, lasagna is much easier to serve – you don’t have to assemble 20 tacos in the kitchen, or lay out every bowl and serving utensil in your armory for a make-it-yourself buffet line.
All you need is one big pan and a casserole dish, and you’ll have a nice, hot dinner for four.
A couple notes before I get going with the recipe. This does call for a zucchini, and zucchinis look an awful lot like cucumbers, and it’s not inconceivable that someone (my wife) could go to the store (Publix) and quickly grab a zucchini (cucumber) as she passed through the produce section.
In the midst of my absent-minded, blues-folk singing, knife-wielding cooking prep, I managed to make it through quite a bit of this recipe before I realized my zucchini wasn’t very zucchini-ish. But we go with the flow in my little kitchen, and lacking a zucchini and with a pound of diced cucumber relaxing on my cutting board, I went ahead and tossed in the cucumber (and I realized those aren’t interchangeable veggies).
There was so many other flavors that you’d hardly notice the zucchini’s absence or the cucumber’s presence, but I’d probably stick with the zucchini if you can.
Oh, and my mixture also was a little soupy (a problem I solved by letting it simmer for an extra while, and then scooping the mixture out with a slotted spoon). I was pretty lazy about draining the canned goods though, and I’m sure someone with a little more foresight and a little quieter music could probably avoid the problem altogether.
Also, I used the wrong size tortillas – large ones will work much better (8-inch), but I used little taco tortillas. They didn’t really fit in the dish right, so I had to cut them in half and space them around. Really, I managed to mangle this recipe, but everything still came out tasting like Mexican food should.
So, that’s that. Feel free to question my ability, but not my enthusiasm!
Here’s what you need:
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with peppers, drained
- 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 11 oz can corn niblets, drained
- 1 10 oz can of enchilada sauce
- 4 large tortillas
- 1 1/4 – 1 3/4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- olive oil
- sour cream for topping
- 1 large pan
- 3 quart casserole dish
Here’s what to do:
Step 1) Toss the chopped onions into a pan with some olive oil and saute until
they begin to turn translucent, about 3-4 mins on medium heat.
Step 2) Add the chopped Zucchini and cumin to the mix and let ’em chill for a few, until the zucchs are a little tender.
Step 3) Add the tomatoes, corn, beans and enchilada sauce. It’s important to have as little moisture as possible, so make sure all of you canned goods are drained-drained, not just drained. Let the mixture simmer until everything is heated through.
Step 4) The ideal consistency is like a hearty chili, not soup. If there’s a lot of extra moisture, let the mixture simmer for a little longer to steam some of it off.
Step 5) Spray your casserole dish with cooking spray, and then lay down your first tortilla. Top with a thin layer (maybe 1 1/2 cups) of your mixture. Top that layer with 1/4 – 1/3 cup of cheddar cheese.
Step 6) Repeat the layers until your dish is full. I ended with a tortilla and cheese (mostly because I had one leftover tortilla), but you could end with mixture and cheese if that works better for you.
Step 7) If your dish is really full, place it on a cookie sheet just in case of bubble-over. Cover the dish and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Step 8) Top with sour cream and eat!
And while I’ve got ya here, take a minute and check out Oh So Much Tasty’s beginner cooking tips. It’s a great list for those new to the kitchen, but has some nuggets of wisdom that even experienced cooks might enjoy. And it’s a darn good blog, too.
P.S. – The blog underwent a bit of a redesign – how do you like it?