Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cheesy Tortilla Lasagna

1 cup (3 medium) chopped plum tomatoes
1 cup julienne-cut zucchini
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 (10oz.) can Old El Paso enchilada sauce
1 (8oz.) container southwest-flavor sour cream dip*
8 (6 inch) corn tortillas, halved
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded colby-jack cheese
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro

*can be made by mixing 1 cup sour cream with 1 tbsp. taco seasoning

Heat oven to 375ºF. Spray 13x9 inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In medium bowl, combine tomatoes, zucchini, onions and beans; mix well. Reserve 1/3 cup enchilada sauce; set aside. In another medium bowl, combine remaining enchilada sauce and sour cream dip; blend well.

Spoon 2 tablespoons enchilada sauce mixture in bottom of sprayed baking dish. Arrange 8 tortilla pieces over sauce, overlapping as necessary. Spoon half of the vegetable-bean mixture over tortillas, sprinkle with 2/3 cup of the cheese. Spoon half of the remaining sauce mixture over cheese. Repeat layers, reserving 2/3 cup cheese for top. Top with reserved 1/3 cup enchilada sauce. Cover with foil.

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Uncover; sprinkle with reserved 2/3 cup cheese. Bake, uncovered, an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Let's see . . . I suppose I should start with the question on every Italian's mind: What the heck is a tortilla lasagna? It's a Mexican casserole. (Yeah, that answer didn't help me either.) Anyway, instinctively, I wanted to replace the tortillas with lasagna noodles. I would have too, if I could have found oven ready whole wheat noodles. Someone get on that, okay? The changes I did make were easy. I marinated chicken in a southwest marinade, then cooked and shredded it. I added yellow sweet peppers just because I had them and jalapenos because that sounded delicious. Had I remembered that I wanted to add corn, I would have done that too. Hey, leave me alone . . . I was out of my element here. I didn't have a southwest flavor dip so I used my Tastefully Simple Fiesta Party dip mix.

I made jalapeno corn bread in my bread maker as a side. If it was an Italian lasagna, I would have wanted bread so this made perfect sense to me.

The finished product was delish! I'm glad Meredith convinced me to make it. (Shh, don't tell her but I was totally on the fence with this one.) I would totally make this again. It will freeze well so I can freeze individual lunch size portions. I love that.

The only problem with the pictures of this lasagna is that you don't get a feel for how much stuff is in it. It looks prettier in person. If I was recommending other changes, I'd nix the zucchini and add corn instead. I think the chicken and jalapenos are a must. Then, with the extras (there will be extras) make a pretty plate and give some to your mom. At least, that's what I did. I should be on Top Chef when they deconstruct dishes. I could deconstruct Mexican casserole!

To be fair, I've made this recipe several times. I've made it by the letter with no changes; I've added ground beef; I've swapped veggies; I pretty much do what I like and have on hand. This time I added corn, fresh jalapeños, a red pepper. I also marinated chicken breasts in Badia's Mojo, grilled, then shredded and sauteed them in taco seasoning with a half an onion. For cheese, I did the Mexican shredded mix and some pepper jack. On the side I had some quick nachos and a Mexican side salad. Yum!

Once I'd made all my additions, I had enough stuffing for TWO 9x13s. It's a good thing I love this stuff. I'll eat it all week and freeze an entire casserole for another time.

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