Mexican Lasagna

Let me begin by saying these recipes are a -far cry- from real Mexican food...even Tex-Mex food. They are very much Americanized. On the other hand, they're non-confrontational enough to serve for a crowd that may have a decent portion of unadventurous eaters. Those who like hothothot are free to add hot salsas and other firey condiments. You can also make frijoles from scratch. Or use (in the first recipe) homemade tomato sauce and fresh jalapeņos. All that said....

This recipe is from my friend Dwila. You can vary the ingredients themselves, as well as the amounts. In fiddling around with this one, I also came up with the two quickie versions, below.

6 chicken breasts, cooked, skinned, and diced
2 cans stewed tomatoes with japapenos
8 flour tortillas
1 can ripe olives, sliced
1 1/2 pounds Monterey Jack cheese, shedded
2 large avocados, peeled and sliced
2 c sour cream

Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and mash tomatoes (I use my hands and squeeze the tomato solids through my fingers). Add olives. Spread a thin layer in a 13 x 9" dish.

Put 4 tortillas in the bottom of the dish next. Add half remaining tomato mixture, half of the avocado slices, and 1 cup of the sour cream. Sprinkle with half the cheese.

Repeat with tortillas-sauce-avocados-cheese.

Bake at 325. Serves 10-12.

Serve with sauce (I like La Victoria green and red salsas) and sour cream. Throw in some sliced ripe olives if you didn't put it in the sauce.

A Quickie Version

flour tortillas
refried beans
shredded cheese (I use mozarella)
sauteed onions
cooked hamburger or chicken (optional)

Put a layer of torillas in the bottom of the dish. I cut the torillas to fit, making another "set" for the very top. The weirdly-shaped cuttings I use for "middle layers."
Spead a layer of beans on this.
If you have time, put in a layer of meat and/or sauteed onions.
Layer of cheese.
Layer of tortillas.
Repeat, ending with tortillas and cheese.
Bake in the oven or put it in the microwave.

As to beans, I don't make frijoles starting with dried pinto beans. I start with canned kidney beans, which I drain and rinse well (to get the sugars in solution, which cause the problems). Pop into the food processor and process, using a little water to thin. I also add some garlic power, a smidge of sugar, and a bit of seasoned salt.

Time was when I used mashed canned kidney beans (with a potato masher) and sauteed them with bacon fat, putting in as much fat as the beans would absorb. As we say in the South, "Honey, that's gooooooood eatin'!" My cardiologist has a different view, however.

A Super-Quickie Version

If I'm really pressed for time (often!), I use canned frijoles. (I like the vegetarian, no-salt version.) I can zap up a dish of super-quick Mexican lasagna pretty quickly: tortillas, beans, cheese; repeat; and end with tortillas and cheese.


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marbeth@marthabeth.com