November 11, 2010

Uncle Will’s Mexican Lasagna {Webisode #49}


What’s Going on Today: Close to meeting book deadline #1, attempting Christmas card photos, laundry!

Naptime Goals: Make Uncle Will’s Mexican Lasagna, writing, fifth and sixth laundry load of the day (cold weather = more clothes to wash)

Tonight’s Menu: Mexican Lasagna, Spanish Rice, Green Salad.

Parenting Lesson of the Day: Out goes Halloween, in comes Christmas shopping…

My cooking genius brother, Uncle Will, is back! In celebration of getting close to meeting one of my first book deadlines I’ve taken a break from recipe testing and am making his Mexican Lasagna. If you read the words Mexican Lasagna and think, wow, Kelsey, this is going to be a calorie-fest, well, you’re right. It’s not exactly light on the hips, but that’s okay if you only make it once or twice a year.

My brother fine-tuned his love for Mexican food during his Coast Guard years in San Diego. A city renowned for it’s fantastic fish tacos was definitely the right place for him to hone his palate for all things spicy and fresh. He returned to the east coast with all sorts of new dishes and recipes. I mean, we always liked taco night as kids, but he took taco night to a whole new level when he came home with stuff like this in his back pocket.

He first gave me this recipe a few years ago. When I was pregnant I made it practically once a week. I was craving these crispy tortillas and guacamole like it was nobody’s business! Now I’ve reduced the frequency with which I make it, reserving it for occasions when I want to indulge and celebrate.

Mexican Lasagna

As you’ll see, I made this while my daughter was in school earlier this week. It came together in a snap and stayed well in the fridge until I baked it for dinner. Sometimes I add fresh corn or diced tomatoes if they are fresh on hand, feel free to play with the ingredients if you’d like. But, whatever you do, try not to stray from the brands specified in Will’s ingredients list. He knows his stuff and swears that these are the best to use for maximum flavor. (And, no, I was not paid to endorse any of these brands). He even was considerate enough to include a musical pairing! Ole!

Recipe

Uncle Will’s Mexican Lasagna

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

1 cup sour cream
1 cup guacamole
2 bags Sargento Artisan Blend “Authentic Mexican” Cheese*
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of Kosher salt
12 small flour tortillas
hard taco shells
24 ounces Pace Picante Salsa**

Instructions

Kitchen Tools Used: Silicone Oven Mitt with Magnet. I LOVE these mitts for retrieving hot dishes from the oven. They are indispensable in the kitchen! Need one? Buy it here at my Amazon store.

1.       Dice the chicken breasts into small pieces and sauté with a touch of olive oil, the minced garlic and the cayenne pepper until it is just cooked through. Don’t be shy with the cayenne powder! Add more if you would like it spicier.

2.       Rub the lasagna pan with a thin layer of oil. Line the lasagna pan with 6 soft tortillas. Spread the entire cup of sour cream over this layer of tortillas. Spread half of the chicken over the sour cream-covered tortillas. Cover the chicken with half of the salsa and 2/3 a bag of cheese. Cover this layer with the hard tortilla shells, broken in half length wise. Cover this layer with all of the guacamole and the remainder of the chicken.*** Cover this layer with the rest of the salsa and all but ½ a bag of cheese. Cover the final layer with 6 soft tortillas and spread the remainder of the cheese on the top.

3. Bake the pan at 325 degrees for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crispy.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

*Do not substitute another cheese, this blend really adds a lot of flavor!

**Use whatever level of spiciness you’d like, I like medium. The Pace brand really has a flavor I like, try it!

***Try adding rice at this point…or beans…I am not a fan of the frijoles so that’s why I left them out of this recipe.

Musical Pairing: The album “Del Este de Los Angeles” by Los Lobos, available on iTunes! This has great renditions of traditional songs.

Naptime Stopwatch

About 25 minutes.

Naptime Reviews

This is a mexican fiesta in your mouth with each bite. Enjoy!