Archive for July, 2012

Easy Chilaquiles Dinner Casserole

I love Chilaquiles, and typically make them for breakfast, but the other day I got a hankering for them around dinner time after discovering I had roughly 42 corn tortillas on hand!  Chilaquiles (pronounced chee-law-KEY-lays) is a Mexican dish consisting mostly of tortillas, cheese, and salsa, usually served with eggs.  I’ve tweaked my version to make it as quick and easy to prepare as possible.  For this recipe, you’ll need 20 corn tortillas, 2 cups of red or green enchilada sauce, 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey, 1 16 oz. jar of chunky salsa, 2 cups of sharp cheddar (divided in 3), 2 cups part skim mozzarella (divided in 3).  I use Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce and Ortega Salsa for the sauces in the recipe because they taste good to me, are quick and convenient, and have all natural ingredients.

Ortega and Las Palmas Salsas

Since I was making this for dinner, I wanted to add a more substantial protein to the dish than eggs, so I used ground turkey.  Brown the 1 1/4 pounds of ground turkey in a large frying pan, to be exact.  While it’s browning, chop 20 corn tortillas into about 1 inch pieces (they don’t have to be exact – I have larger and smaller pieces in mine).

Chopped Tortillas

When the turkey is finished browning, drain the meat, and then return it to the frying pan.

Drain Meat

Drain the meat to remove excess fat

Drained Meat Back In Pan

Add the drained turkey back into the frying pan.

Next, add the chunky salsa to the meat.

Add salsa

Mix up the meat and salsa really well to incorporate them.

Meat With Salsa Incorporated

Now, on to the tortilla pieces!  To make clean up easier, use one 9 x 13 baking pan to mix up the enchilada sauce and tortilla pieces and to construct the casserole.  First, in the 9 x 13 baking dish, layer out half the tortilla pieces, and cover with 1 cup of the enchilada sauce.  Then, layer the other half of the tortilla pieces and cover with the other 1 cup of enchilada sauce.  Mix up really well to cover all tortilla pieces in the enchilada sauce, then remove the mixture to the cutting board.

Tortillas With Sauce

Half of the tortilla pieces covered by one cup of enchilada sauce

Now, put together the casserole by layering 1/3 of the tortilla pieces, then 1/3 of the turkey meat/salsa mix, then 1/3 each of the mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese.

Meat Layer

Tortillas, then meat

First Cheese Layer

Add cheeses

Last Layer Before Cheese

Repeat the layering process twice…tortilla pieces, meat, cheese

Before Oven

Finish with the cheeses!

I didn’t have the queso (cheese) typically used to make them, cotija or queso fresco, so I substituted mozzarella and bit of sharp cheddar (because I like that sharp flavor).  You can always replace my cheeses with the Mexican cheeses.  I particularly like the cotija with chilaquiles.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, until the cheese on top has completely melted and slightly crispy in spots.

Finished Chilaquiles Casserole

Can’t wait to dig in!

Serve with corn as a side dish, or, for a one-dish variation, add a 15 oz. can of corn (drained) to the casserole layers.  Enjoy!

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Just Add Lettuce!

Let me start by saying I am not affiliated with the product I’m about to discuss in any way.  I just love convenience products that help me create yummy meals without a lot of time!

Just Add Lettuce

I found “Just Add Lettuce” at Costco a few weeks back.  The product bills itself as the first “3-D” salad dressing, with provolone cheese, black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, celery, and lots of other delicious stuff.  Basically, it’s an Italian vinaigrette-type salad dressing, with the salad extras mixed in ahead of time.  All you have to do is “add lettuce.”  Here’s a closer look at the jar contents:

Just Add Lettuce Jar Contents

I did try it with lettuce, and liked it, but decided to branch out for this post and make a tomato salad.  I used one, 16 ounce container of Trader Joe’s Baby Heirloom Tomatoes (cherry and grape-sized fruit), and half of the jar above (8 ounces).  Simply wash and dry the tomatoes, then add the Just Add Salad, and mix well.  The whole process took less than five minutes!  Love it!

Easy Tomato Salad

The only negative I could find with this product is that the sun-dried tomatoes contain sulfites, and the pepperocini contain sodium benzoate and sodium bisulfate.

Just Add Salad Nutritional Information

These three food additives should be avoided by people with sensitivity to them.  My family doesn’t have the sensitivity, and the amounts involved are small, so I don’t have a problem using this product.  However, I will soon be trying to replicate this product without those food additives for those of you who do have sensitivities, but want the convenience product…look for it in the next few weeks!