September 20, 2006

mexican lasagna

Tuning in to the Food Network at dinnertime is getting to be a habit for us. We usually eat early at around 6 to 7 pm, so that means Emeril Live is most likely the show we get to watch. His episode last night was all about lasagna and one of the ideas I got from him was this Mexican Lasagna. I've made a similar baked dish once using browned ground beef to which I added some corn kernels as the filling and flavored it with taco seasoning. I layered the corn tortillas with the filling, topped the layers with grated cheese. Emeril's idea for a tastier cheesy topping was to make a white sauce with chicken broth and grated cheese blended right into it. I also liked his idea for using cooked cubed chicken instead of ground beef for a healthier option. The chicken fillets were simply simmered until tender then cut into cubes. The corn tortillas were slightly toasted until they got more pliable in a small amount of olive oil. They were kept warm and set aside until reasy to use. Chopped green bell pepper and tomato would also be thrown in between the layers. I also used canned salsa verde to flavor the cubed chicken. Four pieces of toasted corn tortillas were first laid out on the bottom of a baking dish ( I used a 9 x 9 square pan lined with nonstick foil ) followed by some of the cubed chicken, one third of the cheesy white sauce, half of the salsa verde, chopped tomatoes and green bell pepper and more grated Mexican cheese. This procedure was repeated until all the tortillas & filling were used up. Cover the filling with the remaining corn tortillas, spread the white sauce on top, then sprinkle with more grated cheese, top with slices of pepper jack cheese ( optional but this was the type of cheese suggested by Emeril ) and the remaining chopped green bell pepper and tomatoes for some color. The lasagna then went into the preheated oven and was baked for about 30 minutes or until heated through with the cheese melted. This is just one of the many outstanding dishes I learned on the Food Network. We need to thank Emeril for this classic dish.

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