This recipe came from Rachel Ray, and I've done a bit of tweaking after making it a few times. Tweaking ... funny I would use that word. My husband has a knack for nicknames, and he long ago dubbed Rachel "Stumpy McTweek." Stumpy, for her stature. Tweek, for her beyond-high-strung demeanor, which is nearly impossible to attribute to natural causes. It may be cruel, but it's accurate. I understood the beauty of this moniker while watching "30 Minute Meals" with the TV on mute, as I could no longer stand the sound of her voice. EVOO, YUMMO, JUST LET IT HANG OUT, OMFG I WANNA KILL YA. So, Stumpy McTweak she is, forevermore.
Hold on, no need to call the food police just yet. Even Anthony Bourdain, one of my personal heroes, has his issues with Rachel Ray (google it). But as much as it pains me to admit, some of her recipes are good. Good. Not amazing. Not life-changing. Good. I've made a few things out of the original 30 Minute Meals cookbook and they weren't bad. As much as I want to dislike Rachel, because she annoys the bejesus out of me, I can't help but appreciate a few of her recipes. Mexican Lasagna is one of them.
This recipe includes one of my favorite foods, ground chicken. I had never had ground chicken before a few years ago, at a Thai place. It was sauteed with vegetables, in a really spicy sauce, and served over rice. It was a revelation. I've never cared for ground turkey; I find the texture gritty, and the flavor gamey and gross. But ground chicken is delicious! The simple, pure taste of chicken breast, but with a texture entirely unlike the chicken you're used to eating. Sort of like ground beef, but filled with the righteous indignation of being HEALTHIER! LEANER! Ah yes, healthy righteousness. The best kind.
So I got on a kick with the ground chicken after eating it at the Thai place. Only one grocery store near me carried it on a regular basis, and until recently, it was priced pretty high when compared with chicken breasts. So I got the notion to grind my own chicken. It sounds sorta crazy, until you consider the fact that I own a Kitchen Aid. One of the best kitchen appliances of all time.
Hear the angels singing?
The Kitchen Aid was a gift from my mother several years ago. I've used it to make a myriad of things, including my cheesecake. I purchased a meat-grinding attachment for the mixer and I've been grinding my own chicken ever since. I save a few pennies, maybe not enough to make the grinder pay for itself, but I GRIND MY OWN MEAT! How cool is that, in this day and age? It's pretty frickin' cool, I tell ya. I can buy chicken breasts on sale, and then grind them at my leisure. And I know exactly what is in that ground chicken, because I ground it myself. I love it.
You want the chicken to be partially frozen as it will grind more easily. Slice it into long, thin strips.
To me, that's the most interesting part of this recipe, it was the impetus for me learning to grind my own chicken. It's a good casserole. It's great for a potluck. It's perfect to take to a friend who is home on bed-rest, before she gives birth to what is sure to be a ridiculously cute baby. =) It was fun and easy to make, and there's lots of room to improvise. I'm looking forward to all the other things I can make with ground chicken. Tacos. Chili. Lettuce Wraps. Have fun with this one, I sure am.
Assemble the ingredients.
Grease the pan.
Brown the chicken, onions and garlic with the spices.
Add the beans, corn, tomatoes and hot sauce.
And cook until it looks like this.
Slice some good tortillas.
Assemble the casserole; meat mixture, tortillas, cheese.
Mexican Lasagna by Bonzo Bean, ala Rachel Ray, a.k.a. Stumpy McTweek
See Rachel Ray's original recipe here.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 pounds ground chicken breast
- 2 T chili powder
- 1 T ground cumin
- 1/4 t cayenne pepper
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
- 1 cup medium heat taco sauce
- 1 (14-oz) can stewed or fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- Salt to taste
- 8 (8 inch) flour tortillas
- 3-4 cups shredded cheddar and pepper jack cheese
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- Garnish with hot sauce and sour cream
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 T olive oil and heat until shimmering. Brown chicken with onions, garlic and spices 5-8 minutes. Add tomatoes, hot sauce, beans and corn. Cook about 10 minutes more.
Cut torillas into quarters. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Build the casserole in layers; meat mixture, tortillas, cheese. Repeat. Bake for 15 minutes until golden and bubbly. Serve and garnish as desired.