This recipe for a chilaquiles casserole might not be much to look at -- many casseroles aren't -- and the ingredients don't seem like they're anything special, but it tastes so good that it's quickly become one of my favorites.
I first had it at my friend Angie's house. We've been taking beginning ice skating lessons at the rink near her house after work on Mondays, so she's been treating me to dinners before each lesson. Then we head nervously off to the rink, wondering if we'll walk away from class in one piece. The lessons were her idea and she first proposed it two winters ago. But then she went and fell on her grandparents' icy steps and she broke her wrist. We decided to let a winter or two to pass to allow the bone to heal up really good before breaking it again.
Here are some photos from our first lesson:
Ice skating humor on the front desk sign-in sheet:
I've never been much of a skater, either on ice or on wheels. I roller skated for awhile in junior high but only because my friends were doing it. My one ice skating experiece was on a lake in high school. I strapped on the brand new ice skates my mom had just purchased for us for our soon-to-be-favorite-new-family-activity (ahaha). I stood up. I fell over. I stood up. I fell over... Little boys zipped around me on their skates, giving me scornful looks for being so lame. It was so not what I call a good time. I haven't tried it again since. And so it was with some trepidation that I returned to the ice.
I've had three lessons so far and I've only fallen three times, and one of those falls was on purpose, to practice proper falling technique. Not too shabby. The jury's still out on whether I truly like it as an activity but I'm thinking of asking for ice skates for Christmas so I can leave the indoor skating rink behind and do a little ice skating on a frozen lake, which sounds way more appealing to me than a crowded rink that smells vaguely of the boys' locker room.
Angie and I have been invited to take part in the rink's Christmas pageant on ice! She instantly fell in love with the idea but she's going to be out of town for it. I'm not sure if it will be as fun doing it without her, so I'm still debating whether I'll take part. My husband says he'll videotape it if I do.
But back to that casserole. This chilaquile recipe is one of the things Angie made for us for ice skating dinner. Hers was the vegetarian version. I just made one with chopped turkey leftovers in it. Here it is bubbling away in the oven:
It's so good it's hard to have just one serving. I think what I like about it best is that there are corn tortillas layered in it and they soak up all the sauce and turn to a pleasing creamy cornbready mush. Don't worry it tastes way better than that description. The vegetarian version is great. I think it would also be really good with ground turkey or shredded rotisserie chicken.
Highly recommended recipe. It's comfort food at its best. The leftovers today were even better:
As written the recipe is huge -- ten servings! Which would be super if you have a crowd to feed. There's only two of us though so I had to cut it way down. I didn't bother with dividing the ingredients perfectly, I just sort of eyeballed everything as I added it to the mix. It's forgiving and doesn't have to be an exact science.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced1 medium zucchini, grated
I added a handful of shredded carrots
I added a few minced cloves of garlic
1 19-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups corn, frozen (thawed) or fresh
1 teaspoon ground cumin
I also added a pinch of cayenne and a bigger pinch of chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
12 corn tortillas, quartered
1 19-ounce can mild red or green enchilada sauce
1 1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, beans, tomatoes, corn, spices, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are heated through, about 3 minutes.
- Scatter half the tortilla pieces in the pan. Top with half the vegetable mixture, half the enchilada sauce and half the cheese. Repeat with one more layer of tortillas, vegetables, sauce and cheese. Cover with foil.
- Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the casserole is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more.