Friday, April 1, 2011
The Mexican Casserole Experiment
As I write, my first ever layered Mexican casserole is setting on the stove waiting for the asparagus to get hot so I can go try some. Of course, the asparagus was hot by the time I got done typing that sentence. So, I have returned, no longer hungry and VERY happy my foodie experiment turned out so well!!
It's not that I didn't go looking for ideas online. I knew you could make layered casseroles using tortillas and other assorted wet ingredients, but I had never done it and wasn't sure what I had on hand would work as well as all the recipes I was finding claimed theirs would. But, there is only one way to find out, right?
I took out my round glass baking dish. Almost the same diameter as the tortillas I had on hand. Then I got a bowl out and shredded Monterey Jack cheese and Extra Sharp White Cheddar into it (approximately 6 oz. total). I added a 4 oz. can of diced green chiles, a 12 oz. can of white chunk chicken, drained, that I had already shredded, a can of cream of celery soup and maybe a half cup of salsa. The recipes I had looked at called for a couple cans of cream of chicken or mushroom soup and maybe a cup of chicken broth, but I just mixed it all together the way I had it with no extra liquid. It's a good thing I did!!
I placed the first flour tortilla in the bottom of the bowl and spread a portion of the chicken mixture on top of that. I had pressed the tortilla down to be sure it was firmly planted. No, I didn't spray Pam first. Then I pressed in the next tortilla firmly on top of that followed by more chicken mix. I repeated this until there were no more tortillas (the bag wasn't full). The remaining chicken mix went on top. For appearance, I spread a bit of the salsa over the top (I'm guessing maybe 2-3 Tbsp) followed by a bit more grated cheese that I grated directly on top and then spread evenly by hand. I put the baking dish in the oven, turned it on 350 and came in to play online. Thirty minutes later, I put the asparagus on and turned off the oven. I put the casserole on top of the stove so it could set while the asparagus heated. And, that's where we were when I began this entry.
I went out and found our old RC Willey ice cream scoop out (it's a flat one that was given to me by a furniture store out in Utah) and used it as my spatula. I cut myself a wedge and scooped it out onto my plate. There was so much liquid in this and I didn't even put in the liquid most recipes called for! But, WOW! Is it ever good!!! I can't believe it took me this many years to try doing this!
I am disappointed in the asparagus, though. Sure, the flavor is good. But, they filled the can with mostly woody stem pieces, so there was more chewing to get the flavor than there was actual eating of the asparagus. I've decided what's left will be used to make asparagus soup. I can blend it to mince it up after I've made the soup. I do like the veggie, but I've never been a fan of the woody stems.
Anyway, I would definitely recommend trying this. In a way, it's like Mexican lasagna, but only in construction. You can do these with hamburger, but I had this can of chicken I'd hoped to use and decided to try it with that. I'm very happy with the results!!