Despite many years of dating, I only recently found out that Derek is 1/8th Mexican (and so is Jessica*). He claims this is why he loves Mexican food so much. If you can’t tell, the Marinos are also Italian. Mexican lasagna is an ode to both heritages.
I love Mexican Lasagna for many reasons, mainly because it is so easy to make on a weeknight if you use a rotisserie chicken. Sautéing the onions and garlic is the only actual cooking you do. The rest is merely assembly. The enchilada sauce really binds everything together and you end up with the perfect bite of deliciousness.
Better yet, a whole pan of Mexican Lasagna can last a couple days for us and this is one of those instances where I think the leftovers are better than the original! A day or so in the fridge lets all the flavors really meld together and the corn tortillas turn into a tamale-like consistency, having soaked up some of the enchilada sauce.
Party Fiesta in the mouth! ¡Ole!
Olive oil and/or non-stick spray
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 small can (4 oz.) roasted green chiles, or 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 1/2 – 2 cups red enchilada sauce (homemade, or store bought, see note)
3 cups shredded cheese (I used pre-shredded Mexican blend)
1 package of corn tortillas (approximately 12 small)
1 (14 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 oz.) can corn kernels, drained
2-3 scallions, diced
1 small can sliced black olives
Sour cream, for serving
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a medium pan and add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. If using fresh jalapenos, cook with the onion and garlic, if not, stir in the canned diced green chiles into the onion mixture. Combine the onion mixture with the cooked chicken in a large bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese into the chicken and onion mixture.
To assemble the casserole: lightly coat a 9″x13″ dish with olive oil or spray with non-stick spray. Add 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce to the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan with a layer of tortillas. Add half of the chicken mixture, then half of the beans, half of the corn, 1/4 cup of shredded cheese and 1/4 cup enchilada sauce. Top with tortillas and repeat the layers, topping with a final layer of tortillas. Cover the tortillas with 1/2 cup enchilada sauce and most of the scallions and the olives. Top with the 1 cup of cheese. (Layers from bottom to top: enchilada sauce, tortillas, chicken, beans, corn, cheese, enchilada sauce, tortillas, chicken, beans, corn, cheese, enchilada sauce, tortillas, enchilada sauce, scallions, oilves, cheese.)
Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes and then uncover and bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is all melted and starting to brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Top with the remaining chopped scallions and serve with sour cream.
I usually use an entire 12 ounce (1 1/2 cups) bottle of enchilada sauce from Trader Joe’s. Sometimes I might even crack open a second bottle and use part of it for a total of about 2 cups… I like things saucy!
*Jessica and my husband Derek are first cousins.