Mexican Cheese, Chilies Melt Into Lasagna – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

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Scraps from my kids’ meals are fair game for the rest of the family, especially when they can make up a new dish.

Those little uneaten portions don’t just come from our own kitchen, like my youngest son’s salvaged flatbread for the next day’s fattoush salad. The children’s school nutrition program sends home “weekend bags” that often contain only a few ounces of frozen pulled pork, meat sauce or a combination of cooked chicken and shredded cheese for quesadillas.

These items are a lot harder to sell than school chicken strips or hamburger patties for the boys’ weekend lunches. So I store them in the freezer until I have enough for a family meal.

Pulled pork recently augmented black-eyed peas on plantain cakes for a Caribbean-inspired dish. The meat sauce will likely become a dip for the baked mozzarella sticks. And the chicken and cheese pairing is perfect for enchiladas or this Mexican-inspired lasagna.

This recipe, courtesy of Tribune News Service, also gives new purpose to my freezer stash of Anaheim chili peppers, roasted during the fall garden harvest, along with stripped kernels of locally grown sweet corn.

Tribune News Photo service

mexican lasagna

8 poblano peppers

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 onion, peeled and cut into rings

1 cup corn kernels

1 minced garlic clove

1 cup tomato sauce

1 cup vegetable broth

1 container (8 ounces) sour cream

15 ounces (1 1/2 [10-ounce] packets) cotija cheese, divided

9 pieces of ready-to-cook lasagna

6 ounces quesadilla cheese (1/2 of a 12-ounce package), grated

Roast the chiles under the broiler or on a stovetop burner until the skin is charred on all sides. Peel the skin and seeds of the peppers, then cut them lengthwise into long strips.

Heat the oven to 375 F.

In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in corn and chili strips, reduce heat to low and continue cooking until corn and chilies are heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and vegetable broth and heat until hot. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the sour cream with two-thirds of the cotija cheese and process until creamy but crumbly (this can also be done by hand in a large bowl, using the back of a spoon).

Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish or casserole dish with 3 lasagna noodles. Add half of the corn-chili mixture, spreading evenly over the noodles. Spoon half of the sour cream and cotija mixture over the corn and peppers. Place 3 more noodles in skillet and repeat with remaining corn-chili mixture and sour cream-cotija mixture.

Place the remaining 3 noodles in the skillet. Sprinkle grated quesadilla cheese and remaining cotija cheese over noodles. Spoon the diluted tomato sauce evenly over the noodles in the dish.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake the lasagna in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until cheese is melted and golden, an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

Makes 8-12 servings.

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