One might call chilaquiles Mexican French toast. Just as stale bread becomes French toast by soaking and then frying it, Mexican cooks use up their stale tortillas by making chilaquiles. They simply reverse the order, first frying the tortillas until crisp and then combining them with a sauce or salsa.
While chilaquiles are traditionally a skillet dish served as a light bite or topped with eggs for breakfast, I prefer making them as a casserole, eliminating the frying step. You will often find shredded chicken, shrimp, or beans in chilaquiles. For my version, which is meatless, I have combined creamy pinto beans with chopped spinach and corn. Leftovers keep for a couple of days when wrapped in foil. Tossing them into the oven for reheating is a cinch and so good that you may want to plan for extra servings.
Baked Chilaquiles with Beans and Corn
(Makes 6 servings)
- Cooking spray
- 1 large ear fresh corn or 1 ½ cups frozen corn, defrosted
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- ¾ cup chopped red onion
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, defrosted, squeezed dry
- 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt added pinto beans, drained
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 (14 ½ ounce) can no-salt added, diced tomatoes, partially drained
- 6 yellow corn tortillas
- 1 (15 ounce) can mild or medium red enchilada sauce, divided
- 1 cup shredded, reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend, divided
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 11″ x 7″ baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- If using fresh corn, cut kernels from cob; there should be 1-1 ½ cups. Set aside.
- In medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, 4 minutes. Add spinach, pulling it apart. Add beans and cumin and cook until cumin is fragrant, stirring often. Add tomatoes and corn and cook until mixture is heated through, 5 minutes. Set vegetable and bean filling aside.
- Arrange 2 tortillas on bottom of prepared pan. Cut 2 other tortillas in half and add 2 halves to cover bottom of pan. Spoon half the filling over tortillas. Pour on ¾ cup enchilada sauce. Sprinkle on half the cheese. Repeat, using remaining tortillas, filling, sauce and cheese. Cover pan with foil.
- Bake chilaquiles for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese melts and casserole is bubbly around edges, 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Total fat: 5.7 g
Saturated fat: 1 g
Carbohydrate: 34 g
Fiber: 6 g
Protein: 10 g
Sodium: 496 mg
As Indian cooks know, spiced foods paradoxically help us feel cooler in hot weather but can also drive out the chill. Although simmering this pot of lentils barely heats up the kitchen, it fills the house with spicy fragrance that stimulates the appetite. Plus red lentils fall apart so quickly that you spend little time in the kitchen.
Many Indians eat dal every day as a valued source of protein. Red lentil dal is particularly easy to make. Like other lentils, they do not need soaking, and depending on how much liquid is used, this dish can be served as a light yet nourishing soup or be cooked down until thick enough to scoop up with pita bread. While the dal cooks, there is enough time to assemble a cooling garnish of yogurt and chopped vegetables so you can have everything on the table in 30 minutes.
Make it a meal: Top dal with a mini-salad of chopped cucumber, scallions, dill, and a dollop of yogurt. Then, serve it with pita bread that has been wrapped in foil and warmed in the oven. If you prefer, you can toast wedges of pita until crisp and also increase the yogurt to a generous quarter-cup.
Indian Dal with Yogurt and Cucumbers
(Makes 4 servings)
- ¾ cup red lentils
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons garam masala*
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 cups hot water
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup chopped seeded cucumber
- ⅓ cup chopped scallions, green part only
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
- 4 tablespoons reduced-fat Greek yogurt
- 4 whole-wheat pita breads, warmed
*Note: If you do not have garam masala, use ½ teaspoon each ground cardamom, coriander and cumin, ¼ teaspoon each ground cinnamon and black pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves.
- In large bowl, place lentils. Fill bowl with cold water. Using your fingers, stir lentils 3-4 times, then drain. Repeat 2-3 times, until water runs nearly clear when drained. Transfer lentils to large saucepan. Add onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, and oil. Stir to coat ingredients with oil.
- Set saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until spices are fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add hot water, bring to boil, cover, and simmer until lentils are soft, 20 minutes; dal will thicken as it cools. Uncover and pour dal into wide, shallow bowl. Set aside until lukewarm (20 minutes). Season to taste with salt.
- Divide dal among 4 small soup bowls. Top each with one-fourth of cucumber, scallions, and dill, plus 1 tablespoon yogurt. Cut pitas into 6 wedges. Set each bowl on dinner plate, surround with pita wedges, and serve.
If desired, dal can be covered and refrigerated up to 3 days. Before serving, warm in microwave or in covered pot over medium heat, stirring often.
Total fat: 5 g
Saturated fat: 0 g
Carbohydrate: 40 g
Fiber: 8 g
Protein: 15 g
Sodium: 135 mg