Cheesy Chicken Mexican Lasagna

cheesy Mexican lasagna

Can I appoint myself Loryn the Lasagna Queen, or is that bad form? I really love making lasagna! The more I make it, the easier I find it to be.  Make a sauce of some kind, layer it with no-boil noodles and cheese, and bake until it’s bubbly. Simple. No-boil noodles are the secret. They remove an annoying step from the whole process, and I don’t think anyone can tell the difference. You just have to make sure the sauce you are using has enough liquid to cook the noodles, and make sure you take that sauce all the way out to the edges so you don’t end up with a crispy, uber-al dente edge. That would just be a pity. I’ve made several delicious lasagnas using this method, and they are always crowd-pleasers. Check them out on the blog if you haven’t already…Tuscan Lasagna, Buffalo-Ranch Chicken Lasagna, and Mega-Meaty Pizza Lasagna. Today I took my love for lasagna in a new direction and tried my first Mexican version. It was incredible. Cheesy, spicy, and tangy…all of the flavor profiles you expect from Mexican food, but all wrapped up in a lasagna. So fun!

mexican lasagna

This Cheesy Chicken Mexican Lasagna could not have been easier to throw together. It really took me only 20-25 minutes to have the whole thing in the oven. You can’t beat that when it comes to homemade lasagna!

whole-mexican-lasagna

I boiled three chicken breasts until they were cooked through, and then shredded them up. Combined the chicken with a jar of salsa verde, fire-roasted green chiles, queso quesadilla cheese, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Then I layered that Mexicany-goodness with the no-boil noodles, Crema Mexicana, more queso quesadilla cheese, and Monterrey jack cheese. Repeat, repeat, and keep repeating until you run out of the chicken mixture. Then top the whole thing with all of the remaining cheese and bake. Now you can call yourself the Lasagna Queen…or King. Serve this next time you have a hankering for Mexican but are over tacos and burritos. It has all of the flavors of your favorite Mexican restaurant, but with an unexpected twist. You’ll love it!

Happy cooking!

mexican lasagna slice

Cheesy Chicken Mexican Lasagna

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of ickiness
1 jar of salsa verde
10 oz. can fire roasted chiles (could substitute Rotel if you want some tomatoes too)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
salt and pepper
no-boil lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded Cacique Queso Quesadilla, shredded
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
15 oz container Cacique Crema Mexicana

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×9 baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper and boil until cooked through. Shred.
  3. In a bowl, season shredded chicken with cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir in fire roasted green chilies, salsa verde and one cup of the Queso Quesadilla and 1/2 cup of jack cheese. Combine well.
  4. In the bottom of a baking dish, spread a small amount of the chili-chicken mixture.
  5. Top with layer of lasagna noodles. Spread with another layer of the chicken mixture, making sure to go all the way to the edge with the liquid. Pour Crema Mexicana over the entire layer, again paying close attention to the edges. Top with a layer of shredded jack and Queso Quesadilla.
  6. Continue building casserole alternating between layers of lasagna noodles, green chili-chicken mixture, Crema Mexicana and shredded cheeses.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 375(F) oven for 30 minutes. It’s a good idea to spray the bottom side of the foil with nonstick spray so that the cheese doesn’t stick to it.
  8. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking another 5-10 minutes until cheese on top has melted and the entire casserole is bubbling and hot.
  9. Allow the casserole to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve alongside sliced avocados and a sprinkle of cilantro.

 

I hate chicken.

chickenmarsala_forweb

I wish I liked chicken. People who like chicken have an easier life. Their restaurant orders are easier, the bill is cheaper, and they’re eating healthier than me by default. I’m never going to go for the chicken on the menu, (unless of course I’m at Chick-Fil-A or Zaxby’s, that’s a whole different kind of chicken). I’m going for the steak, the king crab legs or the pasta. In my humble opinion, ordering chicken at a restaurant is giving up on the meal before it has even begun. Ick. Chicken is boring. Bland. Dry. And there’s always a fear of landing the mysterious chewy piece that you have to spit out into your napkin and hope no one saw. Gross. Nope, no chicken for me please. I do, however, make it for my family all the time, and I always put a chicken dish or two on each week’s meal plan since most people do, in fact, like it. I also ALWAYS try the dishes that I’m asking others to eat so I run into a chicken preparation that I actually like every now and then. What kind of cook would I be if I didn’t? This recipe is one such preparation.

Maybe it’s the Italian inspiration behind this Chicken Marsala with Pan Roasted Cherry Tomatoes that makes my tastebuds sing, or perhaps it’s simply the umami-richness of the mushrooms and marsala wine sauce. Whatever it is, this dish is a winner. It will please the chicken-eaters and the chicken-haters in your life, although it’s quite possible that of the latter I am the only one. It’s quick, easy and tasty…perfect for a weeknight dinner. I served this chicken alongside parmesan smashed red potatoes that were par-boiled, smashed down onto a baking sheet, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted in the oven. YUM!

Chicken Marsala with Pan Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

16 ounces fresh crimini mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry Marsala wine
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt (more to taste)
6 chicken cutlets
1 tablespoon olive oil
⅓ cup flour
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups cherry tomatoes
fresh parsley

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a medium or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.
  2. Add the garlic and wine – let the mixture simmer gently to reduce the wine, stirring occasionally. After 15-20 minutes, add the cornstarch, cream, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the marsala mixture – it should start to thicken slightly
  3. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Toss the chicken in the flour mixture until coated. Shake off excess.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Pan-fry the coated chicken for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through.
  5. Add sauce and mushrooms to the skillet with the chicken. Top with tomatoes and simmer until the tomatoes are beginning to burst. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

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What’s for dinner?

I’m the last person who has to ask the age old question, “What’s for dinner?” I’ve spent the last year and a half creating weekly meal plans for Menu Therapy subscribers, so my recipe repertoire is packed full of dinner ideas. With the click of a button I can search through the recipes on my computer by keyword and find something that hits the spot that night, and that’s only if I’m not already following the weekly meal plan I planned out for others! Our options are endless.

So what happens when the meal planner becomes the meal…plannee? I don’t think that’s the right word but you get my drift. What happens when the wife, mama, meal planner and meal preparer gets put on bed rest? Chaos, that’s what!

I kinda knew it was going to happen. I could feel it in my bones, or in my uterus anyway. I had a positive attitude, I tried to take it easy, I drank more water than a marathoner and yet it still happened. Seven months pregnant, way too much amniotic fluid in my already fussy uterus, 2 visits to labor and delivery, and doctor’s orders to take up permanent residence on my couch. Ugh. Definitely not the worst thing in the world and I’m counting my blessings that our baby girl is healthy, but definitely not the easiest thing in the world either. During a normal week I take care of our two year old, grocery shop, keep the house in order, write meal plans, cook and photograph meals, clean up an insane amount of toddler messes, and ALWAYS put dinner on the table no matter what. Now I can do none of that. Nada. My husband has picked up the slack in a major way, taking on all of those tasks while continuing to excel at his full-time job. He’s my hero. My parents will be here in a week and that will be a well-deserved break for BJ and lots a fun for Kellan. Poor buddy, he will finally have some undivided attention and so much action and excitement that maybe he’ll actually start napping again. (Please God, let him start napping again, now is not the time!)

I’ve been chilling on the couch for a week now and I want you to know I have not had to ask, “What’s for dinner?” one single time. Not once! Until my parents can get here and fill in the gap, my absolutely amazing friends who live in GEORGIA have taken care of our dinners. That’s right…they are feeding my pregnant self and family across the country in California by the simple click of a button on their computer. Isn’t that amazing? First of all it’s amazing that I have such loving and generous friends who would be so thoughtful, but secondly it’s amazing that it’s apparently such an easy thing to do. Who knew? They have used this awesome website called Restaurants on the Run, where they can find participating restaurants in our area and pre-order meals to be delivered to our home on specific days. How awesome is that? Every night around 5:00pm our doorbell rings and the same delivery guy is out there with another delicious dinner.

rotr

It’s seriously the best thing ever. I’m so excited to know about this because I can see it being super helpful in the future when I get the chance to return the favor. In fact, I have a friend in Atlanta who is expecting TWINS in April and I can’t wait to take care of her and her sweet family in this way when the little babes are born.

So now, I hope you’ll cut me some slack if the food photos and recipes are less frequent over the next few weeks, although I will do my best to stay in touch. You can see I have a pretty legit excuse. 🙂