By nature I am a social butterfly…Put me in a room with complete strangers and we will be pals within 5 minutes. Any of my closest friends will tell you I am a chatterbox. Yes, I’m the girl that talks to the ticket taker at the movie theater, and calls the cashier at the super market by their first name. It’s not my fault…I like getting to know people. Adding to my genetic makeup… I live to cook and feed my nearest and dearest…any time of the year it doesn’t have to be a special occasion….open your mouth and you’ll find I’m now feeding you. “Always come hungry to my house” is my motto.
Needless to say I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE entertaining guests at my place. Bringing the social aspect and the force of an appetite together is sheer heaven to me. But for some reason the word “intimate dinner party” never enters that equation. It’s always a loud boisterous, people trying to talk over each other, laughing out loud, and eating frenzy. Yeah, with that being said….I always have to prepare enough food for an army.
That’s how my Enchilada Casserole was born….I was putting together a menu for a Mexican feast and realized there was a lot of meat on the list. What was I going to feed my most loved vegetarians? I know…. a vegetable enchilada casserole. Turns out…. all the meat eaters wanted the enchilada casserole too. It was now the star of the party and has been on my rotating menu ever since as a showstopper!
Green Chile Sauce:
8- Hueritos (Yellow chiles)
7- Big Tomatillos
5-6 Garlic Cloves
1-teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
1 cap full of White Vinegar
a pinch of Oregano
1-teaspoon of Garlic Powder
How to Prepare the Chile:
In a big pot, boil all the chiles and tomatillos for about 30 minutes or until soft. Set aside water from boiling chiles you will need it later. Allow to cool. Remove stems from all chiles, and as an option deseed chiles for a less spicy blend. Now in a blender, add chiles, garlic cloves, Lawry’s, vinegar, oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, and 1/2 cup water from boiling chiles. Do this in batches till all your ingredients are blended.
If you have a time constraint on your hands a shortcut to this recipe is to skip making the chile yourself, and use 2 large cans of “Las Palmas” Green Enchilada Sauce which is my brand of choice.
24 king size corn tortillas or 32 regular size tortillas
6 green onion stalks (Chopped)
1/3 of a cup of pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
A basket of mushrooms (cleaned and sliced)
1- Brown onion (diced into small pieces)
3- Large zucchini (sliced into rounds)
1- Yellow bell pepper (cut into strips)
1 – Small can of corn drained or a grilled corn on the cob (then shave it)
1- Small can of Lindsay sliced black olives
1 heaping tablespoon of crushed red chile flakes (the kind you put on pizza)
1/4 of a cup of fresh cilantro leaves (take off the stems)
1- Package of queso fresco (I like the Cacique brand) (crumbled)
2- Cups of cheddar cheese (grated) (I use Tillamook)
2- Cups of Monterey Jack cheese (grated) (I use Tillamook)
How to make and assemble the casserole:
Preheat your oven to 375. Get two large frying pans, a pair of tongs, and 1-9×13 inch Pyrex glass baking pan.
Fill one of your frying pans with 3 cups of vegetable oil and heat over a med-high flame.
In the other frying pan, fill with 1/4 cup of vegetable oil over a medium flame and wait till it gets hot, then pour in 3 to 4 cups of your green chile. Let the oil and chile combine then lower your flame very low, so that your chile will simmer.
Now you’re all set to start. Divide your stack of corn tortillas into 4 equal parts.
Dip your corn tortilla into the (Oil) frying pan, and let it fry on each side for 30- 40 seconds. You don’t want your tortilla to be too hard that it ends up looking like a tostada, but you don’t want it to rip in the layering process either. What you’re looking for is a tortilla that is slightly hard but still bends.
Then with your tongs… take your fried tortilla and immerse it into the green chile sauce. Then take it out and place it in the pyrex glass pan and start to build your first layer of fried green chile corn tortillas. Once the bottom of your pan is covered in tortillas, it is time for the next level.
Arrange your zucchini in a single layer on top of the tortillas, then continue to layer with cilantro, pepitas, green onion and queso fresco, salt and pepper.
It’s time for another layer of corn tortillas fried and dipped into the green chile. Think the same concept as layering lasagna. Once you are done with your new fresh canvas of corn tortillas… Then on this level in a single layer place mushrooms, brown onion, Lindsay olives, red chile flakes, and 1 cup of cheddar cheese.
Lay down another layer of corn fried dipped in green chile tortillas.
Then layer Yellow bell pepper, corn, salt/pepper, and 1 cup of Jack cheese.
This is your last layer of fried dipped in green chile corn tortillas…. then top with the remaining cheddar and jack cheese.
Place in the oven and let bake for 40-45 minutes!
Serve with Sour cream and avocado slices!