//Written by Margeaux Perkins//
My boyfriend and I decided at the beginning of this quarter that we really needed to start living on a budget. At first I was upset; gone were the days of binge-eating pizza from the Med, the Noodles dates, and the 10 PM Grubhub orders. We started easy, making things solely with our Crock Pot. We began to get more adventurous around second week, delving into the realm of different cuisines. Let me be clear: my boyfriend is an amazing cook. He’s cooked tons of different types of dishes. The problem was finding versions of these dishes that weren’t $10 a serving. I was browsing online for cheap recipes to plan our meals for the week when I began to crave lasagna. Unfortunately, my boyfriend hates most pasta dishes. What we do have in common is delicious, cheap, but authentic Mexican food. I did a search of cheap Mexican dishes and found a recipe for Mexican lasagna. We reviewed the basics and came up with our own version. The results were delicious, and even better, they suited both of our palates.
For the chicken:
4-6 chicken thighs, legs, breasts
2 chicken bouillon cubes
½ packet of taco seasoning
½ green bell pepper
½ white onion
4 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
For the lasagna:
1 block cheese (any kind)
9-10 corn tortillas (halved)
1 can black beans
1 pack frozen corn
1 can enchilada sauce
1 jar salsa
Preparing the ingredients
1.) Place several chicken legs, thighs, and breasts in a Crock Pot, pour enough water to cover, toss in 2 chicken bouillon cubes, a 1/2 a pack of taco seasoning, a dash or two of cumin, and some salt and pepper. Set the Crock Pot to slow and let cook for 8-9 hours. Tip: If you want it done sooner, cook on high for 4-5 hours.
We like a combination of white and dark meat so the dish doesn’t get too greasy.
Check on the chicken every few hours, cut to see if it’s done. When taking it out, make sure to save the broth leftover in the pot.
2.) Pre-heat your oven to 400-425° F.
3.) De-bone and clean the chicken, using as much or as little meat as your heart desires.
4.) Chop some veggies! Dice 1/3 of a big green bell pepper, 1 jalapeño, ½ of a small white onion, and 4 cloves of garlic.
5.) Shred the chicken first then add the veggies in. Add cumin, black pepper, seasoned salt, salt, and salsa to taste. Add any other seasonings you’d like based on your spiciness preference. We added Sriracha sauce, Prego Spaghetti Sauce, and a Creole seasoning all to taste.
We mixed this all very thoroughly with a pair of forks, adding some of the chicken broth from the Crock Pot to moisten the mix.
6.) Cut and dice any kind of spicy cheese that you like, set aside.
We used about 1/4 a block of Colby Jack cheese and 1/2 a block of Hot Pepper cheese.
7.) Cut 9 small corn tortillas in half and heat in the oven until warm.
8.) While waiting for them to be heated, drain a can of black beans and heat about 1½ to 2 cups of frozen corn in the microwave.
9.) Begin the layering process!
1. Pour a little bit of enchilada sauce into the pan.
2. Lay 4 half-tortillas in the pan on top of the sauce.
3. Spread a generous helping of chicken mix in on top of that.
4. Sprinkle cheese on top of that. We put a mix of the Hot Pepper and the Colby Jack.
5. Pour black beans and corn together on top as one layer.
6. Spoon on as much salsa as you’d like.
7. Repeat this until the dish is full and you’re out of ingredients.
8. For the top layer, arrange 5 tortilla shells, and then put the last of the Enchilada sauce on top. Sprinkle with the remaining amount of cheese.
10.) Pop in the oven for around 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is brown and bubbly on top.
Tip: Makes great leftovers! When the dish starts to fall apart, shovel it on your plate and eat with some chips like a layered dip.
Use any leftover chicken broth or veggies to make Mexican-style rice as a side dish!