Friday, September 2, 2011
50 Women Game Changers in Food - #13 Rachael Ray - Mexican Lasagna
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...A decade ago, the restaurant business was booming and sales of carryout and frozen meals were phenomenal. So much so, that there was real concern in the food community that home cooking was slowly disappearing from the American scene. The pattern began to reverse itself following 9-11, but there were still segments of the population that resisted a return to the kitchen. Waiting in the wings with a very persuasive message, was a young dynamo named Rachael Ray. Marketing a simple concept, called 30-Minute Meals, her boundless energy, hard work and enthusiasm for home cooking drew huge numbers of non-cooks back into the kitchen. In the process, she also created a food and entertainment empire that amazed, confounded and outraged professionals within the food community. She was viewed as an upstart who had no formal training or credentials that entitled her to a position at the head of the line. She agreed with them. While she had a background in food service, she was not a trained cook and when they chose to press ducks she continued to press panini. Her message was the one America wanted to hear. What her critics missed was her honesty and how very likeable and entertaining she could be. She also had a far better sense of how the country was actually eating than the pros, and her recipes, like them or not, were hugely popular with an audience that continued to grow. As far as I'm concerned, she deserves her place on the Gourmet's list of 50 Women Game Changers in Food because she brought so many people back to the kitchen. The recipe I've chosen to represent her work, Mexican Lasagna, is one of her most popular. Here's how the dish is made.
Mexican Lasagna...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Rachael Ray
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground chicken breast
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 cup medium heat taco sauce or 1 (14-oz) can stewed or fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
8 (8 inch) spinach flour tortillas
2-1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or shredded pepper jack cheese
2 scallions, finely chopped
1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2) Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Add chicken and season with chili powder, cumin, and red onion. Brown the meat, 5 minutes. Add taco sauce or stewed or fire roasted tomatoes. Add black beans and corn. Heat the mixture through, 2 to 3 minutes then season with salt, to your taste.
3) Coat a shallow baking dish with remaining extra-virgin olive oil, about 1 tablespoon oil. Cut the tortillas in half or quarters to make them easy to layer with. Build lasagna in layers of meat and beans, then tortillas, then cheese. Repeat: meat, tortilla, cheese again. Bake lasagna 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. Top with the scallions and serve. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
The following bloggers are also paying tribute to Rachael Ray. I hope you'll visit all of them. They are all great cooks who have wonderful blogs.
Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Barbara - Movable Feasts
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green
Jeanette - Healthy Living
Linda - Ciao Chow Linda
Linda - There and Back Again
Next week we will highlight the food and recipes of Elizabeth David. It will be really interesting to see what everyone comes up with. If you'd like to join us please email me for additional information. Everyone is welcome.
This post is being linked to Saturday's with Rachael Ray - Bacon, Lettuce and Fried Green Tomatoes featured on the blog Taste and Tell