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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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:
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

68 comments :

Dzoli said...

I am not quite sure why I don't like Rachel:(I have watched her show couple of times and she was just too much for me.Which doesn't mean she didn't have great food..like you showed here:)

Angie's Recipes said...

Love lasagna...a seriously comforting treat!

Ginny said...

I believe I actually saw the show where she made this dish. You have done it beautifully. I recently got some of her silicone utensils. The large ladle that will hang on the edge of the pot, I don't know what I ever did without it! No more need for spoon rests and no more utensils left in the hot pot!

Pondside said...

I like the sound of this enough to try it out even if I can't find everything up here - not sure about the spinach tortillas.

Alexandrina said...

It looks delicious! I will try to visit those bloggers.

Alessandra said...

I didn't know Rachael Ray, learning a lot about American women cooks here :-). And I never heard of a Mexican lasagna! Was that her own creation?

Have a good weekend

ciao
Alessandra

Marina said...

I have to try this! I love anything mexican.

Red Nomad OZ said...

Oh wow! I'd eat it just for the colours!! Never heard of Rachel Ray - but it's amazing how many 'untrained' cooks have amazing recipes!! No wonder the establishment don't like her!!!

What's for dessert? said...

Looks great!

BWak said...

This sounds good! thanks for sharing

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Your lasagna looks beautiful! What I like best about her Mary, is even though they're 30 minute meals, she doesn't use packaged and processed foods (other than stock). Gotta love that:@)

The Café Sucré Farine said...

What a fun switch up on traditional lasagna, love all these flavors!

Kim said...

I like this kind of meal... Unlike a lot of people, I'M not a huge fan of Rachel Ray, but she does have a lot of great idea and she certainly help a lot of womens to go back in the kitchen!

Rita said...

Love the look of the spinach tortillas. Will look for that book;but I find Rachel a bit Loud for my taste.
Rita

Keeley said...

Thanks for featuring Rachel Ray! I really respect her and her recipes are good. I know a lot of "foodies" think she's not sophisticated, but she came out during a time when I was living in my first apartment and I had no idea what to do with food. I bought some of her early cookbooks and I still watch her show. I love that she cooks from scratch and that her style is not intimidating.

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm really curious about the spinach tortillas.

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Yum! I've never exerpimented with mexican dishes before. Glad I can now!

highplainsdrifters said...

Sorry ... but I'm a math guy, and I have to question the very premise. Sales of take-out food from high-end restaurants has always been a function of the number of working parents and the GDP. Good economy + both parents working = lots of eating out or take out.

I don't watch a lot of TV (we have one, just for movies, but don't have a cable package) so only catch food shows in the dentist's waiting room twice a year, but IMHO, RR is no worse, but also no better, than the rest of the Food Network crowd. They all share the same problem: a noticeable shortage in the vocabulary department. Seems every cooking show host has a couple of favorite words they go to, and they use them to describe everything. "This amazing sauce will make the amazing chicken taste ... well, amazing!" I'm not sure what the connection is between a knack for cooking and a lack of verbal expression skills, but it amazes me that anyone can watch any of them with the sound on. But like I said, I don't watch a lot of TV, so if I'm missing one, let me know!

Martha said...

I agree Mary -- she is definitely a game changer. And my DD who is in the food business (not food service but corporate food business) says the same thing -- that home cooks (working moms) do NOT want to spend more than 30 min in the kitchen -- but they want to cook a meal not microwave store bought! She has certainly fed that desire!

Susan Lindquist said...

Perfect dish to highlight her style! So upbeat, colorful, trendy, and yes, delish! Excellent, Mary!

Just want to say how much fun this blogshare is! Thank you so much for having this brainstorm! Have a great weekend!

sally said...

I like this noodleless version of lasagna. I'll have to give it a try.

yummychunklet said...

I'm not really a fan of Rachael Ray. I sort of agree with Anthony Bourdain and his sentiment, "She bothers to even cook on her talk show anymore?" But, the lasagna itself looks tasty!

Karen S Booth said...

That looks amazing! Real comfort food and lovely photos too.
Karen

bellini said...

Personally I am a fan of her cookbooks and agree that she brought people back to the kitchen. The haters I think are just envious because she has craeted her empire without the formal training. She is a dynamo!! As for her Mexican Lasagna I know it was delicious!

Rebecca said...

thank u so much!!<3

meeshiesmom said...

I'm not a big fan of Rachael Ray, but enjoy her story. Thanks for sharing those other links!
Karen

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I agree with you Mary - she has earned her stripes and this dish shows why.

Monica Adriana said...

dear Mary,
wow, i just visited your blog too and i thought you are an amazing cook! i'll follow your blog right away and will be waiting for your new post.. :)

Deborah said...

I am one of Rachael's biggest fans, but I have somehow never made this recipe. I need to change that ASAP!!

Karen Harris said...

Not a RR girl myself but she does have to be respected for hard work and determination. I have to admit that this does look really good.

Jhonny walker said...

I KNOW this one...doesn't she call it Tacosagnia? love your take on it :)

From the Kitchen said...

I agree re Rachel Ray. Once I figured out what EVOO was, I was (sort of) hooked. I also realized that a lot of our meals are 30 minute meals. It isn't hard to do if one is organized.

Hope you have a delicious Labor Day weekend.

Best,
Bonnie

June said...

Mary, I agree 100 percent that she more than deserves her place on Gourmet's list. While I may not watch her regularly on television, I often refer to her recipes which are usually spot on and very flavorful.

Jeanette said...

I agree - Rachel Ray was definitely more in tune with home cooks than all the professional cooks on TV, that's what made her so popular. I've never seen this recipe, but it looks like something my kids would enjoy.

Barbara F. said...

Mary, your Mexican lasagna looks like a work of art, and makes me want to make one! I liked what you wrote about Rachael, and I agree with you. Thanks so much for your visit and kind comments. xo,

Joanne said...

I love that you used spinach tortillas! The green is vibrant!

cailen ascher said...

mmm...that looks delicious! and what a great combo - mexican and italian. perfection!

thank you for stopping by my blog and for your kind words. i'm following you now : )

cheers!
cailen

ps not sure if you saw, but i have a FREE downloadable cookbook on my blog if you care to check it out http://cailenascher.blogspot.com/p/my-book.html

Jeannie said...

I love the colors of this Mexican Lasagna of yours! So green:D Great photos!

Cher said...

Rachael is certainly a "polarizing" personality - and love her or hate her, her "franchise" has made the concept of a home-cooked meal on a weeknight accessible for many people. (I can remember watching her segments on a local TV station with Dan DiNicola many years ago - and her level of energy was just as high then).

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

Everyone has an opinion on her it seems. A lot can be said just about that. Everyone knows her name. I would also venture to say that she has allowed learning cooks to become confident in the kitchen, introducing them to concepts (like say Braising... my RR experience) with easy to follow easy to succeed recipes that gives you the confidence to try something new.

Me, my opinion... Love her!

But hate her pans, see an awful lot of them a year old and selling in garage sales... just my Opinion on the "brand" use

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

Oh and Msry... LOVE this series!

Chiara said...

I don't know Rachel Ray but I love lasagne( in Italy we say "lasagne" not lasagna)have a good weekend...

Food Glorious Food! said...

I love Rachel Ray! Honest and comforting food! Thanks for sharing dear!

JG said...

Rachel Ray is down to earth good. One day while eating lunch and watching her show she shared that she enjoyed a plate of freshly picked & cooked green beans for lunch. I remembered such a dinner years ago when my fam's Green Bean harvest was picked. So tasty & so good! Freshly picked and prepped Green Beans are great!
~Judy

dr.antony said...

They look so tempting! I tried Mexican food only few times.The restaurants are all so far!

Beloved Green said...

It looks absolutely beautiful. So glad you picked this recipe.

Katie said...

I'm glad you made this recipe Mary. I was hoping to see what it looked like! It looks delicious and seems like a fun twist on a classic. Thanks for organizing us again this week!

FOODalogue said...

Bravo, Mary! I agree 100% with your comment. Her cooking is approachable, realistic and damn good as witnessed by this delicious looking lasagna you made.

~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

Hi Mary, Perfect looking dish you made again. I love visiting here. I make a few of Rachels recipes but she is not my first Go To cook. Make it a Great Weekend.
~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

Honey boy said...

I love Lasagna, but I always find it quite intimidating to make one! Seeing yours really makes me hungry....

Claudia said...

I've never followed Rachel Ray - not for any reason but just because there are just so many hours in a day... but if that Mexican lasagna is a good indicator, she just may be on my radar now.

Amy said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your sweet comment. I truly appreciate it. Your Lasagna looks amazing. I love the colorful layers, so beautiful. Have a wonderful weekend.

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Becki's Whole Life said...

What a great assessment of Rachael. She really did have a great and positive impact on America and the way that we eat. Getting people back into the kitchen is a big step in helping people get healthier in this country. I haven't made this recipe, but your pictures look so good I am going to put it on the meal plan next week.

Tasha said...

While her show might not be my favorite cooking show, I do really like some of RR's recipes. My mom loves her and got me her magazine and I've been enjoying it. I'm a big fan of casserole type meals like this.

Elaine said...

I agree that Rachel Ray deserves to be in the 50 Women Game Changers. She has had such an impact and deserves recognition for it. One of the tips that I have picked up from her is the 'garbage bowl.' I don't prep for dinner without mine. I have not tried this recipe, but it looks really good.

Jenn said...

Although I do like her ideas, I'm not a huge fan of Rachael.. I've seen her nasty side on tv once and it was a total turn off. BUT.. her food is still good :) This looks great, Mary... I definitely need to try this!

Deborah said...

PS - I'd love to have you come link up to my Saturdays with Rachael Ray!!

lifeisfull said...

It's the first time I've seen a Mexican lasagna! Whether RR is a good cook or not, she still deserves to be admired for all that she has achieved!

girlichef said...

Mmmm...this looks delicious...plus, it's something I've been wanting to make for a while now. Tasty!

Miranda said...

I make one of her mexican lasagnas all the time, slightly different than this but I do make it every other month or so. I like Rachael - more so after I watched her chefography and got to know her as a person. I guess that helps.

Guvi said...

Hello, Mary, after a prolonged absence I'm back in business and happy to find you again! On the subject, I very much like Rachel's shows, even if I don't agree with all of her recipes. I've got 4 of her books, they are pretty good, I'd say. I'll give a try to this lasagna.

Taryn (Have Kitchen, Will Feed) said...

This looks good - perfect for a big group get together.

That Girl said...

I'm actually surprised to hear there's been a return to the kitchen. Almost no one I know in real life cooks.

Cindy said...

I've always loved to cook but I must say Rachael Ray was and is a breath of fresh air. I still love to watch 30 minute meals! And cook them.
I do love your blog. I don't comment often but I do enjoy it very often. Heartfelt thanks.

Platanos, Mangoes and Me! said...

I don't like her, but this was a lovely lasagna. You always make dishes look so petty and appetizing.

David said...

Mary, This week my favorite meal is definitely Sunday's London Broil Roast Beef! The Mexican lasagna also looks pretty interesting. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

David said...

Mary, Nice variety in your weekly menu! Count me in for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The Baked Cod looks great but my favorite would have to be the Short Ribs...just about the most flavorable cut of beef when slow cooked! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

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