Thursday, November 20, 2008

chilequiles de lita

My version of chilequiles is a combination of a frittata and a tortilla casserole. It's quick, delicious, and you might even have all of the ingredients in your kitchen already. You know how smells can deeply evoke a memory? Whenever this in my oven, the aroma sends me right back to childhood. I am half Puerto Rican, but was raised by my step-father who is Mexican and Peruvian. His mother lived upstairs. She was my Abuela (Spanish for grandmother), we called her Lita. This recipe is inspired by all of the cooking she did for us when my brother and sister were little. I was the big sister, so it was my job to run upstairs. Lita would call over the back porch down to me, "Mayita... ven" I remember how the delicious smells would envelope me as I ran up her flight of green carpeted stairs to the flat above.

Chilequiles de Lita
6 eggs
1 jar of mild salsa
8 0z. Neufatchel cheese (cream cheese is heavier, but works well also)
1 cup black beans
12 corn tortillas
1/2 cup corn (frozen is fine)
6 0z of grated jack or cheddar cheese

you can also add:
1 cup of chopped vegetables that you have on hand... zucchini is especially good

-Puree in a blender or food processor the Neufatchel cheese and 3/4 jar of salsa. Next, add all of your eggs. Blend until smooth and pink.
-Spread the last 1/4 of the salsa on the bottom of your baking dish... I used my heavy Le Creuset, but any cast iron pan or Pyrex will work.
-Tear 8 tortillas into strips directly on top of the salsa. Any way that you choose to do this is the right way.
-layer half of your grated cheese with the beans and corn. If you have chosen a vegetable, slip it in now.
-Tear the remaining tortillas directly on top and pour your pink egg mixture over the entire dish.
-Top with remaining grated cheese and a little sprinkle of oregano.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees until golden and the center has set. About 45 minutes. My children enjoy it as is, but we grown-ups love to top it off with a hot salsa verde. Serve it with simple green salad and, whether you've added a vegetable or not, you have a complete meal everyone will be happy about.

Now, I'm the type who loves to cook beans from scratch and spend time creating a special and complicated meal. As the busy holidays approach, what I really need is fast and healthy. I choose all organic ingredients so, even when there are frozen or canned short-cuts, I can feel good about what my family is eating. The beauty of this recipe is that is takes no more than ten minutes of prep, I'm not kidding! If you double the recipe and put it in a large "lasagna" tray, you can have left-overs to make the next evening easy also!

Hey, doubling the recipe means that you will need a dozen eggs! That's just how many eggs you will use if you blow eggs for your Cascarones from yesterday's post. Imagine that!

Thank you so much for your enthusiasm about my Small contribution. Your comments make it all worth-while. I get so genuinely happy and inspired by your enthusiasm. Yesterday was a busy blog day for me, I was also featured on design*sponge with my chair re-do. Thanks Grace, for putting it up! I'm thrilled to have made some new friends, and so very grateful to all of you that have been by my side all along. Hope you have a beautiful weekend... we're expecting more snow! Pin It


  1. I'm drooling! That looks like the perfect winter comfort food for me!

  2. i so want to make that! i think my kids would like it too. thanks!

  3. Yum! I will add that to my recipes to try, for sure! Thanks!

  4. Thank you so much for the recipes - I love chilaquiles but I've never tried to make them (and many of the recipes I've seen include chicken and we're veges).

  5. I saw your feed sack bags on ohdeedoh today!!!

  6. QUE RICO!

    Love the photo with your Peruvian/Mexican dad!

    I was born in Peru (although my parents are American) my HEART is Peruvian! Have spent much time there since my birth off and on over the last 45 years...and strangely enough I met my Swedish husband in Peru!

    So ....with that in would be SO COOL if you could make the wood carrying bags with something from Peru! (I don't know where you get the old sacks.)

  7. I'm half Puerto Rican too! I'm going to attempt to make my grandmother's rice and beans and meat stuffing for Thanksgiving this year. Let my anglo half of the family see how the 'rican's roll.

    I'll never get her rice and beans just right, but that's okay. I'll add my own stamp to them.

    oh, and my grandmother's name was Angelita... just like your Lita... but we just called her Grandma.

  8. I can't wait to try this. When you do your beans from scratch, how do you do them?

  9. Thanks a million. I can't wait to try this recipe. Is that a half cup of corn? It just says 1/2 corn. This is a good way for me to use up some of the excess zucchini I have frozen.

  10. I tried it, it was lovely. How big a jar of salsa do you use? I also bought wholemeal tortillas by mistake, worked fine though!
    Thanks again,

  11. Earth heart- thanks for catching one of my million typos:)! You're right, it's 1/2 cup corn, but any amount you enjoy will work.

    Lauren- how I cook beans might have to be a post in itself. In brief, most beans get soaked overnight, rinsed in the morn and cooked for a couple of hours until tender with onions, garlic, etc. Black beans don't need an overnight cooking. I rinse them and then bring them to a boil and turn off the heat. They sit covered for an hour. I rinse again and then simmer them with onions and spices for another 1-2 hours. There's a lot more that goes in the seasoning... but that's the basics.

    Hannah, I use a 16 oz. jar of salsa to six eggs.

    Thanks everyone!

  12. this looks added bonus was hearing about little maya...xo t

  13. I made this Sunday and it was great! My hubby loves, loves, loves onions so I added them (raw). I added chicken to it too. It was fabulous. Thanks for the great recipe.

  14. Can't wait to try this - I enjoy reading your blog!

  15. That's looking very yummy. That may be one I have to try.

  16. mmmm! looks good, cant wait to try out this recipe


  17. This is one of our favorite dishes, especially if we are attending a potluck! Looks devine, and I can just smell it. Yum.

  18. Sweet Nellie, but you are coming in very handy these days - advent calenders, potted flowers for gift giving and now dinner tonight! Much Love to you!

  19. i think you know how i feel reading this post...I can almost smell them! I cant wait to try this recipe...

  20. We just made this. . . SO GOOD! My 4 year old daughter helped with the prep. It's super easy to involve a little one in making this. . . and she ate it too. . .bonus! Thank you so much!

  21. My whole life my brother and I have called our Abuela "lita" and until today I have never heard anyone else use the term :) I believe we began this nickname b/c we were too young to pronounce abuela...then it just stuck. It is so neat to hear someone else use the term! I told my mother about it (b/c she has always said "I dont know where you kids got that from") and she laughed...I think she was a suprised as I.