Saturday, March 26, 2011

Frugal and Healthy II: Black Bean Chilaquiles

Many threads of my life are leading me to this particular recipe at this particular moment in time.

First, Julie posted that wonderful idea for using leftover baked chicken yesterday, and that got me thinking "frugal" and "healthy". This recipe definitely fits the bill.

Second, I've been thinking a lot about my dear friend Liz lately. Liz is not much of a cook, so when we get together for TV and dinner, it is often at my house. I made chilaquiles for her a few times and eventually she asked for the recipe (specifically, she asked for the recipe for "nacho casserole," but I knew what she meant). She's not much of a cook, my friend Liz. But this is something she can handle. In fact, she had a big party at her house last summer, and she made chilaquiles for 20!

When I had my surgery last summer, Liz brought a pan--a beautiful celadon ceramic pan--of chilaquiles over for Mr. Wendy and me to have for dinner. Shortly thereafter, she left on a Fulbright scholarship in Ireland. Somehow in the chaos of her packing up to leave, we never got her pan back to her. So, while she's been gone, Liz's celadon ceramic pan has become the official Wat-Hawk Household Chilaquile Pan.

Every time we make them, which is often, I think of her. And when she returns this summer, we may have a fight on our hands ... she'll probably want the pan back, but it's really just perfect.

Anyway, I'm once again laid up with my bum foot, and tonight Mr. Wendy is making--you guessed it--chilaquiles for our dinner. In the celadon ceramic pan.

Healthy, frugal, AND it makes me think of a wonderful friend. What more could you ask for from dinner?

Black Bean Chilaquiles

(Adapted from a recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites.)

2 c. crushed baked tortilla chips*
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
1/2 jalepeno, seeded and minced (optional) OR a dash ground chipotle
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
approximately 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice (optional)
8 oz. reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
2 c. jarred picante or salsa

* I prefer to make my own. I use 14 extra thin corn tortillas for this recipe. Preheat oven to 375. Lay tortillas on the middle rack of the oven and bake, rotating and flipping, for 4-5 minutes, until light brown and crisp. You will have to do this in 2-3 batches.

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix beans, corn, tomatoes, garlic, pepper, spices, and lime juice in a large skillet or saute pan. Cook over medium heat until hot and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Spray a 9 inch square pan with non-stick spray. Crush and sprinkle half of the corn tortillas (or chips) in bottom of pan. Using a slotted spoon (to leave behind the liquid), spoon the bean mixture into the pan. Drizzle with 1/2 the picante or salsa, then sprinkle with half the grated cheese. Top with remaining chips, remaining cheese, and remaining salsa. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until cheese has melted and started to brown.


  1. Mmm chilaquiles! I'm printing this out, for sure, Wendy. We've gotten to be big black bean eaters here--they're just so darned good for you! We might do a mild version for the kids without jalapenos and a hotter version for us. Thanks!

  2. I think this will be a hit with my extended family! They'll never figure out that it's actually good for them. Bwaaahhh haaaaa haaaa!

    Thanks for another usual and very usable recipe, Wendy. Hope that foot is mending.

  3. Oops! I meant to say UNUSUAL and very usable. Note to self: Do a better job of proofing. Wendy, I love importing your Texas flavors (we write flavours!) to my little section of the 'frozen north'.

  4. Wendy, where's the picture of this beautiful blue pan! Rats. Would really like to see it. But the recipe sounds good and how great to have a husband and a good friend who can cook the same dish!


  5. I've never heard of Chilaquiles, but you can bet I'll be making this recipe. Sounds like exactly the sort of food we love here. And I can have it ready for when my youngest comes home from college. Vegetarian!! Love it, Wendy. Thank you! Printing it out right now.

  6. Sorry for the lack of pictures ... I can't balance on the crutches while snapping pics. I know the pictures really make the posts zing, though. :(

    This one is so easy and yummy - vegie comfort food.

  7. Wendy - I'm with MJ. Great recipe for warming us up as we shiver our buns off up here in the freezing north! (Yes, temps in the 30 degree range today in NYC. Hey, didn't we just have the first day of spring?!) Anyway, the black bean and corn combo with the salsa, spices, and cheddar cheese sound heavenly! (Moosewood rocks, too. :))

    Have a great Saturday,
    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  8. Wendy,
    First off I am sending healing thoughts from Chez Phillipe!! We make our own version of chilaquiles and....I bake them in a lovely blue dish!!! I will be trying this meatless version for supper tomorrow...let's see if the crew notice the lack of meat, OK? I will add my own pico de gallo as we are big cilantro fans and may use a can of Rotel, as well.
    Again, thanks for reminding me of this dish...and get well soon!!!

  9. Thanks, Nanc and Cleo. :)

    Rotel would be great in lieu of plain diced tomatoes. And your own pico would be a wonderful, vibrant touch (I sometimes toss a handful of chopped cilantro into the mix ... we're big fans, too!).

  10. Wendy, I'm itching to see this fabulous pan! : )

    Sounds great and easy, too. I'm a big fan of black beans. Yum!

    ~ Krista