My 9x13 Obsession
Hands down, my glass baking dish is the most used pan in my kitchen. Here's a quick tale from one of my many 9x13 escapades.
When I think of my favourite 9x13 dish I think of one word. VERSATILITY. Take a second to consider all of the uses ... sweet or savoury breakfast bakes, bubbly pasta dinners and chocolatey brownies or cheesecakes. You can roast a chicken with potatoes and veggies, bake a blondie or serve up a hot party dip. The glass is heavy duty, a dishwasher's dream and don't get me started on the versions with lids. Everyone always says how essential cast iron skillets or sheet pans are but I'm declaring here and now that buying a 9x13 baking dish is the most important purchase you'll make.
So now that we've all agreed on that can we also agree the life blood of an American home cook is the humble casserole? Believe it or not but Kalo had never had a casserole before meeting me. I mean, WHATTT! (where is the mind-blown emoji when you need it) As his wife, it became my mission in life to make as many casseroles as I could to make up for all that lost time. And after each one he always says "no this one is my new favourite." Needless to say my 9x13 dish gets a workout each week and last week was no different.
Spicy Chicken-Tortilla Chip Casserole was on the menu and like most casserole recipes it was easy to assemble, delicious to eat and quick to clean up. True to my style of cooking I did a few things differently, so let me break things down for you:
Black? White? Pinto? Whatever you have in your pantry works in this dish or you could even do a combination. I actually liked the specs of black against the white chicken, chips and sauce.
Grilled Corn Made an Appearance
I love the burst of corn in a casserole but this time I took it a step further by grilling corn on the cob. The charred kernels added a depth of flavour to an otherwise cheesy and spice-forward dish.
Maybe it's just me but I seem to always have trouble with white sauces. I've had some that never thicken and I think it's because recipes don't call for enough flour. Therefore I am a firm believer in overfilling my measuring cups. I also bumped up the spice levels with "rounded" teaspoons of cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper.
Get Tangy With It
I decided to make a quick lime and sour cream mixture to put on top of the casserole after it was baked. All you have to do is zest a lime, squeeze the juice and stir in sour cream. It added a fun zip to the rich, creamy casserole.
Herb Stems = Flavour
Fun fact for all of my American friends, cilantro is called coriander here in London. I found this out after many a grocery store meltdown ;) Anywho did you know that the cilantro stems actually contain more flavour than the leaves? It's true, so in the future don't throw away those stems.
It always amazes me that any night of the week we can go to the States, Italy, Greece, even Mexico with just one casserole dish. Um hello, I'll say it again, VERSATILITY! Simply compile a bunch of ingredients, coat them in a thick sauce and top with cheese or something crunchy. Can I get an Amen? If you'd like to travel the world with me via casseroles, here are some more recipes I love: Light Chicken Pot Pie, Valerie Bertinelli's Peanut Butter Brownies with Salted Pretzels, Chicken Noodle Casserole, Ina Garten's Sour Cream Coffee Cake, Ree Drummond's Baked Ziti, Jeff Mauro's Greek Lemon Chicken and Orzo Casserole and Shortcut Chicken Enchiladas.
I don't know about you but talking about all of these perfectly golden casseroles is making my mouth water. I gotta go find some leftovers, ciao for now!