North County residents are partial to, and very picky about their Mexican cuisine. We don’t hesitate to find ways to bring Mexican flavor and ingredients into all kinds of traditional dishes.
The Mexican lasagna at the Leucadia home of Linda Collier and her husband Michael is one good example. And even though it already has an odd bi-cultural name to it, to the Colliers it’s also known as “Oink.”
This favorite recipe of the Collier’s became rather infamous the very first time Linda served it. While Michael was still an officer in the Marine Corps and they were stationed in 29 Palms, Linda wanted to make dinner for a good friend whose husband was deployed.
“I hadn’t made this recipe before, but it sounded good and I knew my friend, Jean Hoelle, was willing to try anything I came up with,” Collier said. “I served it, and it was so good, as my husband put it: ‘The only sound we heard for several minutes was the sound of us making pigs of ourselves.’
“It’s become a longstanding family joke. Anytime I make it now, we end up making pig noises and laughing before we even take a bite.”
Both Colliers are now retired and especially love to travel, especially to Bali. Their other regular travels take them wherever their Marine pilot son-in-law, daughter and two granddaughters, Lily and Bay, happen to be stationed. They are both also very active in their church, Holy Cross Episcopal, in South Carlsbad— Linda as treasurer and Mike as Senior Warden.
The “lasagna” is given a south-of-the-border twist with traditional Mexican ingredients in place of pasta. It is simple and rich—perfect for a casual but delicious meal.
Just don’t expect a lot of conversation when you first serve it up.
6 chicken breast halves, cooked
2 10-ounce canned tomatoes with chilies
1 1/4-ounce sliced olives
8 8-inch flour tortillas
2 large avocados, sliced
2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 pounds shredded Jack cheese
Shred chicken meat. Combine tomatoes, cilantro, and olives, crushing tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Spread thin layer of tomatoes in the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch dish. Arrange four tortillas over tomatoes. Add half the tomato mixture, chicken, avocado slices, cheese. Spread on half the sour cream. Repeat layers. Bake uncovered at 325 F for 35 to 45 minutes. Garnish with extra avocado slices.
Jean Gillette is the Community News editor for The Coast News Group. As a journalist, she primarily worked in San Clemente and Los Angeles. She has been with the Coast News for 20 years and lives in La Costa.