Mexican Lasagna Recipe

Apologies  to anyone who is actually Mexican: I made this dish up myself, and I just named it that because it uses some of the ingredients that I use in other “Mexican” dishes. So I am super non-ethnic, gimme a break. If you’ve ever been to my house for dinner more than once, or if you’ve been sick or had a baby and I brought you a meal, chances are you’ve had this. I get a lot of requests for the recipe, so here it is:

Ingredients:

3 whole wheat tortillas, each cut in half

1 lb ground beef or turkey

1 pkg taco seasoning

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can corn, rinsed and drained

1 jar Ortega taco sauce (I use the mild red kind)

Shredded cheddar cheese, however much you like

Optional topping: sliced black olives, jalapenos, & sour cream (yeah right, like sour cream is optional. What are you, a Communist?)

Directions:

-Spray a 9×13 glass dish, preheat oven to 350 degrees

-Brown the ground beef/turkey and prepare with taco seasoning just like if you were making tacos

-Pour a little bit of the taco sauce into the bottom of the pan to coat

-Lay 3 tortilla halves across the bottom of the pan (these will be your lasagna “noodles”)

-Layer half of the meat, half of the beans, and half of the corn on top of tortillas. Spread out evenly.

-Pour about 1/3 of the jar of taco sauce over these layers, spreading out. (use more or less as you like…I don’t like mine to come out too soggy, so I might use a bit less)

-Cover the entire thing with shredded cheddar, repeat layering again with remaining ingredients. Be sure to get some of the taco sauce down around the sides of the tortillas so they won’t be too dry and bland. (You probably will have some of the taco sauce left in the jar when you’re finished, you can just refrigerate and use it for other stuff later-it makes yummy sauce for a southwestern breakfast burrito later!)

-On top layer, you may want to garnish with sliced black olives or jalapenos. I always do!

-Bake about 25 minutes or until cheese is all bubbly and a bit crispy around the edges. Plop some sour cream on it and enjoy, using some Scoops or other crunchy corn tortilla chips to help you clean your plate. YUM!

*This can easily be made into a vegetarian meal by omitting the meat, adding more beans, and seasoning the beans with the taco seasoning or plain cumin.

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THE Bread Recipe

A new hobby I picked up last year was baking homemade bread. Now it started out as one of those things I just wanted to learn how to do…  so, like everything, I researched it to death and figured out how to do it. After a few failed attempts, I perfected a delicious loaf and I have been obsessed ever since. I’ve now learned to bake several types of bread and I love them all, but here’s the recipe for the definitive crowd favorite: Honey Oat Soft Wheat

This recipe makes two standard loaves  with about 16 slices each. Enjoy!

3 cups organic whole wheat flour
3 cups organic unbleached flour
2 tsp salt
4 tsp active dry yeast
4 tsp vital wheat gluten
2 cups warm water (about 105 degrees-you gotta get this part right)
4 Tbsp canola oil
2 -3 Tbsp local raw honey

Mix dry ingredients above in a large bowl with a stiff spoon. Add above wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Use your hands to get all the ingredients mixed well together in the bowl. Dough will be warm and shaggy at first. Keep mixing until dough forms a loose ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Flour a large flat surface (I use my counter top after it has been cleaned and dried well) and turn dough out onto the floured surface. Knead well for about 8 minutes. Let dough rest while you clean out the bowl you used to mix it in. Dry thoroughly, then put a few drops of canola oil into the bowl and spread around. Put dough into this bowl and turn a few times so all sides are coated with a light bit of oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and lay a towel on top. Place in a warm area (on top of the oven or kitchen table will do) and let rise for about 2 hours.

When dough has risen (test it by poking lightly with 2 fingers…you should see imprints in the dough) punch it down to remove excess air, then turn in out onto the floured surface again and knead lightly for a minute or two. Cut dough in half and shape into two evenly sized loaves. [Optional: make shallow slashes on top of each loaf for decorative purposes, in a criss-cross pattern. Use a silicone brush to spread a bit more honey on the top of the loaf, then sprinkle with dry oats. This will make your bread beautiful when it is finished. Be careful not to use too much honey here, as it can scorch and leave a burnt topping on your lovely loaf!]

Place each loaf of dough in a greased loaf pan and cover again with plastic wrap and a towel. Allow dough to rise for another hour or so, then it will be ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 2 minutes at this temperature. When finished, turn loaves out onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before slicing. Use a serrated knife to slice carefully. Voila! You have delicious bread for dinner, sandwiches, etc.. Store in an air-tight container (I use a Lock & Lock rectangular container for mine.)

Remember, this bread has no artificial ingredients or preservatives (isn’t that awesome?!) so that means it does not have a long shelf life. But as delicious as it is, it probably wont stick around long anyway!

I hope you like it as much as my family does!