Monday, July 26, 2010

mexican lasagna

The picture just doesn't do this dish justice!

Have you ever had mexican lasagna? I never had, but I thought it sounded good. I searched for the right recipe, but just never found one that sounded exactly like I wanted. So, I looked at several variations, thought about how I would want one to taste, and came up with my own. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I knew we would would either love it or hate it! So, I was pleasantly surprised to hear my husband immediately say how much he loved it, and that he could eat it all the time. Yay! He even said, "you need to put this one on the blog!". That said, I knew it must be worthy of a post. This lasagna has the basic makeup of a traditional lasagna, but uses southwestern and mexican flavors and ingredients instead. This recipe makes 1 9x12 lasagna, but I divided it up into 8x8 pans and somehow managed to get 3 8x8's out of it by using slightly thinner layers. Two went into the freezer and we can't wait to eat them soon, and I will definitely be making this again!

Mexican Lasagna

I N G R E D I E N T S :
2 Tbsp. oil (I used XVOO)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
1 lb ground beef
Taco seasoning-one package, or click here for a make-your-own substitute
1/2 cup water
28 ounce diced tomatoes, drained (you might leave a little water, but drain most of it)
1 14-oz can of tomatoes and green chilis (rotel...and I used mild because I didn't want a lot of heat)
1 cup salsa, divided into two 1/2 cups
15 oz ricotta (I know, this is an italian ingredient, but the flavor and texture does go well with the dish)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
8 tortillas (i used whole wheat, but just use whichever type you prefer)
16 oz monterey jack cheese

D I R E C T I O N S :
In a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat, saute onion, garlic, and bell pepper until tender. 

Add in ground beef, and cook thoroughly. I usually turn the heat up to high halfway through, and I also stir it the entire time so it will break up well. Once beef is completely cooked, drain off fat. 

Add taco seasoning, 1/2 cup water, and turn heat to low, stirring and letting simmer for 3-5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, rotel, and 1/2 cup of the salsa. Let everything simmer for around 15 minutes, or longer. I let it simmer uncovered so that the liquid will reduce. If you don't have much liquid, then you can cover it and let it simmer.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine sour cream, remaining 1/2 cup of salsa, and 2 cups of corn together, and stir well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Once the sauce has had time to cook and reduce a little, begin assembling your lasagna. Using a slotted spoon for the sauce, place a small layer of sauce in the bottom of your baking dish. 

On top of the sauce, make a layer of tortillas (where you would normally use lasagna noodles). I used 1 large tortilla for every layer in my 8x8 pans, but if you have a 9x12 you will need two large tortillas, side by side. You can break them up into strips, or leave them whole (I left them whole because they get cut up anyway). 

On top of the tortillas, place a thin layer of the ricotta/salsa/corn mixture. Then sprinkle some of the monterey jack cheese. Repeat layers in the following order: Tortillas, meat sauce, ricotta mixture, and monterey jack. You'll make 3-4 complete layers, depending on how much of everything you use per layer and how many tortillas use have (just like a lasagna). You should end with one last layer of tortillas, sauce, ricotta mixture, and then a generous layer of monterey jack.

Place in oven, and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly but not overly browned.

This is a great dish to freeze, so if you are making it for just 2-3 people, you can always break it up into 2 or 3 8x8 pans and freeze some of it instead of just keeping it around for leftovers all week. 


Anca said...

Ok, I will have to try your recipe. The one I made back in college...well, it was sort of runny & un-impressive. I have been flirting with the idea of trying again--you are inspiring me.

Lauren said...

I just wanted you to know that I made this recipe.. and we LOVED it! It was so delicious and made a ton! :) Thanks for coming up with it.. Hope to try some more of your recipes soon!