Well, I suppose my great aspirations to maintain this fantastic "food, photography and whatever else strikes me" blog has not been well played. I suppose it's fine right now since no one even knows I exist. Regardless, I've decided which recipe to use as my first.
This recipe was first discovered by a friend of mine who also loves the Simply Recipes blog (truly addictive). Three girls and I get together on a biweekly basis to cook dinner and share favorite recipes. Every time we meet each person has a different part of the meal - appetizer and drink, side, main or dessert. It is always a great meal as everyone has a certain "taste" for different types of cuisine. We ultimately end the evening satisfied and truly stuffed, relishing girl time and good food. That being said, the gal that had main dish last time made this Mexican Lasagna and we all loved it. I even made it for a Cinco de Mayo gathering a week later to rave reviews. Everyone went back for seconds! I have made some modifications to the recipe to make it a bit easier, but if you'd like to do everything from scratch, you can view the original recipe here.
For the Mexican lover, this dish is truly comfort food. You won't find lasagna noodles and ricotta cheese here, but you will find a combination of everything that makes great tacos, enchiladas and tostadas in one easy to prepare and share dish. I set it out and let people create their own, topping it with shredded lettuce, sour cream, homemade guacamole and cilantro.
- 1 1/4 lbs ground turkey or ground beef
- Olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 14-oz can refried beans
- 1 can green chilis
- 1 24 oz jar salsa (I used Pace, but you can try about anything)
- 12 corn tortillas
- 2 cups coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 8 oz)
- 2 cups coarsely grated mild cheddar cheese (about 8 oz)
- Sour cream
- Iceberg lettuce
1 Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly oil a 13x9x3-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.
2 Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large cast iron frying pan on medium high heat. Add the ground meat, breaking it up as you add it. Sprinkle with salt. Sprinkle on the chile powder, cayenne, cumin, and coriander. (Tip - mix the spices together in small bowl ahead of time, you can avoid the hassle with containers at this point) Increase the heat to high. Add another 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Do not stir the meat unnecessarily. Allow it to brown on one side, and then stir it so the other side can be browned. As soon as the meat is browned, remove the pan from the burner. The meat will continue to cook in the heat of the cast iron pan. Once you are sure that the meat is cooked through, use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the pan to a bowl. Set aside.
3 While the meat is cooking, warm the refried beans in a saucepan. When the are warmed and stirring consistency, add green chilis. Keep heat at low so they stay warm.
4 Brush both sides of the tortillas with olive oil and place on baking sheet (about 4 at a time depending on size of baking sheet). Warm in oven for 5-6 minutes until slightly softened. Repeat until all tortillas have been done.
5 In baking dish arrange 4 tortillas in one layer, overlapping slightly (tortillas will not cover bottom completely). Spread half of bean mixture evenly over tortillas in dish and top with half of meat mixture. Sprinkle one third cheese over the meat and spread half of the salsa over the cheese. (Note: I started this process right after first 4 tortillas were done in the oven, I let the second batch go while I spread the other ingredients)
Repeat layering of tortillas, beans, meat, cheese, and salsa and top with remaining 4 tortillas. Sprinkle remaining cheese over tortillas. Bake casserole on the middle rack in the oven for 35 minutes, until the casserole is heated through and the cheese is completely melted and bubbling. Let the casserole stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Serves 8. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, chopped cilantro, and thinly sliced iceberg lettuce.