Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mexican Lasagna

Dearest Jessica,

I love autumn. At first I was severely bitter about rushing through summer and thus feeling I missed out on it. But with the changing of the winds, wearing cardigans, hearing the geese fly south... I think I'm coming around to the idea.

This weekend was a very cozy one. On Saturday Jason and I made a last minute visit up to Bancroft to visit with Julia, Marky, their little boy Jack (2 years old!) and the little bun in the oven (7 months in!) We hunkered down, made individual pizzas, played some games and had a great visit. On Sunday we went to church for the 'intro' of the school year at the Gathering. Great teaching by Johnny. We then joined Jason's Mom (and family) and Grandparents for dinner. I love when a weekend can be full of community and relaxation. There was lots of sunshine and deep breaths.

Sometime in there I made one of my favourite 'go-to' recipes and realized I have never blogged it! It's from Eat Shrink and Be Merry. The dish: No Weigh, Jose! (Mexican Lasagna) I love this recipe for so many reasons. It's so healthy for you. You can keep the meat or ditch it and replace with more veggies and it's just as tasty. There is no pasta in it! I have made this so many times for sceptical eaters and never mentioned this. To this day no one has noticed the absence of the noodles. (Until I tell them because I love the expression on their faces!) And for a lasagna, it doesn't take much time.

No Weigh, Jose! Mexican Lasagna
From Eat Shrink and be Merry by Janet and Greta Podleski

1-1/2 lbs extra-lean ground chicken
1 cup each diced red onions and diced green bell pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup frozen or canned corn
1-1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cups your favorite tomato pasta sauce
1 cup medium salsa
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
4 large or 8 small whole wheat flour tortillas
1-1/2 cups packed shredded light old (sharp) cheddar cheese (6 oz)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 cup light sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a large, non-stick pot or skillet, cook ground chicken, onions, green pepper, and garlic over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink. Break up any large pieces of chicken as it’s cooking.

3. Add black beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder, and cumin. Cook and stir for 2 more minutes. Add pasta sauce, salsa, and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.

4. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cilantro and remove from heat.

5. To assemble lasagna, spread 1/3 sauce mixture over bottom of casserole dish. Top with 1/2 the tortillas, overlapping and cutting them as necessary to fit. Top with 1/3 sauce mixture, followed by 1/2 the cheese. Cover cheese with remaining tortillas, followed by remaining sauce. Sprinkle remaining cheese over sauce and top with green onions.

6. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Let lasagna stand for at least 10 minutes before slicing for easier serving. Top each piece with a dollop of sour cream.

Hint: If you prefer, you can substitute extra-lean ground beef for ground chicken and Monterey Jack cheese for cheddar cheese.

I added Zucchini and cut back on the meat. Usually I cut the meat out completely and sub in a smallish eggplant and 2 small zucchinis. There are many different ways you could do this.

As always, I miss you and love you. I hope your week is going so smoothly! I am very excited for this weekend. (Caitlin is most likely going to be here too!) Can't wait to hear lots of Kindergarten stories!

So Much Love,

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