Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mexican Lasagna

I've been on the lookout for a Mexican Lasagna type recipe for a while now. In theory the dish would be a simple, but flavorful, way to streamline a week night meal. In practice though, the results often seem a bit flat and one dimensional. While casseroles are one of my favorite things to make and eat (when they're done right), it is very easy to be underwhelmed by a casserole I think. So right away I was impressed with this dish just based on the ingredients. Even though cottage cheese seems like a crazy thing to include here, the most amazing Baked Ziti recipe taught me it's a great way to get the most delightful cheesy flavor without extra grease or heaviness.

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The original recipe called for cumin, but I decided to just add some taco seasoning instead. There's nothing worse than bland casseroles and I really wanted there to be a good amount of flavor. I also used two small cans of El Pato tomato sauce since it's my favorite enchilada sauce because it's spicy and flavorful (the cans are small-ish...little over 7 oz). In the end the casserole had a good amount of kick. While Ryan and I thought it was perfect, it was way too spicy for Holden. Next time I'll just use one can and add some water to ensure I have enough liquid. (Though I used a mixture of ground turkey and sausage, since that's what I had on hand, so that might of also contributed to the spiciness.)

Would I make this again? Man, I might even make it again this week. Perfect week night food.

Mexican Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (14 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
3 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese
8 flour tortillas (8 inch) cut in half
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain. Add in a fourth to a half of the packet of taco seasoning (I used only about a quarter) to the meat and onions. Stir until fully incorporated. Then stir in the enchilada sauce, tomatoes, salt and pepper (watch the salt). Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, combine egg and cottage cheese; set aside. Spread 1/3 of the meat sauce into a greased 13x9 baking dish. Layer with half of the cheese blend, tortillas, cottage cheese and remaining meat sauce. Repeat layers and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

3. Cover and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

Top with sour cream, guacamole or pico de gallo if you like.

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Source: Adapted from Taste of Home (called Enchilada Lasagna)

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