Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cleaning out the pantry...Mexican Lasagna

My husband loves a deal.  In fact, he cannot help himself or pass up a good deal.  For this reason, we usually end up with lots of random buy one get one free cans of tomatoes, chickpeas, black beans, Rotel, and the like.  A couple of weeks ago we were playing the dinner game.  You know the game...

"What do you feel like for dinner?"
"Eh, I don't know, what do you feel like?"
and repeat.

We decided that Mexican food sounded good and I suggested enchiladas.  J started feeling creative and thought of a great way to get rid of lots of the extra random cans that we had in the pantry...Mexican Lasagna!  This is something that we basically whipped up on a whim and it turned out really delicious!  You can really mix it up with anything that you have on hand.  We just used what we had in the house and it turned out great.

Mexican Lasagna
(makes two 9x9 pans...six servings per pan.  This freezes extremely well and it's a great idea to make an extra to freeze.  On a busy work night you can pull it out of the freezer, bake it, and have insta-dinner.)

Here are the ingredients that we used, but again...this recipe is very open to interpretation!
A bunch of corn tortillas
Ground beef and ground pork (J likes to mix his meats) - seasoned to your liking.  You could use taco seasoning for this, but J likes to make his own.  I'm not sure what he put in it, but I do know there was cayenne pepper and cumin involved.
2 cans Rotel (We used one hot and one mild...beware, hot Rotel is HOT!!  We love spicy food so this wasn't an issue.)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can of chickpeas
1 can of black beans
1 package of frozen spinach
1/2 package of frozen corn
A wee bit of salsa.
Your favorite hot sauce!
For the top...a handful of cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and chopped avocado

1. We browned the beef until it was mostly cooked...
2. Then we made our enchilada sauce by combining the cream of chicken soup, 2 cans of rotel, and some salsa.  J seasoned this up a bit too, but with the hot Rotel in it, it didn't really need much else.  I'm sure some of our favorite hot sauce ended up in there (Don't be a Chicken Shit.  That's the name of the sauce, not a personal insult ;D).
3. Next we combined a couple of the other things for different layers.  We cooked off the frozen spinach and corn, mixed that together with a bit of salsa, and that was ready for a layer.  So easy.  We also combined the black beans and chickpeas with a bit more salsa and hot sauce for another layer.
4. Time to layer the lasagna!  Start out with a bit of sauce on the very bottom of the pan and spread evenly.  Next, break a couple of the corn tortillas in half and arrange them on top of the sauce.  The rest of the layering process is really up to you and what you're using and what you think would work best, but here is how we layered ours (from the bottom up)...
Sauce on bottom
Corn tortillas
More sauce
Ground beef/pork
Corn tortillas
More sauce
Black bean/chickpea mixture
Corn tortillas
More sauce
Spinach/corn/salsa mixture
Corn tortillas
More sauce...
 And then our pan was totally full!! 

5. We baked one in the oven for about 45 minutes, pulled it out and put a bit of cheese on top, and put it back in the oven to melt the cheese. 
6.  To serve we put a dollop of sour cream on top along with some chopped was seriously delicious! 

The leftovers were just as delicious the next day.  We cleaned out the pantry and satisfied our craving for Mexican food in the process...and it was really pretty healthy.  Hardly any cheese is involved, lots of beans and vegetables, and just a bit of meat at the bottom.  This could easily be made as a vegetarian dish as well, or with chicken...or really whatever you want.  It's a pretty loose recipe, but I look forward to making it again!  It was super easy and super yummy...does it get any better than that?

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