We're jumping ahead to What's cooking Wednesday, completely ignoring anything that has been happening to me on Monday or Tuesday; ignoring that John's mum is here providing me much needed relief, ignoring that we made a major decision to de-register Emily from one school and switch her to another, ignoring that I'm in the middle of deciding whether to go back to work in the fall or stay home (I expect several comments thanking me for that because we all remember last year and how my decision went on and on and on. I'm sparing you until the very end this time). We're just skipping ahead to the food because we know I'm all about the food and food is the thing I generally focus on when I don't want to focus on anything else.
This week I'm starting to look at a new cookbook from my collection. My two favourite Polish-Canadian-sister-cooks Janet and Greta Podleski's newest book Eat, Shrink and Be Merry has sat on my shelf for too long without being used. That is about to change. I know that Shan is wanting a copy of this book so I figure this is a way for me to finally try some of the recipes and for her to get a sneak peek before she wins a copy for herself.
Their previous two books, Looney Spoons and Crazy Plates, were huge hits. They put together pretty interesting recipes, put a goofy name on it, make it low-fat and Bob's your uncle. I have Crazy Plates and I love it, love it, love it. I use it all the time. I bought ESandBM over a year ago and have made maybe three recipes but I have many dogeared.
Last week, I checked through my cupboards and found I had everything to make the recipe below. I didn't really know if it would be a hit. I thought it would be just okay. Turns out it was a major winner. John and I loved it but Hope really loved it and Hope doesn't generally love anything in the food department, unless it's from the pickle family. She ate a huge bowl and repeated the performance the next night. This was a winner.
Mexican Lasagna (Okay, real recipe name is No Weigh, Jose! Mexican Lasagna. These women love the goofy recipe names as you will see in the coming weeks)
1 1/2 lbs extra-lean ground chicken (I used beef because we had it in the freezer)
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 corn
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cups your favourite 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 old cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shopped green onions (didn't use because I didn't have any)
Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9x13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
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.
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. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cilantro and remove from heat.
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.
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.
Another thing I loved about this recipe, aside from the rave reviews and the tummy-warming flavours, was it finally took care of the problem of what to do with slightly stale tortillas. I always have some in the freezer and they inevitably get freezer burnt and then thrown away. Not any more!