Friday, March 18, 2011

Food and Sanity: Mexican Lasagna

I don't mind the food that my in-laws cook. It's healthier than I'm used to because there are more vegetables, but on a daily basis I have to discreetly ask my (always informative) fiancée what it is I'm eating. Once in a while, we work an "American" dish into dinner, and so far the Liang's have enjoyed most everything. It's rather comical, actually. Every time I cook something, Meng's adorable mom says, "I am the kind of person that is very open. I will eat everything!" Several times, my food has been too salty for her. (The Liang's don't put salt on the table, so I've taken to not salting dishes and placing the salt strategically within reach for myself.) Meng's dad, on the other hand, will often tell me after a meal, "When I smelled this I didn't think I was going to like it, but it's pretty good!" Yesterday I made a big tossed salad with avocado on the side. (I was pleased to learn that "avocado in Chinese is "è yú lí," which literally means in English, "alligator pear.")

Anyway, on Monday Meng's parents were working late so I had a few friends over for dinner. One of my friends is a vegetarian, so I made "Mexican Lasagna." (Click here for the original recipe from The Economical Eater.) It's a tortilla and beans take on the cheesy, layered pasta we all know, and it was so easy to make, I just had to share with you. You'll notice I made some changes from what is posted in the link.

Mexican Lasagna
Yields: 4-5 servings
-2 tsp olive oil
-11/4 cups diced white onion
-2 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
-1 cup salsa (I used half a jar of Chi-chi's mild garden salsa)
-1 can (5 oz?) tomato paste (I chose one with roasted garlic)
-1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

-1 jalapeno, diced and seeded
-2 tbsp. fresh cilantro
-lime juice
-Tabasco sauce
-Salt and black pepper, to taste
-4 (8-in.) flour tortillas
-11⁄4 cups shredded cheese (I used Kraft Mexican Three-Cheese blend)
Garnish: sour cream

1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray. (I lined the dish with tin-foil first, because I hate scrubbing things, but I don't think it was really necessary.)
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Stir in tomatoes, beans, salsa, and jalapenos; season with cumin, salt and black pepper. Add a few dashes each of the Tabasco sauce and lime juice. Bring to a simmer. Add cilantro and remove from heat.
3. Put 1 tortilla in baking dish. Top with 11⁄2 cups bean mixture; sprinkle with 1⁄4 cup cheese. Repeat layers 4 times (I did only 2 more layers), or until you are out of bean mix. (I cut a tortilla into triangles and arranged them on top for a mosaic look.)
4. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes until bubbly around edges and cheese is melted. Remove foil and cook for 5 minutes more. Let lasagna cool for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream, if desired.

And there you go. The beans are packed with protein, and if you serve a salad on the side and opt for low-fat dairy products, it's quite the healthy option! I totally encourage you to make this recipe, and check out the blog that I got it from, The Economical Eater.

1 comment:

  1. This was a great dish! Using tortilla is much easier and cheaper than traditional "noodles" Glad I have the recipe, I'll probably make it sometime soon.