Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mexican Lasagna

This recipe puts a delicious spin on traditional lasagna, using ground turkey, as well as tortillas in place of pasta. I found it on Pinterest, and Mr.4444 has declared it a "definite keeper."
I followed the directions given by Sugar & Spice by Celeste, here.
To read this recipe without photos, click here.

Before I start, I want to give props to our little puppy, Milo, who isn't allowed in past the refrigerator in the kitchen and without whose good behavior I would not have been able to make this delicious dinner! Thanks, Milo :)

Sauce Ingredients:

1 tbls garlic-flavored oil
1 lb. ground turkey
1 onion, chopped (I used Vidalia.)
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes (ignore the three cans in this photo!)
3 tablespoons of chopped green chilies (I used canned.)
1 tbls ketchup
 1 tsp Kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt)
fresh cilantro (much less than pictured)
(Celeste's version called for 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro "stalks", 
but I'd never heard of using the stalks instead of the leaves; 
I finely-chopped the leaves, instead. 

Filling Ingredients:

I used five ears of locally grown corn. 
Celeste's version called for about 1 1/2 cans of corn, or 3 1/4 cups. 
As you'll note later, I had too much corn!
1 large can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 1/2 cups of your favorite cheddar cheese (I used another 1/2 cup for the top.)
6-8 round tortillas (I used 6.)

Guacamole Ingredients:

At this point, I also want to grudgingly give props to my husband, 
who's always trying to tell me to do all of my prepping before I start cooking. 
I rarely follow his advice in this regard, and I wished I had this time, 
as I forgot to saute the onion with the turkey, red peppers, and chilies until they were already cooked. Maybe I've learned my lesson. (Maybe)

Since I did not have olive-flavored oil, I made my own, making sure to heat the oil to at least 200 degrees before sauteing the garlic in it. [Through a little research, I learned that you can actually die from the most obvious way of flavoring oil with garlic (throwing raw garlic into a bottle of oil).]

Here we go!

Cook the ground turkey, peppers, onions, and chilies 
(unless you use canned, like I did) in the olive oil.

 Then add the diced tomatoes, along with a can full of water and the ketchup.
I want to note that in my ingredient photo, I had three cans of tomatoes; 
I figured that error out before I started cooking, you only need one 28-oz can.
When everything is cooked through, add the salt, and cook a little longer (5 minutes).

Bring the heat up until it's hot and bubbly. Add the cilantro and let the sauce simmer on Low. 

Rather than pour the juice off later (as suggested by Celeste)
 I chose to simmer the sauce for about 45 minutes, with the cover off, cooking it down.

As the sauce is simmering, drain and rinse the beans.

Boil and cut the corn off the cob (Mr.4444 says the locally-grown sweetcorn was one of the best parts of this dish!) or just use canned corn.

Mix the beans, corn, and shredded cheese together and set aside until the sauce is ready.


Get ready for assembly!

Spoon some of the sauce into the bottom of your pan. 

Because I didn't have a round pan tall enough for this recipe, 
I used a square pan and cut my tortillas to fit the entire pan.
(I later noticed that Celeste may have used a 10" oven-proof skillet.)

Place two tortillas atop the sauce in the pan, patching the corners like so.

Spoon 1/3 of the sauce atop the tortillas.

Top that with a layer of the bean/corn/cheese mixture.

Top that with two more tortillas (and patches) and repeat with another layer of sauce and filling, saving a little of each for the top. Top that with two more tortillas and the rest of the sauce and filling. For some reason, I had a ton of filling left! (I look forward to having it for lunch tomorrow!)

Add some more cheese to the top.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Allow to set at least 15 minutes before serving.
(This recipe was enough for five adults to have dinner and three to have delicious leftovers for lunch the next day.)

Serve with lettuce, sour cream, and guacamole made with your preferred amounts of the ingredients shown earlier.

Celeste's recipe has helpful details about freezing/preparing it a day ahead/leftovers/etc.  
The leftovers were wonderful, so I'm sure it freezes well, too.

We will definitely be making this again!

*I also want to point out that it's important to have a deep pan for this recipe. I didn't have the 10-inch wide, 2 1/4" tall pan called for, but I did have a square one, so I used that. 
*You could make this recipe for a crowd if you increased the sauce ingredients.