Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mexican Lasagna

We spent another day almost completely outdoors again. It feels so good to work in the sunshine. We visited a few more nurseries, a few stores and Home Depot all before noon. When we got back we decided to get the garden in since the fear of frost here has passed. I made sure I checked the weather forecast for the week; because it’s not often that we plant before Memorial Day weekend here in RI. This year our garden includes: Best Boy tomatoes, Sweet 100 tomatoes, zucchini, squash, broccoli, lettuce (4 kinds), eggplant, cucumbers, and beans. I also have my herb garden planted too. I can’t wait to use the different basils. I planted lots and lots of basil. I mean lots….like you would look at me and think how much basil can one family use, but let me tell ya, I love the stuff. Can you say pesto??

There were also a lot of flowers that went in over the weekend. I think I bought about 4 flats of flowers. I can’t help myself when it comes to the yard and flowers. I love to see everything blooming all summer long. My nails need some serious attention from all the digging though. I suppose I should wear garden gloves, but I just can’t. I like to feel the soil in my hands; gloves just get in the way. So I will be chopping off all my fingernails tonight for sure. The perils of gardening.

It was supposed to start to raining at about 4pm today, and for once, the weatherman was right. 4pm and it started to sprinkle. It was good timing. I could go in and make a recipe that I had been eyeing for a few weeks. Many thanks to Kay at Kitchen Scrapbook for this one. I found her blog a few weeks back and have seen some really interesting recipes there. This one in particular intrigued me so I made it for supper. I tweaked things a little to my likings and it turned out really great. John absolutely loved it. I brought some over to my neighbors and they loved it too. Definitely a keeper! Thanks Kay!

Mexican Lasagna
1 1/4 lbs ground beef (I think I used about 1 ½ pounds)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups salsa (that was the jar for me)
1 can (16 oz) refried beans
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies (I omitted cause me no like!)
1 envelope taco seasoning
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 flour tortillas
3 cups (12 oz) shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided (I used 2 bags (Monterey Jack & the Taco blend, so about 4 cups).
2 cups broken tortilla chips
Sour cream, sliced ripe olives, guacamole, and chopped tomatoes, optional

In a large skillet, cook the onions under they are just tender, Add the beef, and garlic and cook over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in salsa, beans, enchilada sauce, chilies, taco seasoning, and pepper; heat through.

Spread 1 cup of the mixture into a greased 9×13 baking pan. Layer with 2 tortillas, 1 cup of cheese and a 1/3 of the meat mixture. Repeat with 2 more layers. You should end up with the meat mixture on top. I had about a ½ cup of cheese left so I sprinkled that on top before it went into the oven. Spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray (we don’t want cheese sticking to the foil now do we?) cover tightly and bake for 30 minutes at 375. I uncovered it after about 25 minutes into the baking time so the cheese would get nice and bubbly. That took about another 10 minutes. Once it’s out of the oven you need to let it sit for 10 minutes before you cut into this bad boy or you will have a cheesy mess. You can use this time to sprinkle your crushed tortilla chips on top. I served this with some sliced avocado and some sour cream with chives. So good!
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