Monday, January 28, 2013

Tex-Mex Lasagna Casserole

I love trying new things, especially interesting recipes. This is definitely one of those, must-try-for-yourself-type-of-recipes.  Well, after my sister mentioned she made "Mexican lasagna" I decided to try it for myself.
Instead of lasagna noodle, this recipe uses flour tortillas and be easily replaced with corn tortillas or other types for a gluten-free meal. As my friend Carmen would tell me, this recipe is Tex-Mex, NOT Mexican as Tex-Mex plays on the ingredients of both Latin and American cuisines and its usually a lot more complicated and cheesy than traditional Mexican cooking.
I did get some inspiration from Dash Recipes and I hope you make this your own as well.  I added a layer of fajita peppers and onions in the middle for a little interest and a big veggie boost. The toppings for this casserole are easily customizable from fresh tomatoes, salsa, black olives, green onions, crushed red peppers, and much more!
This is also the type of meal that will last two people 3-4 meals and at least two separate meals for a family of four.  It is ingredient heavy but with the amount of meals you get it's worth it. It is full of veggies and with the tortillas and reduced fat cheese it is a treat without being a cheat.
Yeah that rhymed.
I found a pretty good jarred variety but if you can’t find or make Mole sauce, try another Mexican flavor such as enchilada sauce or be creative and make something completely different! Serve a slice of this Tex-Mex casserole with a salad or some roasted sweet potatoes and you're set!
Tex-Mex Lasagna Casserole
(Adapted from Dash Recipes)
 Makes 8-10 servings

 16 5-inch small Tortillas (or 8, 8-inch large ones making two for each layer rather than 4), or Gluten-free alternative
 1 ½-2 cups Mexican or cheddar Cheese, reduced fat
 1/2 pound Ground turkey
1/2 cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
 2 bell peppers, 1 red and 1 orange or yellow, cut into strips
 1 medium yellow onion, cut in half and then into horizontal rings
1 can Black beans (14.5 oz.)
 1 cup frozen Corn, fresh or canned work as well
 1/2 can diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes (about 8 oz.)
 3 Garlic cloves, finely minced
 1 can fire roasted Diced chilies (5 oz.)
 1 cup Mole sauce (homemade or jarred)
 Olive oil
 1 tsp Cumin
 1/2 tsp chili powder
 Garlic powder
Black pepper
1 Shallot finely chopped, optional
Fresh diced tomatoes    
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large pan heat a little olive oil with 1 clove of garlic and yellow onions over medium heat.  Add bell peppers and cook until soft. Add a little garlic powder, pinch of salt, and black pepper. Move to a small bowl.
In the same pan add ground turkey and a little olive oil. Cook until browned. add rest of garlic, corn, black beans, half of the diced chilies, and tomatoes until well mixed and heated through.
Next, assemble the lasagna in three layers:
Using a large glass casserole dish, spread a thin layer of mole sauce. Layer with four of the small tortillas (or two if using large), slightly overlapping until bottom is covered.
Spoon half of the turkey mixture on top of the tortillas making an even layer. Sprinkle a little of the cheese on top.
Assemble another layer of tortillas and spread another layer of mole sauce, sprinkle of cheese, then fajita peppers and onions, and even sprinkle of cilantro.
Next another layer tortillas and the rest of the ground turkey. Add the last layer of tortillas with the rest of the mole sauce. Cover with remaining cheese, chopped shallot, rest of cilantro, black pepper, and remaining diced chilies.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and lasagna is hot and slightly bubbly.
Let stand for 5 minutes and then serve with salad or side.
The College Cuisiner

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Roasted Maple Sweet Potatoes

If you have come to the College Cuisiner before you probably know I LOVE sweet potatoes.
They are so much more versatile than many people, like my mother, think they are.

Savory Sweet potatoes are some of my favorite additions and their sweet complex flavor lend greatly to different ethnic flavors of Mediterranean, Indian, and Mexican.

Last week I finally perfected roasted sweet potatoes which go great with tacos, on nachos, in breakfast tacos, even with meatloaf!

 Here are some of the ways I’ve incorporated these roasted sweet potatoes lately:

What’s great about this recipe is there is little fuss and goes as a perfect side dish. If you are making an ethnic dish try adding a little dried cumin or even curry powder!

 I love how sweet potatoes get deliciously caramelized and sweet while savory. This is a surprising crowd favorite, so give it a try and let me know what you think!

Spiced Roasted Sweet Potatoes


2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes
3 tbsp vegetable oil or enough to coat the potatoes
2-3 tbsp quality maple syrup
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp sea salt
Black pepper

1 tsp ground cumin or curry powder

½ tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Try honey or light agave in place of maple syrup


Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, toss all ingredients until sweet potatoes are coated well.

Transfer sweet potatoes to a large glass casserole dish. Place in oven for about 30 minutes until cubes crumble with a fork.

Serve hot with your favorite meal!



The College Cuisiner