Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna Casserole

As a mother of two – a preschooler and a toddler – life in my kitchen has gotten really slim.  Meaning – I used to love being in my kitchen.  But, now I’m multi-tasking and keeping an eye on the kids and an eye on the stove – its a wonder I don’t burn dinners and chop off my thumb in the process.

My friend Kristin over at Dine and Dish (you so have to check out her blog for everything) did an enchilada casserole.  I had been trying to make it for two weeks but kept either using an ingredient for something else, or forgetting an ingredient.  So, I just changed the recipe.  Thanks for the inspiration!

And my family loves some Mexican food.  Wait, I love Mexican food.  Therefore, I impose it on my family.  I hope they don’t mind.  This dish took 20 minutes to put together, takes 25 to cook, and it is great for leftovers.  I call that a win – win  – win.  And it is only made better by avocados and more cheese – that has to be a good dish.

Mexican Lasagna
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
Easy layered Mexican lasagna perfect for any time of the year
  • ¾ lb ground chuck (or whatever ground beef or turkey is cheapest)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups black beans (I used dry beans and cooked them down)
  • 1 can whole kernel corn (frozen would work too)
  • juice of half lime
  • 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2½ tsp taco seasoning
  • 6-8 flour tortillas, soft taco size
  • 1 bottle green salsa (I used Trader Joes because it is Whole30 compliant)
  • 1 can refried beans (or you can make them yourself)
  • Mexican blend cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cook the meat until almost done. Add onion and cook until meat is done. Drain. (This is a good tip. You can buy cheaper meat with higher fat - just drain it really good when its done cooking.)
  3. Put the meat and onion mixture back in the pan. Add corn, lime, beans, tomatoes, and seasoning. Let simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Start your lasagna with 2 tortillas in the bottom of a 11x7 pan. Then spread those with ⅓ of the can of refried beans. Then scoop up some meat mixture and layer that on top. Top with cheese then salsa. Then repeat.
  5. I left mine topped with cheese (just because I ran out of tortillas).
  6. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
  7. Eat it with a green salad. You can also serve tortilla chips if you want crunchiness and sour cream and more cheese and avocado are a must!

Creamy Turkey and Spinach Enchiladas

Turkey and Spinach Enchiladas

My days in seminary were days that were hard pressed for cash. I was very thankful for work, scholarships, and help from the parents, but still, I didn’t eat out that often, especially the first couple semesters.  But, when I did, I would venture around the corner to my favorite Mexican place, Las Margaritas. It was a small chain, but I liked this location the best.  And then I tried their spinach and mushroom quesadillas.  I fell in love.  Gooey, cheesy, healthy (?), and warm, especially good for cold, NC winters.

And this is how life is funny: one of the friends I went to this restaurant with back then, is now my neighbor.  She got me started on making my own enchiladas with this recipe.  And tonight, she is getting these for dinner as she babysits my boys so my mister and I can go to a concert.  Life is grand.

And that taste, is what I’ve recreated in this enchilada recipe.  I’ve fallen in love with enchiladas.  I love making them.  By far, my favorite homemade mexican food to make.  So, I always try to come up with different ones.  So, today, I used what was in my fridge.

Fresh spinach.  Lean Turkey.  Cheese.

Creamy Turkey and Spinach Enchiladas
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Creamy and warm enchiladas packed with vegetables.
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pkg ground turkey
  • evoo
  • 1 6 oz bag fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 can cream of chicken and mushroom soup
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 8 soft tacos (or 10 depending on the size of your pan, and how much filling you put in each one)
  • 1 can mild green enchilada sauce
  • 1½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  1. Saute onion in evoo. Add ground turkey and cook until almost done.
  2. Add garlic and cook until turkey is no longer pink.
  3. Drain.
  4. Cook spinach in same pan.
  5. Add back in the turkey mixture.
  6. Cook until all spinach is wilted and incorporated into turkey mixture.
  7. Add soup, cheese, and spices.
  8. Fill each tortilla and roll.
  9. Put seam side down in a 9x13 pan.
  10. Pour enchilada sauce over the enchiladas.
  11. Top with cheese.
  12. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes at 375.
  13. Enjoy with sour cream, cilantro, and black beans on the side.

Patchwork Butternut Squash, Kale, & Chicken Pot Pie

Pot PIe

Bring on the Fall.  This week seems to be one of the hottest in the whole summer – just when I’m thinking of pumpkin lattes and vanilla and sweet potatoes.

I look forward to evenings when I can snuggle on the couch under a blanket with my hubs – watching a movie – after the boys go to bed – knowing that it is getting cool outside!

Patchwork Butternut Squash, Kale, & Chicken Pot Pie
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
A fall flavored pot pie with chicken, butternut squash, and kale
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 2 T evoo
  • 1¼ cup diced butternut squash
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 massive handfuls of chopped kale
  • ⅓ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 pie crust, torn in pieces
  1. Heat the oven to 350.
  2. In cast iron skillet, heat oil and butter. Add in onion and cook for about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minutes
  4. Add squash and cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from pan.
  6. Cook the chicken in same pan until done.
  7. Combine the vegetables, chicken, spices, and cheese.
  8. Pour into a deep dish pie pan. Cut strips of pie crust and make a lattice or patchwork pattern out of them. Layer on top of pot pie.
  9. Cook for about 45-50 minutes or until top crust is golden brown.
I’d never made a pot pie until I moved back to Raleigh in 2010.  My boss’s wife – and friend – made a delicious one and said it was so easy – well, this one is too and has wonderful Fall flavors!





Chicken Pesto Bowties

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I made this on Wednesday to celebrate two people: Rach, who has a birthday this coming week, and Lindsay, who I miss terribly (she lives 9 hours away) and made this recipe for me last year. So good of comfort food.

1 box bowtie (or other shaped) pasta (16 oz)
2-3 cups chopped chicken (I jused deboned a rotisserie chicken because I got such a good deal on it – 1$)
1/2 cup basil pesto
1/2 milk
1 can cream of chicken soup

Cook pasta. Heat rest together. Combine all. Eat.

Taste of Mooresville: Lancaster's BBQ

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What kind of BBQ fan are you? Is it a noun or a verb? Do you like Memphis, TX, Sonny’s, Eastern, Western, TN, KY – so many people out there and everyone with an opinion on BBQ. Well…
Here is mine…
I had one of the best BBQ sandwiches ever to be put in my mouth today. Definitely worth the 2 hour and 20 minute drive and the 3.85 per sandwich. The chopped cole slaw and the mild sauce (not vinegar) made this sandwich dynamite!
It is definitely a fave of my sister-in-laws and a gas station in Mooresville has it for sale on Sundays.
The homemade chips are great and not too salty – fun to eat when dipped in ranch dressing. They also come seasoned if you want them – cajun style – that is how Alan chose to eat his – dipped in their vinegar sauce.
So good – go now.

Majudra – Middle Eastern Peasant Food

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Majudra, majadra – however you spell it – spell it my new fave comfort food. Cheap, warm, perfect as a salad topping, caramelized onions – can it get any better?
I had seen this as a recipe, and I have had the recipe, but I had not made it yet. Then, 2 weeks ago I went to The Grape Leaf in Louisville and ordered this. I LOVED IT. But, I knew the caramelized onions would have to be more prominent for me!
So, I had everything I needed in my pantry when I moved this week, so I decided to make this…

1 1/2 cup rice
3 cups water, boiling
2 cloves chopped garlic
olive oil

3/4 cup green lentils (no need to pre-soak)
2 cups water
1 tsp cumin

2 onions, thinly sliced
olive oil

Heat olive oil and pour in rice – cooking till opaque – like you would risotto. Pour in water and garlic – simmer with lid on till done.
Cook lentils till done but not mushy – then add seasonings.
Sauted onions, stirring a few times – not a lot.
Bowl: rice, lentils, caramelized onions. Top with either melted butter or olive oil.
Next time: I’ll make it with more cumin and brown rice, maybe switch out the all olive oil for half oil and butter on the onions.


Roasted Orange Chive Salmon

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Is oatmeal a meal? Good, I agree. Its not. Therefore, my first real meal I cooked was SO GOOD. I told my Dad while eating it – that it was the best salmon I have ever had second only to the time I was in Craig, Alaska and had it right off the boat.

zest of one mandarin orange
1 tsp chopped fresh chives
8 oz fresh atlantic salmon (w/skin, got it from Whole Foods)

425 degrees. Place aluminum foil on a small baking sheet. Spray with pam.
Pat dry salmon. Drizzle with evoo. Zest orange and chop the chives over the top. Bake for about 15 minutes, maybe a little more till the fish easily flakes.
Enjoy. I served mine with roasted asparagus and roasted new pototoes.

Roast Turkey with Rigatoni

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New babies! I love them. And with all the siblings – this recipe was a hit with the kiddos (one even went back for seconds). I served this with roasted broccoli and red peppers and peanut butter cookies.
I found a recipe similar to this on Simply Recipes, and just changed it up to my liking!
1 lb rigatoni (I like these shapes when serving to kids because they can eat them easier – trick I learned from Mrs Italian cook herself, Lauren)

12 oz sliced mushrooms
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup white wine (I used Quail Creek, a CA wine that the Whole Foods guy recommended)
2 cups homemade turkey stock (made from simmering the turkey bones from my roast turkey recipe a few recipes down)
3 cups chopped roast turkey – from Ina Garten recipe I made
1 1/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup parm cheese
1/2 cup mozz cheese, grated
juice of one lemon
s/p/pinch of nutmeg (nutmeg goes great with cream sauces)
1/3 cup parm cheese
1/2 cup mozz cheese
Cook mushrooms (I did in evoo and Quail Creek), for about 10 minutes.
In separate small saucepan, melt butter, whisk in flour, then milk and half and half on low (so it doesn’t scorch or boil over), then the cheese, finally spices and lemon juice.
Cook rigatoni till al dente and drain.
Mix all together. Top with remaining cheese.
Pour into 9×13 pan, lightly sprayed with pam. Bake uncovered at 375 for about 35 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Easy Shepherds Pie

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This month is cleaning out the pantry time! I had a can of Dinty Moore beef stew – which I do love by the way. So, on the back of the can is a great recipe for shepherds pie. I made it for a friend and her husband this past Wednesday since their nights are really busy with work and church (and traffic).
I kinda followed the recipe, but really not.

1 can dinty moore beef stew
1 cup sliced mushrooms, chopped
3/4 cup frozen peas
7 red skin potatoes
1/3 cup half and half
2 T unsalted butter
2 T parm cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese

Boil potatoes, mash, and mix with half and half, butter, cheese, and seasonings.
Dump beef stew in bottom of 8×8 pan. Break up bigger chunks of beef. Stir in mushrooms and peas. Spread potatoes on top. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Top with cheese and bake another 5 minutes. Serve.
Aarica and J both said this was wonderful – “best shepherds pie ever”!

Tuna Spaghetti (2010.6)

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Bon Appetit in its editor section usually has little basic recipes. This was one of them. Not great, but not throw away worthy either. I may just toss some on top of some greens.

Not amounts, almost

Spaghetti (I used whole grain spaghetti)
1 can tuna (oil packed preferred, but I used water packed)
1 fat garlic clove, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
lemon juice
(I added the garlic and red pepper and didn’t have any parsley)

Cook noodles. In pan, saute everything else. Drain pasta, reserving a bit of the water. Mix all together.
This just didn’t have much of a flavor to me.