Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Shares and Sunshine

There's been a little bit more cooking around here lately.  This is good for our waistlines and our spirits (though the repeated runs to Frozen Freddie's are less good for our waistlines).  It helps that the sun is shining a little more warmly these last few days, and that we've just gotten our first share from our "Spring Treat" CSA.  My favorite treat:  9 lovely, fresh eggs.  I can't wait to make something with them!

Tonight's dinner was made before Larry got home with our treats, though, so it was back to the freezers for supplies.  Digging around earlier this week I found corn that was blanched and frozen last September, ground beef  from a farm near our CSA in Amherst, roasted tomatillo salsa that was made from the picked-right-before-a-frost tomatillos and jalapenos in the back yard, and roasted tomato sauce.  What great pickings!  All this preserved local bounty...what New England-y thing would I make? 

So, um, tomatillos aren't particularly New England-y.  I made Mexican Lasagna. 

I would have happily eaten the whole thing by myself.  There's something about meat, cheese, and layers of bread or noodles that just makes me positively gleeful.

This recipe changes frequently, depending on what I have on hand, and what whim I'm feeding.  Want (or have) corn tortillas?  No problem.  Have no jalapenos, but have black olives?  Sub away.  Heck, want it meatless?  Cook up a ton of onions and peppers and beans.  We're all about flexibility in this kitchen.

Mexican Lasagna, version 3,212
(serves our house...4)
7- 6 inch flour tortillas, cut into sixths
1 tbsp canola or other light oil
3/4 to 1 lb. ground beef (or turkey, or chicken)
1 cup chopped onion
2 tsp to 1 tbsp minced garlic (I go garlic)
8-10 pickled jalapeno slices, chopped
1 tsp chili powder (I used 3/4 tsp of regular, and 1/4 tsp of chipotle chili powder)
scant tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 to 2 cups corn kernels, if frozen, thawed and drained
scant two cups roasted tomato sauce (if you don't have your own, Muir Glen are good)
1 to 1 1/2 cups of your favorite salsa; I used tomatillo
5 oz fat free Greek Yogurt or low fat sour cream (really, use whatever fat content you want)
8 oz. grated cheddar cheese (or Monterrey Jack, or Cotija, or Queso Fresco...)
6-8 pickled jalapeno slices, chopped
1/2 c chopped tomatoes (fresh)

1. In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic until just beginning to soften.  Add 8-10 chopped jalapenos, stir to combine.  Add ground beef, breaking it up with spoon.   Cook until ground beef has very little pink left.  Add spices, chili powder through salt (I used a very scant teaspoon) and pepper.  Mix well.
2.  Add corn and tomatoes to beef mixture.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat and cook five minutes.
3.  Spray an 8-inch square (or equivalent) baking dish with cooking spray.  Spoon about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of salsa into the bottom. Place a single layer of tortillas in the bottom of the dish.  Spoon over 1/3 to 1/2* of the beef mixture.  Put a second layer of tortillas on top of the beef.  Spoon over 1/3 to 1/2 of beef mixture, and on that, smooth over the yogurt or sour cream.  Sprinkle over 1/3 of the cheese.
4.  Add a final layer of tortillas; press down gently.  If you didn't use all of the beef mixture, spread about 1/2 cup on top of the tortillas, then spread the remaining salsa.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Cover with foil, and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. 
5.  When cheese is hot and bubbly, remove foil, add chopped jalapenos and tomatoes, and return to oven, uncovered.  Bake until the cheese begins to brown in places, about 10 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

*I used just over 2/3 of the meat mixture.  Honestly, it's because I overestimated how many layers I'd be making.  But it's okay, because I'll be using the rest of the "chili" in either eggs or roll-ups this weekend.  All's well that ends well, as they say.


Lee Ann Spillane: said...

Those eggs are beautiful! I'm missing my chicks this year... Rick says we're done with chicken ranching, but I'm not taking the coop down yet.

Christine said...

Larry and I are definitely going to get chickens. It's only a question of when!