Thursday, 31 May 2012

Taco Thursday

I feel lucky to have grown up in a home where food was not only plentiful, but also in a home where meals were never the same. My mom didn't plan to make spaghetti on Monday, chicken on Tuesday, pork chops on Wednesday, or tacos on Thursdays. 

She did, however, make most Friday nights Picnic Night. She would lay out a picnic cloth on the floor of the living room and treat us to pizza, chicken wings, or another kind of treat food. Remembering that makes me want to relive those nights, but that's a story for another day...

When my mom cooked, all the meals were different, inventive, and rarely fell into a pattern. I think that's what me want to be creative in the kitchen. This dish reinvents the taco so that even if you want to have tacos every Thursday night, you can still make them different. :)

This was my final lasagna recipe entry into the Olivieri Taste of Home Lasagna Recipe Competition and although it did not place in the Top Ten entries, I was pleased with it. I especially liked how the black bean puree felt like ricotta cheese and the tortilla chips on top didn't hurt either!

Taco Lasagna

1 lb of lean ground beef
1 package of taco seasoning
1 onion, thinly sliced and chopped
2 green peppers, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 cups cooked black beans
2 1/3 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup salsa
2 cups mozzarella cheese
3/4 cups cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crumbled tortilla chips
1 package of lasagna sheets (about 6 sheets)
2 fresh avocados, sliced for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Brown ground beef with taco seasoning in a frying pan on medium heat, about 5-10 minutes. Drain the fat from the pan and set aside. 

3. In another pan, saute onion and green peppers in  olive oil. Add corn when the onions and peppers are almost cooked through and continue to cook until the corn is warmed. 

4. Puree black beans adding a little water if necessary so that the texture is smooth and resembles ricotta cheese. 

5. Layer your lasagna. Pour 1/3 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of a lasagna pan and place a layer of lasagna sheets on top. Top with half of the sauteed veggies. Next, place another layer of lasagna sheets  on, followed by the pureed black beans. Place another layer of lasagna sheets on followed by the browned ground beef, salsa, 1/2 cup of grated mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese. Place one last layer of lasagna sheets on and then the remaining sauteed veggies. Top with 2 cups of tomato sauce, 1 1/2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese, and crumbled tortilla chips. 

6. Cover with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving with fresh avocado slices. Enjoy!

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