To be totally honest, this blog is all about me. It’s by me. It’s for me. It’s the place where I occasionally spill the things that need to get out of my brain, the place where I can keep thoughts I’d like to keep (diaries get lost so easily!), memories I’d like to keep, and… as is the case today… recipes I’d like to keep.
There are a lot of blogs that I occasionally tune into (none that I follow all that regularly). Smockity Frocks is one of those. She is one of the 4 Moms of 35 Kids. I love their stuff! Anyway, she has a mexican lasagna recipe that I’ve made a bunch of times and we all love it. I think my kids may not realize that lasagna is usually an Italian thing, come to think of it. Oh, well. On to the recipe. My version of it. The original (which isn’t much different) is here. Biggest difference: mine is doubled.
Mexican Lasagna Recipe
2 cans refried beans
16 oz. tomato sauce
2 – 3 lbs. ground beef OR 1 lb ground beef plus 1 can black beans (drained)
2 pkgs. taco seasoning mix (McCormick is gluten free)
2 small onions, chopped (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
8 – 12 oz shredded cheddar cheese
corn tortillas (about 12)
Brown and drain the ground beef, adding the onions and garlic if desired. Add the black beans (if using) and taco seasoning and prepare according to package instructions (usually add ¾ c. water per lb and cook about 5 minutes). In a small bowl, combine the refried beans and tomato sauce. Spread a little of this in the bottom of a 9”x13” that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray or greased.
Smockity Frocks says to cut the corn tortillas into strips about 1 inch wide. 5 strips works well, and you can cut several tortillas at a time. A pizza cutter is great for this. Add a layer of tortilla strips to the bottom of the dish, slightly overlapping the strips. I actually don’t cut the tortillas (see the picture).
Smockity says put half the meat mix over the tortilla strips, spreading it out to the edges. Add half the remaining bean/tomato sauce mix, then top it with a layer of cheese. Repeat the layers–tortilla strips, meat, sauce, and cheese. I make 4 layers and put a bit of cheese with each layer. My guys like cheese! Also, since I don’t cut the tortillas, I alternate which corners the whole tortillas go in (there’s a picture again).
Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes. Let it stand 5 – 10 minutes before serving and then enjoy! I know you will.
And here’s a great dessert to go with. My mom always made flan for Christmas. I’m not sure where or when the tradition started; I think she just loves it. And I can’t blame her one bit. I love it too. Her recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk, but I didn’t have any on hand. I looked up a substitute and here’s the resulting recipe. It was soooo delicious, especially with eggs from our backyard chickens. If you’re not familiar with flan, just make this and then you will be… and you’ll thank me. :)
Rich Baked Flan
2/3 cup sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups cream
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
First thing to do is to caramelize the sugar (after you preheat the oven to 350 degrees… because that’s what you always do first, right?). If you haven’t done this before, it might sound weird and scary and hard… but it’s not. Seriously. Make sure you keep an eye on it and it’ll be fine. Get out a sauce pan or a skillet. Put the sugar in the skillet and heat on medium heat, stirring frequently (read: almost constantly). At first it’ll do nothing. Then it’ll keep doing nothing. Then it’ll start to clump up. Keep heating and stirring and it will turn into a brown, caramel colored liquid. Pull it off and immediately pour it into an ungreased 1.5 qt casserole and swirl it a bit to make sure it’s even. The sugar is super hot and hardens quickly, so work fast and watch all your digits.
Put all the other ingredients in a blender and whirl it up. Pour it into the bowl with the caramelized sugar and put the whole bowl into a larger pan. Now here’s the hard part. You need to fill the larger pan with at least an inch of hot water. Are you going to put the stack of dishes and cream into the oven and then pour in the hot water (risking a burn while reaching in the oven) OR are you going to fill the pan with water and then try to put the teetering stack of mess-potential into the oven? Personally, I pull the rack out, put the pan/ bowl stack on the rack, fill the pan with water and then carefully push the rack in.
Bake for 50-60 minutes till set. The flan will set more as it cools. My mom always lets it set in the fridge over night. I didn’t have that much time today, so it set for about 3 hours. It wasn’t totally solid… but it was still delicious.