Thursday, November 8, 2007

Mexican Lasagna & Awesome Brownies

Today at about 5:00 PM, I had 4 hungry kids, an almost-empty fridge, and no plans for dinner. Normally, in this situation, I would go to my favourite recipe site, all recipes, and do a search for something quick and easy with very few ingredients. (Or else I would make sandwiches , soup from a can, or something else equally exciting.) Unfortunately, Scott was on an important business call in the den, so I didn't have access to my computer.

I decided to wing a recipe I had seen made somewhere at sometime with ingredients I had on hand and this is what I came up with. I know there are quite a few recipes for this type of dish out there. It may not be totally original, but I didn't follow a recipe when I made it tonight, so it was new to us.

Mexican Lasagna

Chop an onion and saute in a heated pan (with olive oil) until soft. Add 1 can of stewed tomatoes with juice, 2-3 cloves of garlic (I used the frozen cubed kind), 1 cup of water, 2 tsp cumin, 3 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, grate a huge mound of chedder cheese (or other Mexican blend). Drain and rinse 1 can of black beans. I happened to have leftover shredded chicken from our quesadillas last night, but you could use any cooked chicken (seasoned with taco-type spices).

Get a box of oven ready lasagna noodles, and you are now ready to layer your lasagna. Well, almost ready. I had to add in a little step here due to one of my children being a little weary of seeing "vegetable chunks" (ie tomatoes, onions) in any type of casserole. So... I blended the whole tomato mixture in the food processor to make a thick, smooth, sauce. It's amazing how many vegetables my kids will eat when the can't see them. ;)

Stir the chicken and beans into the tomato sauce.

In a 9 X 13 casserole, spread a thin layer of sauce, then noodles, then a thick layer of sauce, cheese, noodles, sauce, cheese, etc. until everything is in the pan. Top with a final sprinkle of cheese and back at 350 for 50-60 minutes. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.


(ETA: Next time I might experiment with coloured peppers, black olives, or chopped green chiles, etc. Also, I think it would be good topped with shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa, and tomatoes - or you could substitute tortillas for the lasagna noodles.)

While the lasagna was baking, I found this brownie recipe and we had these for dessert, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Awesome Brownies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.
  4. To Make Frosting: Combine 3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Frost brownies while they are still warm.

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