“A house isn't a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind, as well as the body” ~ Margaret Fuller, 1810-1850
I'm so thankful to have always lived in the kind of neighborhoods where people watch out for and take care of each other. Meals appear on front porches when there's a sickness or a new baby, cookies are exchanged at Christmas time, spare keys swapped for safekeeping, and kitties looked in on when someone is away
If there ever was a host and hostess who've perfected the art of the dinner party, it's them. The time always comfortable, the conversation always warm. Guests can look forward to an incredible meal, although I've learned asking for a recipe is futile, rarely does she follow one
Her latest creation? A Mexican lasagna full of veggies, with soft corn tortillas standing in for traditional pasta. Lucky for us, there were a few left-overs that found their way to our fridge that evening
The meal was too good, not to have a version of my own
Admittedly .. there's really nothing groundbreaking about this Mexican lasagna. One could google “lasagna” and come up with thousands (about 30,200 to be exact) of recipes, so I hate to add yet another to the masses.
Each meal brings me back to the days we were dating. I looked forward to the weekends and our standing invitation for dinner, wine, candles, and pasta.
It gets repeated because it rarely requires sending my sweet husband to the grocery store. Those are some of the best kinds of dinners, are they not?
It's easy to find lean ground beef, or lately ground bison in the freezer. There are always veggies of some sort lingering about. Depending on the kind of lasagna, we'll have pasta sauce in the freezer, or in this case, salsa in the fridge.
Noodles (regular and gluten-free) are a pantry staple, as are corn tortillas, which come in handy if one is eating gluten-free, and in need of a wrap. Cheese is always plentiful, though probably goat cheese instead of dairy.
A hearty salad will certainly be within reach, to round off the meal
Feel free to use this recipe as a base, adding vegetables as they're in-season, or that you have on hand. I've included my recipe for homemade taco seasoning mix. If you've never made it from scratch, now might be a fun time to give it a try.
Also, use your best judgment when it comes to the heat. If you're like some cooks I love, you'll use the hottest salsa, chilies, and up the spices like chili powder and red pepper flakes. If heat isn't for you, adjust down. It's all good.
At the end of the day, all the credit goes to the Italians for their brilliance of lasagna, to our friends for their inspiration of this Mexican version, and to my husband for the gift of wonderful weekends filled with pasta.
A man who taught me, that the things in our lives we love and appreciate the most, should forever have a home on our shortlist of
~ Adapted from Taste of Home
Mexican Skillet Lasagna with Bison and Veggies
- 1-1/2 pounds ground bison ** or lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 -3 peppers sliced into thin strips (** any color of peppers work great)
- 1 zucchini sliced into thin strips
- 2 cups salsa ** heat preference of your choice
- 1 can enchilada sauce ~ 10 oz
- 1 can refried beans ~ 16 oz
- 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans .. or 1 can ~ 15 oz .. rinsed and drained
- 1 can chopped green chilies ~ 4 oz
- 1 oz homemade taco seasoning recipe follows .. or 1 envelope store-bought taco seasoning
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 6 soft corn tortillas ~ 10 inches in size + more or less .. depending on the baking vessel you're using and how your layering goes
- 3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend divided
- 2 cups crushed veggie chips ** optional .. the original recipe called for tortilla chips
- Toppings ** optional
- Sliced ripe olives
- guacamole chopped tomatoes
- sour cream .. greek yogurt .. or your favorite replacement
- Preheat oven to 375
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the ground bison and onion .. cooking until the meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
- In a separate skillet, over medium heat, add a Tbsp olive oil and sauté the peppers and zucchini until they're just beginning to soften
- To the browned meat mix add the sautéed pepper and zucchini mix, along with the salsa, beans, enchilada sauce, chilies, taco seasoning, and pepper.
- Cook until the mix is heated through
- Spread 1 cup meat mixture in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. (** I used a 12" cast-iron skillet)
- Cover with a layer of tortillas, a third of the remaining meat mixture and 1 cup cheese.
- Repeat the layers
- Top with remaining tortillas and meat mixture.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with chips (if using)
- Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with your favorite toppings
Homemade Taco Seasoning
- 1 Tbsp chili powder (heat depending on your preference)
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional, depending on the level of heat you prefer)
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp fine-grain sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, mix all of the spices together.
- Store in an airtight container.