Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Italy goes South of the Border.

Mexican Lasagna
I'll admit it. For 5 seconds this week, I thought I was a recipe genius. Upon careful review of the pantry, I discovered I had way too many boxes of lasagna noodles and a ridiculous amount of Colby- Jack cheese that I didn't want to spoil. 

And that's when it dawned on me: I could substitute the Italian herbs for taco seasoning, the mozzarella for Colby-Jack, and the Ragu for taco sauce. Mexican Lasagna! Stop the press. Call the president. Look out Food Network-I've just invented a new recipe.
People this one is for the history books. I'm a genius! (And extremely humble.)

Of course once I googled 'Mexican Lasagna,' I realized that I wasn't the first to  think of this concept. There are hundreds of similiar recipes out there. However mine IS one of the few to still use actual lasagna noodles and not tortillas... So there. (sticks out tongue)

This recipe uses the basic lasagna concept of layering sauce, noodles, filling, cheese, and repeating. I have a trusty vegetable lasagna recipe that I used as my guidepost and basically focused on how to infuse each layer with hispanic flavors instead of the usual Italian flavors. The result was fanatstico and I will make this recipe again and again.

Maybe I didn't rewrite culinary history this week, but my adventure in the kitchen sure was delicious.

Mexican Lasagna
Cast of Characters. Ole'
Step 1: Making the Mexican marinara sauce. Add a can of crushed tomatoes and one bottle of taco sauce to a large pot.
       Add one can of tomato paste.

Add a splash of water (needed for the uncooked pasta to cook better), stir and bring to simmer.
Step 2: The filling. To a bowl of cottage cheese (2 containers) add one egg.
One tablespoon of flour.
A handful of any kind of cheese. The original Italian recipe calls for Parmesan, I wanted to stick with hispanic flavors so I used Queso Fresco- a light, moist cheese similar to ricotta.
Small can of diced green chilies. This is  optional and they are not  spicy, just add amazing flavor. Combine all ingredients.
Add chopped bell pepper to browned ground beef or turkey.
One packet of taco seasoning. (I  have an easy and delicious homemade recipe for taco seasoning, but I   ran out for today's dish.)
One can of corn. This was a last minute addition, I was feelin' sassy so I  threw it in. Love the colors!
Assembly-line time!
One cup of sauce and layer uncooked noodles on top.
Then a layer of cheese filling, and then the meat filling. Repeat and then top liberally with shredded cheese.
Bake 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees.
Garnish with sour cream, chives and black olives. Gives 'Spaghetti Westerns' a whole new meaning!
Nail Color: Essie 'Turquoise and Caicos'
Use any lasagna recipe as your guide for this and then infuse each layer with your favorite Mexican ingredients.  Have fun with this-the sky is the limit! Let me know what other flavors you would put in your version of this festive dish.


  1. Linds! I love this! Have you ever read the Smitten Kitchen food blog? It's also from a tiny NYC kitchen. Great recipe! You're so talented :-)

    XO, Julia

  2. I love the creative twist GFS :) I believe this dish would go VERY well with an organic mojito, let's DO that sometime soon!

  3. Nice colors, good crunch. Finger nail color perfect.