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Lasagna dressed up as Mexican

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When you think of Italian food, you most likely think of spaghetti or pizza. But let's not forget lasagna! I like to think of Italian food as a form of "comfort food"...the type of eating that brings us calm and reassurance whenever we're depressed or stressed-out. Lasagna can certainly rank up there with food that provides comfort, without exception.

If you enjoy lasagna, but also enjoy Mexican food, the recipe I'm passing along combines the best of both worlds: lasagna with a Mexican flavor! The recipe, "Mexican Lasagna," has the basis of the classic Italian lasagna, but has the flavor and ingredients that are so familiar in Mexican cooking. Instead of using lasagna noodles, this uses tortillas. This eliminates having to cook noodles, as you would normally with the traditional lasagna. It's layered with a Mexican-flavored meat sauce and topped with Monterey Jack cheese. It's not an overly-spicy dish, so those who like their Mexican food on the milder side will enjoy this recipe.

You'll notice in the recipe that it calls for the use of corn tortillas, which as I mentioned earlier, takes the place of the pasta used in the traditional lasagna. You could also use the flour tortillas, if you choose, though I've never made this dish with them. Let your personal taste decide! This recipe also is put together rather quickly, so even if you've put in a long day at work or other activities, you can still put this dish together relatively fast and have a good, satisfying dinner at the end of the day.

For dessert, I would suggest something light and cool. A while back, I gave a recipe for "Lime Chiffon Pie", which fits the bill on both counts! To get this recipe, follow this link:

http://www.examiner.com/article/pie-that-s-light-luscious-and-lime

So, have your lasagna speak with a Mexican accent and try this innovative variation of a classic Italian recipe!

MEXICAN LASAGNA

  • 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 pkg. (1-1/2 oz.) taco seasoning mix
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes, either fresh or canned
  • 2 can (8 oz. each) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 9 corn tortillas
  • 10 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, grated

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet until crumbly and drain the fat. Add seasoned salt, taco seasoning mix, tomatoes, tomato sauce and chilies. Blend well and bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese with the eggs. In a 9x13 inch baking dish, spread half of the meat mixture. Top with half of the tortillas. Spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture over tortillas and top with half of the grated cheese. Repeat these layers again, ending with grated cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares. Yield: 8 servings

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