Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mexican Lasagna

I wasn't in the mood to cook, but I had some ground turkey in the fridge that was about to get funky. I also wasn't in the mood to go to the store, so it was time to get creative with my pantry.

I pulled some flour tortillas and corn out of the freezer, a can of enchilada sauce off the pantry shelf. Let's make this as easy as possible. I thought to myself. No need to chop onion and garlic; I just used spices from the cupboard to add pizzazz to the turkey browning on the stove. Then I started layering. Zippy sauce + flour tortillas + spicy filling + creamy cheese. Repeat. Bake. Stuff face. Mmmm.

What's that they say about necessity being the mother of invention? Well, it's also the mother of dinner. Delicious dinner.

Mexican Lasagna
Serves: 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey or ground beef
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 tablespoon taco seasoning*
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper
1 (14 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
5-6 flour tortillas, halved to fit in the baking dish
1 2/3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream, for serving
Salsa, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 8 minutes. If there is lots of liquid or fat in the pan, drain it off. Stir in corn, taco seasoning, and onion powder. Allow the spices to toast for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour about 1/3 cup enchilada sauce into a 9" baking dish and spread it around so it covers the bottom. Arrange tortillas in the baking dish to cover the sauce. Top tortillas with half of the turkey mixture and 1/2 cup cheese. Cover cheese with another layer of tortillas. Pour another 1/2 cup enchilada sauce over the tortillas and layer on remaining turkey mixture and another 1/2 cup cheese. Top with a final layer of tortillas, remaining enchilada sauce (about 1/2 cup), and remaining 2/3 cup cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes. Allow Mexican Lasagna to rest for 10 minutes before serving with sour cream and salsa.

*I used Penzey's Fajita Seasoning. If you don't have taco seasoning, I think a mixture of chili powder and cumin would do the job quite nicely.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Curry Spiced Pecans

Halloween is over, and Christmas has officially taken over Target. That's my signal to get ready for holiday fun.

Before the busyness overwhelms us, let's whip up a batch of Curry Spiced Pecans, and we'll be ready for whatever life brings. Appetizer for girls' night? Done. Crunchy snack for the football game? Done. Make-ahead hors d'oeuvre for Thanksgiving. Done. Thoughtful hostess gift? Oh, now you've outdone yourself.

Curry Spiced Pecans
Adapted from these Spiced Nuts

1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound pecans (about 4 cups)
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg white, water, and salt until frothy. Add pecans and stir until coated. Drain pecans in a colander for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine sugar, curry powder, paprika, and cumin. Toss spices with the drained pecans and evenly divide them between prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the pecans are dry and crisp. A couple times throughout baking, stir the pecans and rotate the baking sheets so they cook evenly. Allow pecans to cool completely on the baking sheets, about 30 minutes. Break up the nuts and serve. Pecans can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.

P.S. Here's an idea for you. I didn't use cayenne in today's recipe, but I bet these pecans would be delicious with 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne added with the other spices. Let me know if you give it a try!