While cooking for Labor Day, I decided to go ahead and make Mexican Lasagna for lunch or dinner this week.
About 5 years ago, my sister and brother-in-law were coming from Oklahoma to visit. They live in Oktaha, Oklahoma. I know. You’ve never heard of it. But it’s about 30 minutes outside of Muskogee. Which you’ve probably heard of…in a song maybe.
Anyway, I was looking for something that would last several days. Usually we have a turkey breast for dinner. Then, we have turkey sandwiches. For days. It gets kinda boring. So, in my search, I found a Mexican lasagna created by Rachel Ray.
It was quick and easy. But I knew I had to make some adjustments.
I needed to make sure it was low in sodium and fat. And I needed to make sure it wasn’t too spicy. My father was born in Louisiana so he has a high heat threshold. My mother, on the other hand, can’t eat spicy foods because it irritates her throat and she ends up coughing. I’m somewhere in the middle – I like spicy but not too spicy. I like to taste flavor and that’s hard to do when your taste buds have been seared off your tongue.
What’s great about this recipe is you control the seasoning. The seasoning for the meat could easily be done with a packet of taco seasoning. But those are high in sodium. So using the chili powder and cumin adds a lot of flavor and less salt. I also add a little chipotle pepper for smokiness.
The next challenge is searching for liquid ingredients that are low in sodium. And finding flour tortillas low in both sodium and fat. There are several brands of taco sauce or diced tomatoes low in salt content. And I find tortillas that are locally made are usually fresher and lower in sodium and fat. Check your labels thoroughly.
If you are short on time and have a family to feed, this is a great recipe. Or you can also freeze half for a later use. Cook this and serve with a salad.
Casserole made with flour tortillas, ground chicken and cheese. Adapted from Rachel Ray’s Mexican Lasagna.
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chipotle pepper sauce
1 can of black beans
1 can low sodium fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn
8 flour tortillas
2 1/2 cups low sodium shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup taco sauce
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a 9 X 13 glass or ceramic casserole and spray with a non-stick spray.
- PREP WORK:
- Dice garlic. chop onion, drain black beans.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add coconut oil to the pan. Add onion and garlic to the pan. Add chicken and season with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Brown the meat, 5 minutes. Add fire roasted tomatoes. Add black beans and corn. Heat the mixture through, 2 to 3 minutes then season with salt, to your taste.
- Cut the tortillas in half or quarters to make them easy to layer with. Build lasagna in layers of meat and beans, then tortillas, then cheese. Repeat: meat, tortilla, cheese again. Bake lasagna 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. Top with the scallions and serve.
- Tip: You know when there’s a bunch of small tortilla chips at the bottom of the bag? And they are too small to dip with? Smash them up a bit and add to the top of the casserole when you take it out of the oven. It will add some crunch!