Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mexican Lasagna

... "I had to take Wally and Eva to the our vet a couple of weeks ago. Maria Pirita, one of the employees, saw my Mexican Lasagna that I made. She was telling me how I can change up my lasagna to make it more delicious and full of Mexican flavor. Her mom made something called 'Pastel Azteca.' I asked Maria to join me in the kitchen and this is what we decided to make ...

Mexican Lasagna


12 Dreamfields Lasagna noodles
1/4 pound raw chorizo sausage
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 large (8 ounces) Spanish onion, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 large cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin (preferably freshly ground from cumin seeds)
2 teaspoons ground coriander (preferably freshly ground from coriander seeds)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups unsalted fat-free chicken broth
2 pounds ground pork (85% lean)
8 scallions, sliced (separate white and green portions), divided
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, divided
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 cups freshly shredded Chihuahua cheese
6 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (3 cups)
1/2 cup freshly grated queso Cojtia
2 large (about 4 ounces each) tomatoes, cored and chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions.

3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add chorizo; cook and stir 1 minute or until it begins to render fat; set aside.

4. Toast chilies in a large skillet over medium heat, shaking pan constantly, 3 to 7 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer toasted chilies into blender container.

5. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil in large Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion; cook 8 to 10 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin and coriander; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant, stirring frequently.

6. Sprinkle in flour; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until flour is blended into the onion mixture. Slowly add broth, stirring constantly and scraping any browned bits from bottom of Dutch oven. Continue cooking until sauce is slightly thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

7. Add sauce to blender with chilies and process until smooth, about 30 to 40 seconds. Return sauce to Dutch oven. Add pork, breaking up with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cover; cook pork in sauce over medium to medium-high heat until fully cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in scallion whites, 1/2 cup of the cilantro, and the lime juice. Set aside.

8. Combine Chihuahua cheese and queso fresco in large bowl; set aside.

9. Spread about 1/2 cup of sauce over bottom of 9x13-inch baking dish. Layer 4 lasagna noodles, 3/4 cup of sauce, 1/2 cup cheese mixture. Repeat with 4 more lasagna noodles, 3/4 cup sauce, 1 cup cheese mixture. Top with remaining 4 lasagna noodles, remaining sauce, chorizo, and remaining cheese mixture.

10. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil; bake 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove aluminum foil; sprinkle with cojita cheese; bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Let lasagna stand about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with tomatoes, scallion greens and remaining cilantro.

Makes 10 servings.

Nutrition information (1/10 of recipe): 580 calories; 34 g protein; 37 g carbohydrates; 34 g total fat; 13 g saturated fat; 105 mg cholesterol; 590 mg sodium; 6 g total dietary fiber


While we were making this, I felt like I was an 'abuela' (grandmother) in my kitchen. The smell of chorizo cooking and the smell of roasted ancho chilies filled the house up. All we needed was some margaritas and some mariachi music to make this meal complete! The funny thing is that James was surprised that Maria was cooking my kitchen - I never let anyone in my kitchen when I'm cooking ... I told him, '[i]f you knew how to cook, I would let you help, but, I would rather feed you anyway." /hands a generous serving of Mexican Lasagna to James and watches him do a fail attempt at the Mexican Jumping Bean dance ...


Want to win some of your very own Dreamfield’s Pasta? Here’s how ... courtesy of Dreamfields Pasta!

A family prize pack of Dreamfields Pasta PLUS a $25 gift card to spend as you choose!

Leave a comment below letting me know what’s the first dish you’ll be making using ‪#‎Dreamfields‬ Pasta. That’s it!

For additional entries, share this post on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest using the hashtag ‪#‎HealthyPastaMonth‬. Then, leave me a comment BELOW letting me know you did.

The contest is open to those 18 years of age or older and that have a valid continental USA mailing address. No purchase necessary. Odds of winning depend on the number of entries. One winner will be randomly chosen on November 7, 2015 and notified via e-mail. The winner has 48 hours to reply or they forfeit prize and an alternate winner will be drawn.
¡Buena suerte!


Sunday, October 11, 2015

One-Pan Roast Chicken and Potatoes.

... "This week has been crazy. I had a crappy week at work and my car died in the middle of the Express Lanes during the middle of Chicago's rush hour traffic - which eventually was a total loss. All weekend long - I have been doing car research and clearing my head of all the stress that I've endured. James insisted that we should have went out for dinner tonight, but cooking cleared my mind and I felt a sense of accomplishment when I presented ...

One-Pan Roast Chicken and Potatoes: OO. Thyme. Smoked Paprika. Lemon Zest. Lemon Wedges. S & P. Whole Chicken. Yukon Gold Potatoes.

I wanted to make something simple with minimal mise en place and cleanup - not to mention something elegant for a Sunday night dinner. I don't know what it is when I cook - but I feel so stress-free and the weight of the world has fallen off my shoulders. My moment of zen has come and passed. Now, I have to get back to the 'real world,' but I don't want to. Who really does though?" /takes a deep breath and savors every juicy delicious bite ...