Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Zingy Lasagna

Okay, this “Mexican” lasagna has got to the be the easiest lasagna I have ever made! The noodles did not need to pre-boil, there is no cheese filling, no saute-ing onions, nor endless layering upon layering. And actually, my kitchen didn’t get too thrashed during the cooking process- you know what I mean, tons of pots, pans and dishes scattered throughout.....Nope, it was easy-peasy! Please don’t confuse easy, however, with bland or simple tasting....no, no, no!! This was full of flavor, very hearty and satisfying! A great alternative to your run-of-the-mill lasagna!! Please make note that it requires at good 90 minutes to cook and 10 - 15 minutes to set up....so, plan accordingly!!

Thank you to my friend, Gina, who recently gave me a copy of the cookbook, A Thyme to Celebrate, from whence this recipe comes! I can’t wait to try more dishes from this book!

3 Tbl extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound lean ground beef
2  15oz cans of refried beans
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp garlic powder
12 uncooked lasagna noodles (do NOT use the “no boil” kind)
2 1/2 cups salsa
2 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 6 oz can of sliced black olives
2 cups sour cream
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350F

Heat 2 Tbl olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef, cook for 5 minutes or until brown, stirring until crumbly (I really work the meat so it’s very finely crumbled). Drain fat, if any. Add the beans, oregano, cumin and garlic powder. Mix well. Simply soak the lasagna noodles in room temperature water in a large soup pot for 5 minutes.

Coat a 9X13 inch baking dish with 1 Tbl olive oil. Layer 1/3 of the lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread one half of the ground beef mixture over the noodles. Add another 1/3 of the noodles, then add remaining half of the ground beef mixture. Top with the remaining noodles.

Combine salsa and water. Pour over the top of the layers. Okay, one thing to mention- the lasagna is going to look like watery soup at this point!!! Don’t panic! I admit it, I did a little. But, don’t fret because the water will cook all those uncooked noodles while it bakes. When you take the foil off after it’s finished, I promise you will be happy with what you see!! Okay, back to the recipe.....bake, COVERED with foil, for 90 minutes.

Mix the green onions, olives, sour cream and shredded Monterey Jack in a bowl. When the lasagna has finished cooking, remove it from the oven and carefully uncover. Evenly spread the sour cream mixture on top. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for another 5 minutes. Let the lasagna set-up for AT LEAST 10 minutes before cutting into it! I like to let it sit for 15 minutes- this gives me a nice clean slice of lasagna and not a sloppy floppy mess of noodles and meat on a plate!  Serve with additional salsa, chips and guacamole! Enjoy

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