Taco Lasagna

Yes you read that right, I said Taco Lasagna. I enjoy trying to come up with new ways to present different dishes. This time I thought it would be good to make something with that Tex Mex flavor but be presented in an all in one meal like lasagna, so I combined the ingredients for tacos and came up with a fun way to put it together to mimic the looks of lasagna. Here is what you need.

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Ingredients:

2 lbs lean ground beef

18 small corn tortillas

4 fresh jalapenos (seeded and diced)

1 medium white onion (diced)

1 10 ounce can of Rotel tomatoes and green chilies

8 ounces of sharp shredded cheddar

10 ounces of part skim queso fresco (crumbled into small pieces)

1 can of low fat refried beans

8 ounces of sour cream (I used low fat)

1/2 cup Fresh cilantro (finely chopped)

1/2 cup Green onion (finely chopped)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 cup of chili powder

2 tablespoons of black pepper

1 tablespoon of kosher salt

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

Prep and cooking

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion and jalapeno until the onion starts to turn clear. Then add the garlic and ground beef. Once the beef is browned add in the can of Rotel and the spices and stir together. Now add the can of refried beans and stir all together. This will make a nice thick mixture that you will use as filling for the lasagna. Set that aside and get ready to start assembling.

Now it is time to assemble the lasagna. In a large (5 quart) baking dish thoroughly coat the bottom and sides with a non stick cooking spray. Now lay out 6 corn tortillas to cover the bottom. Spread out a layer of the meat mixture about 1/2 inch thick on top of the tortillas (you will use about half of the meat) Now add a thin coating of sour cream and then cover that with about half of the queso fresco.  Add another layer of six tortillas and repeat the layering process. After the second layer is done add the last six tortillas and then cover with any left over queso and sour cream. For the final step you will want to cover the top with the shredded cheddar and then add the diced onion and cilantro to finish it off.

Stick this in a preheated to 350 degree oven uncovered for about an hour (or until the cheese on top starts to brown slightly. All that is left to do is let t cool a bit and then cut it into nice square servings just like lasagna. It is great by itself or covered with a little salsa.

I hope you like this one. It is a fun way to put a twist on something the whole family should enjoy.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

Turkey Taco Salad

I have always laughed when people tell me that they are trying to eat healthier and are going to just get a taco salad. I have never met a taco salad that was actually healthy. It is in fact one of the least healthy menu items that you can get from a restaurant or fast food place.  Filled with refried beans, taco meat, tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese, and usually ranch dressing, these “salads” will do nothing for your waistline except stretch it.  With that being said I actually love them and think that they taste great and are almost like eating a giant taco in a bowl. It doesn’t get any better than that. I love bad food and things that are not good for you but I also enjoy trying to make things that are bad for you a little healthier. I see it as a challenge to see how much of the bad stuff I can cut while still keeping it delicious. So with that in mind I set out to bring the taco salad to my table in a healthier version. Here is how I did it.

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Ingredients

Lean Ground turkey (1 lb)

Fresh Romaine lettuce

Kraft Free shredded Cheddar

Local fresh salsa (any brand will do)

Marie’s yogurt ranch dressing

Chili powder

Granulated garlic

Black Pepper

Salt

Cooking

The only thing that needs to be cooked here is the taco meat, which can be cooked ahead of time to just reheat when needed.

In a medium sized pan, brown the ground turkey over medium high heat and break it up into small pieces as it cooks. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 teaspoons black pepper, and a pinch of salt. Since lean ground turkey does not produce much in the way of fat you will need to add in about 1/4 cup of water and stir it all around to get a little extra moisture. Now reduce to low heat and let it simmer while you get the salad part ready.

Cut up the Romaine lettuce into small pieces and put a large handful into a salad bowl.  Top with half cup to a cup of your turkey taco meat depending on how big of a meal you are in the mood for. Then add about a 1/4 cup of salad dressing, a couple big spoonfuls of salsa and then sprinkle on some of the fat free cheese. Now I know you are thinking that I forgot the chips but I did not. I chose not to use any type of tortilla chips to cut out a few of the calories and to be honest I did not miss them at all. This made a very tasty and healthier alternative to something bad that I really enjoy. I will without a doubt be adding this one to my rotation at home.

Enjoy and thanks for reading,

James

Lazy Day Recipe Help #3

I think you will find that most of my lazy day recipe help blogs will revolve around breakfast. While I do come up with on the spot things for other meals breakfast is usually the one I experiment with the most in trying to make quick and easy. Today we are all about breakfast tacos. I know some of you will read this and say “what are breakfast tacos”? This makes me sad to know that there are places in the this country that do not serve breakfast tacos. Shame, Shame, Shame. But back to it.


I woke up one morning and was having a hard time figuring out what I wanted to do for breakfast. I did not want to pick something up and I wasn’t really up for cooking and elaborate meal that morning so I opened the fridge door and stared in waiting for something to jump out at me. I had smoked a nice big brisket the weekend before and had a few pieces of that left over. I of course had eggs and I remembered that I had saved a couple of left over tortillas from dinner a couple of nights before. So with that a plan started to form in my groggy early morning brain. Brisket breakfast tacos. “mmmm good”

Tip: Always keep eggs in the fridge. They are a very versatile and easy to make.

In a medium bowl I whisked up three eggs and poured them into a hot pan to scramble. When those were done I placed a few pieces of the brisket in the same pan and let it heat up (this doesn’t take long and makes a nice crispy edge that is wonderful). I took those out and added them to the plate with the eggs and then dropped in a tortilla. I heated those one at a time (since I was using the small pan that day) and heated them until them were soft and easy to roll.

Tip: If you do not have brisket a piece of leftover steak sliced thin or even microwave bacon can be used to make an equally tasty meal.

I laid out the now warm tortillas and then placed and equal amount of egg on each one. Then I added a slice of brisket to each, but after looking at it thought to myself that something was missing. I looked in the fridge and thought for a minute…CHEESE!!! I grabbed the bag of shredded cheddar and sprinkled a little on each taco then added a few drops of hot sauce.  Now all that was left to do was fold them up and enjoy. They turned out great and only took about 15 minutes to make (I was moving slow that morning).

 

Thanks for reading

JMW

JMW’s Snack cups

Snack Cups

I hope that you are all ready because after a long pause I am back with more yummy goodness.

Today we will talk about JMW’s snack cups.

Now I can hear you all scratching your heads and saying “what are snack cups”? Well I will tell you, like I said above they are yummy goodness of pretty much anything you can think of baked inside of a flaky biscuit cup. For this round I made two different batches, BBQ and Taco. These snack cups are simple to make and can be made in large batches for a group or to be frozen and served later on. Both kids and adults can enjoy these.

First you need to decide on what flavor you have the taste for. I will start off with the BBQ ones that I made since they are my favorites.

What you need (for one batch).

1LB Ground beef

1 medium onion (diced into small cubes)

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup BBQ sauce (I use my home made sauce but just regular old Kraft BBQ sauce will work just fine).

1 tube of Pillsbury butter tasting biscuits (10 count)

1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese

1 muffin pan

non stick spray

Salt and pepper

First you will want to saute the diced onion in a medium size frying pan (on medium) until they start to turn clear, then add the ground beef and brown it (adding salt and pepper to taste). Once you have your beef browned you will stir in the brown sugar, and then add the BBQ sauce. Now stir it all together and let it simmer on low for about 10 minutes (stirring occasionally).

While that is simmering coat the muffin pan with non stick spray and then place a biscuit in each muffin slot. Most pans hold 12 but the biscuits come in packs of ten so you will have two empty slots (no big deal). Now use your put your fingers in the middle of each biscuit and start pressing outward to the wall of the pan forming a little bowl. Do this for each biscuit. Now you should have a bunch of little biscuit bowls.

Now spoon the BBQ mixture into each biscuit until the are full. Once all biscuits are full you will then cover them with cheddar cheese. I like to put a nice pile on top so that when it melts you forms a nice little cover on top.

Place the muffin pan in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake for about 12 minutes. You will know when they are done when the biscuits have risen up over the edge of the muffin slots and the edges of the cheese have started to brown.

Now remove them and let them cool.

The procedure for the Taco is pretty much the same thing with a few modifications.

What you need (for one batch).

1LB Ground beef (or ½ lb ground beef, ½ lb Mexican chorizo)

1 medium onion (diced into small cubes)

2 roma tomatoes (diced into small cubes)

2 tbsp garlic powder

4 tbsp chili powder (regular chili powder is fine)

1 tube of Pillsbury butter tasting biscuits (10 count)

1 bag of shredded colby or Mexican blend cheese.

1 muffin pan

non stick spray

Salt and pepper

First you will want to saute the diced onion in a medium size frying pan (on medium) until they start to turn clear, then add the ground beef and brown it (adding salt and pepper to taste). Once you have your beef browned you will stir in the garlic powder and chili powder. Now I use 3 different chili powders for mine, but any regular chili powder will work fine.  You may also need to add just a little water to keep it from drying out. Add the tomatoes and reduce heat to low to simmer for about 10 minutes (stirring occasionally).

While that is simmering coat the muffin pan with non stick spray and then place a biscuit in each muffin slot. Most pans hold 12 but the biscuits come in packs of ten so you will have two empty slots (no big deal). Now use your put your fingers in the middle of each biscuit and start pressing outward to the wall of the pan forming a little bowl. Do this for each biscuit. Now you should have a bunch of little biscuit bowls.

Now spoon the taco mixture into each biscuit until the are full. Once all biscuits are full you will then cover them with shredded cheese. I like to put a nice pile on top so that when it melts you forms a nice little cover on top.

Place the muffin pan in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake for about 12 minutes. You will know when they are done when the biscuits have risen up over the edge of the muffin slots and the edges of the cheese have started to brown.

Now remove them and let them cool.

See I told you it was pretty simple and the results are amazing. These are a fun to make and versatile snack that everyone will love. You can even try it with pizza topping and sauce and cover it with mozzarella cheese if you like. Comment if you come up with any out there combo that sounds good.

As always.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

Fish Tacos

If you live on either coast and like seafood then you have probably at least once tried a fish taco. They have even started popping up in some of the larger chain restaurants over the last few years and seem to be growing in popularity all over. For the most part every one is prepared the same way with only a few subtle changes made. Some may be fried fillets of fish while others are grilled and almost all have some sort of slaw and a creamy sauce on top and are served on either a corn or flour tortilla. While I enjoy these very much I also like to come up with new ideas and new ways to to look at classic food items, so I set forth and came up with my own unique take on the fish taco. Here is what you need.

 

Ingredients

Two or three large tilapia fillets

1 medium white onion (chopped into medium sized pieces)

2 large jalapeno peppers (seeded and chopped into medium size pieces)

1 large poblano pepper (seeded and chopped into medium size pieces)

1 clove garlic (finely chopped)

1 lime

½ tablespoon course sea salt

½ tablespoon black pepper

2 tablespoons chilli powder

olive oil

½ cup Cilantro (finely chopped)

Corn or flour tortillas

 

In a large non stick skillet heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat and add onions, garlic and peppers. You will want to cook the onions, garlic and peppers until they start to caramelize. The secret is to get them just to the point of getting the dark crisp edges and then reduce the heat to medium. With a spatula move them to the edges of the pan and add two more tablespoons of olive oil. Now place the tilapia fillets in the pan and let them seer on one side for several minutes. Salt and pepper the filets as they cook. When the fillets have turned white a little over half way through turn them over and repeat on the other side. Salt and pepper the other side. If a filet starts to fall apart do not worry as you will be breaking them up in a few minutes anyway. Once you have seared both sides use your spatula and start breaking up the filets into smaller pieces and mix with the peppers and onions. Now add the cilantro and chili powder and mix throughout the pan. Once everything has started taking on the color of the chili powder remove the pan from the heat and squeeze in the lime juice. Give the mixture one final stir to get the lime flavor spread around.

 

If you are using flour tortillas you will want to take a hand full and heat them in the microwave for about 20 seconds before serving. If you are using corn tortillas you can heat another skillet and heat the corn tortillas in a single layer (both sides until they start to loosen up).

 

Now you are ready to assemble. Just take a big scoop of your taco mixture and place it in the center of the tortilla and fold it over. You can add some fat free cheddar or some pico or salsa if you like but to be honest it doesn’t need it. Every now and then I will add a few dashes of hot sauce such as Cholula or Tapatio to spice it up but these tacos really stand on their own.

 

As always,

Thanks for reading

JMW