Tex-Mex Lasagna

Lasagna is one of my absolute favorite dishes. I love the simple sheets of pasta, the tomato sauce, the risotto cheese, the hamburger meat, and whatever cheese I decide to throw on top (usually a blend of mozzarella and mild cheddar). But the recipe I want to share with you today isn’t traditional lasagna. There isn’t even any pasta in it.

I use the term extremely loosely, considering that it normally refers to the dish I related above. It means “cooking pot” in Greek, so technically it could be any dish at all.

The story behind my Tex-Mex Lasagna comes in from the days my brother would bring home enchiladas from his friend’s house. I LOVE enchiladas, especially the ones made from a Mexican mother’s hands. She gave me the recipe, but I always found it really hard to roll the enchiladas. It was really time-consuming.

So I started trying to figure out a way to make the enchiladas without having to roll them. I finally figured out a way to do so by layering the tortillas, meat, sauce, and cheese (veggies optional), rather than rolling the meat and cheese inside of the enchilada.

Now, the reason I didn’t call them enchiladas: The word itself means a rolled tortilla with meat inside. Hence, Tex-Mex Lasagna. I will forewarn you that I tend to eyeball a lot of stuff, particularly my spices and cheese. When I make this, I use anywhere from 2 cups of cheese to 6 cups; sometimes I only need one can/jar of enchilada sauce, sometimes I need three. It’s all about taste and the size the pan and how many people I’m going to end up feeding. With that said…

The recipe is fairly simple:

3 teaspoons oil, separated (canola or corn works best)

1 pound hamburger meat

2 cans/jars of enchilada sauce

Appr. 50 corn tortillas

2-6 cups of Mexican-style cheese

Spices: Chile powder, black pepper, basil, oregano, garlic powder, chives, all to taste.

Optional:

1 onion, chopped

3-4 green onions, chopped

1 bell pepper (red, green, yellow, orange?)

Use any other peppers you like, to taste. I cook for a family without a spicy appetite, so I leave out these.

Fry the onion and bell pepper in one teaspoon oil till the onions are translucent, then add hamburger meat. Cook through. Add spices in the meat. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the remaining oil in the bottom of a 13×9 pan, followed by a little enchilada sauce. Put in 9-12 tortillas, just to cover (it’s okay if there are holes). Drain the meat, then spoon some on top of the tortillas.

Put more tortillas on top and enchilada sauce on top of those, just to cover. I put cheese on top every layer, but you don’t have to. Repeat this layer until you come to the top of the pan. The last layer should cover any remaining meat mixture, followed by sauce, and then cheese.

Place in the oven until the cheese melts (20-45min). Put green onions on top and bake for another five minutes. Pull it out, cut it up, and it’s ready for noms! =D

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