20120907

SMOKIN' GOOD MEXICAN LASAGNA with HOMEMADE ENCHILADA SAUCE

 
I had a huge bag of tortilla chips that were going stale and I hate to waste food so I decided I would use them in a Mexican Lasagna Recipe.  Normally I use regular corn tortillas as the "noodles" for the lasagna but hey, tortilla chips are tortillas just crispier and salted, right?  Feel free to use regular tortillas as your noodles if you choose!
 
 I didn't have any canned enchilada sauce though and I almost abandoned this whole idea until it dawned on me I might be able to make my own!  So I Googled for some Enchilada Sauce Recipes and went from there.  I rarely use a recipe as is, I am always putting my own little twist to it.  In the case of my Smokin' Sweet Enchilada Sauce I changed up the spices (a lot!) and added some agave syrup.  I never make marinara sauce or any tomato sauce without added a little bit of sugar or sweetness of some kind to balance the acid in the tomatoes so here I used agave syrup!  BTW, you can make enchilada sauce without any tomatoes or tomato sauce at all but I like the added body it lends to the finished sauce.

I also added Italian Sausage instead of just using ground sirloin/hamburger because I love that in this recipe for the best Taco Salad ever!

Smokin' Good Mexican Lasagna

1 Large Bag of Corn Tortilla Chips*
1 Lb. Sweet Italian Sausage
1/2 Lb. 80% or higher Hamburger/Ground Sirloin
1 Can of Black Beans
1 Medium Onion, Diced
2 Anaheim Chilies, Spit and Seeded, Roasted, Diced
1 Pint Low Fat Cottage Cheese (or Ricotta!)
8 Oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
8 Slices Smoked Gouda Cheese
Smokin' Enchilada Sauce*

TOOLS: Large Non-Stick Saute Pan, Baking Sheet, Measuring Spoons, Large Baking Dish

CREATE YOUR SMOKIN' GOOD MEXICAN LASAGNA 

Here's exactly the steps I took in order to create my Smokin' Good Mexican Lasagna:
  • Grease your Baking Dish and set aside.
  • Split and seed the Anaheim Chilies then place them in the oven on a baking sheet at 450° to roast while you prepare the Smokin' Sweet Enchilada Sauce - Recipe Below* and cook your meats.
  • Put the hamburger (sirloin) and the Italian Sausage into a very large non-stick skillet.  Brown to get a nice bit of caramelization on the meat then reduce heat and cook through. You don't need to add any oils here as the meats will produce their own fat.
  • Remove the cooked meat and set aside in the fridge, leaving the drippings in the pan.
  • Add your diced onion and sweat down in the savory fat from the meats, then scoop out the onions and set those aside with the meat.
YOUR SMOKIN' ENCHILADA SAUCE IS READY, RIGHT?
  • Pour a third of the sauce into the greased baking dish.
  • Crush your bag of tortilla chips into fairly large chunks and layer half of the bag on top of the first sauce layer.
  • Then LAYER in half the cooked meats, black beans and onions.
  • Then all the cottage cheese (or ricotta) and all the Anaheim Chilies.
  • Then another third of the sauce.
  • Then layer on the slices of smoked Gouda.
  • Then the rest of the crushed chips.
  • The rest of the meats, beans and onions go next.
  • Then the whole package of shredded cheddar.
  • Top the whole thing off with the remainder of the enchilada sauce and set in the refrigerator to "marinate" and to allow sauce to soak in.
Bake at 350° for an hour and serve with a nice green salad and some of my Tangerine Salsa or Pico de Gallo, Avocado, Sour Cream and bowls of additional toppings like chopped Jalapenos, Sliced Olives, Extra Shredded Cheese and whatever else you can think of to dress it up.
 
 
*Smokin' Sweet Enchilada Sauce

2 - 14 Oz. Cans Tomato Sauce
2 Cans Water
6 Tbsp. Chili Powder
2 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika
2 Tsp. Garlic Powder
2 Tsp. Onion Powder
2 Tsp. Cumin
1 Tsp. Marjoram
1 Tsp Coriander
4 Tbsp. Flour
2 Tsp. Sea Salt
Black Pepper to Taste
2 Tbsp. Agave Syrup
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil*
 
 MAKE THE SMOKIN' SWEET ENCHILADA SAUCE 
  • by adding the 4 tablespoons of flour to the meat drippings in the skillet. *I added only 1 extra tablespoon of olive oil here because the drippings were about a tablespoon of fat. Blend the flour into the oils until smooth.
  • Add in all your spices and blend into the roue of flour/fat.
  • Add in your can of tomato sauce, stir in.
  • Fill tomato can with water and stir that in.
  • Heat this together over a medium heat until all is well blended and smooth.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes on lo, stirring occasionally.
Your Anaheim chilies should be nicely roasted by now with a nice bit of char on them so remove from the oven and chop in to chunks about 1/4" in size. (I tossed mine into a Bullet blender and gave them a couple of pulses, shaking in between each pulse)

VIVA EL CASSEROLE!


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