Tex-Mex Lasagna – OAMC

Tex Mex Casserole

I know - it's a terrible picture.

But this Tex-Mex Lasagna is so good it's the only one I could get before the whole thing disappeared!

I found this recipe when I was searching on Recipezaar one day for OAMC recipes, and I'm so glad I printed it out.  I made a single recipe of it the first time to test out, but next time I'll definitely be doubling it.  We don't generally eat a lot of casseroles and it's a little more processed than we usually eat… but for a once-in-a-while meal, I'm okay with it. 

It's just too good not to enjoy!

Tex-Mex Lasagna
Serves 4-6

1 dozen corn tortillas, cut into 1" strips
1 lb. ground beef (turkey or chicken would be fine too)
garlic powder, chili powder and cumin – to taste (or packaged taco seasoning)
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 can ranch style beans (or 2 c. kidney beans)
8 oz. shredded colby-jack or cheddar cheese
1 can Cream of Chicken soup (I only used half)
1/2 c. sour cream
2 oz. diced green chilis (I like Ortega)

  • Brown beef/turkey in skillet until no longer pink. Add taco seasonings – I like about 2 t. of chili powder, 1 t. of cumin and a teaspoon or so of powdered garlic, along with salt and pepper.
  • In separate bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, green chilies and sour cream.
  • Cover the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish with enough tortillas to completely cover.
  • Layer taco meat, beans and half of the shredded cheese.
  •  Follow with another layer of tortillas, again making sure to completely cover lower layer.
  • Cover second layer of tortillas with soup and sour cream mixture, then Ro-Tel tomatoes, then the rest of the shredded cheese.
  • Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes until cheese is melted and starting to brown.

This freezes great – I just added a little extra time for baking and it was perfect.  And honestly, I think you could probably leave the meat out and not really miss it – just add the taco seasoning spices to the sour cream and Cream of Chicken soup mixture or the beans.  I might just have to try that next time!

This recipe linked to:
Life As Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap
The Grocery Cart Challenge
Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday

 

Breakfast Muffins

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 This is one of those recipes that I wish I could take credit for, but I can't.  It's just Heavenly Homemakers Breakfast Cake in muffin form.  They are filling, freeze really well, taste great and have no refined sugars or flours in them (unless you put in chocolate chips). 

I've been making them for my baking days for the last 4 months, and they're always the first thing we run out of!  The first time I made them, I  did them in a pan…which was fine, but cupcakes seem to work better for freezing. 

Breakfast Muffins
makes about 24 regular sized muffins

1 cup butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup buttermilk (or do the old soured milk with vinegar trick)
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups whole rolled oats
¾ cup honey
2 eggs
1 t. sea salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
1 cup raisins, chocolate chips or other dried fruit

  • Stir together butter, buttermilk, flour and oats in a glass bowl. Cover with a cloth and allow the grains to soak on your counter overnight or for at least 8 hours.
  • Prehead oven to 350.
  • Stir in honey, eggs, salt, baking soda and vanilla to soaked grains.
  • Fold in raisins, chocolate chips or dried fruit.
  • Scoop into prepared muffin tins (about 3/4 full) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes (until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean).
  • If freezing, allow to cool completely before bagging and freezing.

Notes:

  • This is a soaked recipe (as in, you soak the first 4 ingredients overnight), but I've done it without soaking and they come out just fine.   Why soak?   It seems to help with digestion.  From personal experience, I can say that I don't have the headaches or other issues I tend to have with wheat when it's been soaked or fermented (as in sourdough).
  • You can also bake this in an 8×8 or 9×9" pan – just bake it for 40 to 50 minutes.
  • It seems like a lot of butter.  I know.  I'm not really afraid of it, and certainly far less worried about butter than margerines or other fake spreads.  Butter is real food.  I don't eat it all the time, and not lots of it when I do, but it's okay.  In the long run, I really believe it will do far less damage to your body than any of that stuff in the tub.  In fact, I've been eating full fat dairy and everything else for the past 6 months and my cholesterol has gone down over 25 points.  

*almost done*

Baking day is almost done.  I've got a few more things cooling completely and a pork roast in the slow cooker that I'm going to let cook a bit longer before I shred it.

Other than that?

Done!

Even better than being done?

Tom is cleaning the kitchen =)

This is a little bit bigger list than usual – I'm hoping it lasts until we leave for our trip to California next month and I'm also hoping there's something still in the freezer for Tom (he comes home a few weeks before we do).

Here's what I did:

  • Beans (kidney and pinto) – 5 bags, 2 c. each
  • Brown rice – 6 bags, 4-5 c. each
  • Breakfast cake muffins – 7 bags of 5, 2 small loaves
  • Blueberry muffins – 5 bags of 5
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough – enough for 5 desserts
  • Waffle mix – 5 bags
  • Flour tortillas – 2 dozen and a few extras
  • Corn tortillas – 3 dozen
  • Sandwich rolls – 13
  • Chicken stock – 4 jars of 3.5 c. each
  • Chicken taquitos – about 1 meal
  • Chicken cacciatore – 2 meals
  • Chicken chili verde – 1 meal with leftovers
  • Tex Mex lasagna – in the oven for supper
  • South Carolina BBQ pork for sliders – at least 2 meals

And prepped meats for:

  • Fajitas
  • Teriyaki chicken
  • Rotisserie seasoned chicken breasts
  • Burgers

A few pictures:

 IMG_2946 
Waffle mix.  Next time, I'm going to do the labels for all of the "regulars" on the computer with any other needed ingredients or instructions.

 IMG_2949 
Breakfast muffins – love these!  No refined sugar or flour (except what's in the chocolate chips).  I'll share the recipe later this week.

IMG_2951 

Tex-Mex Lasagna.  In the oven right now =)

If we like it, I'll be sure to share the recipe soon.

Edited: Oh my heck, it's awesome!  I'll definitely get this one up this week!

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My made-up Easy Chicken Cacciatore (before I added the chicken).  It's probably not very authentic, but Tom took one taste and wanted to eat it as soup (I'm glad I wrote down what I was doing!).  All I have to do to serve is defrost, heat, put it on top of pasta or brown rice and sprinkle a little parmesean.   On my list to share soon!

IMG_2963 

Flour tortillas.  I think we finally mastered these!  Tom, Caleb and I all worked on them.  I also made a few dozen corn for me.

My freezer is actually almost full, and I've got a bunch of new recipes to share – I'd call that a totally successful baking day!

Baking Day Plans

Retro-freezer2

 Time to fill the freezer again!  I'm going to try to do a little bit extra this month since we'll be heading out to California at the end of June.  Tom will be home a bit before the kids and I are, so I want to have a few things in the freezer to make it easier on him.  I've also got a few more actual meals I want to try this time.

Here's the list of regulars:

  • Beans (maybe pintos and kidney)
  • Brown Rice (I really should do a little tutorial on this – brown rice in the freezer is one of my biggest time/meal savers)
  • Breakfast Cake (double batch)
  • Blueberry Muffins
  • Banana Nut Muffins
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • Waffle Mix
  • Teriyaki Chicken (I use an Iron Chef marinade we found at BJ's for this.  It's not too high in sugar or fake ingredients, but once it's gone I'm going to try making my own)
  • Fajita Steak
  • Tuscan Lemon Chicken
  • Tortillas (flour and corn)
  • Chicken Stock (overnight in the crock pot – that worked great last month!)
  • Sandwich Rolls

 And my test recipes (which I will of course share if we like them):

  • Pizza rolls (kind of like cinnamon rolls, but with marinara, mozzarella and a bit of chopped pepperoni – this is sort of a crazy idea I had the other day and I want to see how it works)
  • Chicken Cacciatore Penne
  • Chili Verde
  • Tex Mex Lasagna
  • Southwest Roll-Ups
  • South Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork
  • Giada's Marinara 

I think it's definitely going to be a two day endeavor this month!
 

The Baking Day Regulars (with recipe links!)

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Today was my fourth round of baking days (although that picture was from my first a few months ago).  It's definitely getting easier – I seem to have found a flow and a rhythm that works really well for me.  Rather than shopping this morning like I normally do on a baking day, we were able to get it all done yesterday which worked out sooo great.  I was able to get beans, rice and muffins soaking overnight and threw a chicken in the crockpot to make stock… which saved me tons of time today and made it possible to get it all done in one day. 

I'm also finding that there are a few things that I do every month and for my own sanity, I'm listing them here with recipe links.  A few recipes are ones that I've been adapting, but haven't shared yet.  I'll try to get them up as soon as I can.

  • Brown rice (cooked, cooled and portioned into freezer bags – it freezes great!)
  • Black beans (same as above, except I just realized I didn't portion and freeze yet)
  • Tuscan Lemon Chicken (someday I'll try the Herbs de Provence one, but this one is sooo good)
  • Pork Chops (basic – olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic…sometimes I add a little lemon)
  • Fajita Steak (a long time favorite of ours)
  • Orange Beef and Broccoli (not well planned on my part.  The goal was to get the meat cut and bagged, and then to also get the marinade made and frozen but I didn't have all of the ingredients.  Next time!)
  • Chicken stock and cooked chicken
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (made with whole wheat flour and coconut oil so they're a bit more nourishing)
  • Breakfast Cake (in muffin form)
  • Blueberry Muffins (I'll try to get these shared soon)
  • Apple Walnut Muffins (a new recipe that was awesome with my experimentation)
  • Waffle Mix (all but the wet ingredients, which are written on the bags)
  • Tortillas (another one I need to share)
  • Sandwich Rolls (trying to get a little photo tutorial done on these one of these days!)

I put most things in freezer bags, portioned out for one dinner for our family of 4 and sometimes add in a bit extra for planned leftovers or lunches later on.  The key to success for me has been making sure I jot down every single bag in my Homemaking Binder.  It's also helpful to have a weekly meal plan, and to keep it posted somewhere I see all the time.  Knowing what we're having over the next few days makes it easier to make sure I have dinner components pulled out in advance to thaw in the fridge.

When I look at the list like that, it really doesn't seem like I did all that much.  There aren't any complete meals, but they are more than enough to give me a big head start!

Baking Day 2 Plans

Last month's baking day was  a huge success.  There are still a few things in the freezer (mostly marinated or prepared meats), we had baked goods to last us through the entire month and meal planning was so much simpler!  I'm planning on

I'm getting ready to do it again this weekend, and here are my plans:

  • Blueberry muffins
  • Banana or pumpkin muffins (adapted with whole wheat, spelt or brown rice flour)
  • Breakfast cake (a total hit from last time, but I'm going to try making these as muffins this time)
  • Homemade almond milk (a test recipe, not a bulk one)
  • Sandwich rolls
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough  (this was a huge hit – and there were just enough dough balls for fresh from the oven chocolate chip cookies once a week)
  • Marinated chicken (maybe these)
  • Marinated pork chops (some with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and others with fresh squeezed orange juice added to the mix)
  • Marinated steak fajitas
  • Chicken stock
  • 4 dozen tortillas made and cooked  (testing out a new recipe from Rick Bayless, which has been saved on our DVR for the last 3 weeks – I'll share if we like it better than our current one)
  • Brown rice
  • Beans
  • A  few thoughts:

    • meal components and baked goods definitely work better for us than actualy frozen meals.  The more complete a dish has been, the less likely we've been to eat it.
    • marinating meat as it comes home from the grocery store = brilliant!  I just pull it out of the freezer a day or two before it's on our menu…all I have to do after that is cook it.
    • I spent a little under $500 on all groceries and toiletries last month for our family of 4.  It should have been just enough to feed us, but we ended up eating out more than usual due to stresses and the tax return.  This month will be a lot tighter, and I'm adding in my first raw milk and some pastured meats.  That eating out has to stop!

    Retro-freezer2

    One of my goals for the last few years has been to start some sort of a monthly baking/fill the freezer day.  We do the majority of our shopping (meat, dairy, baking supplies, frozen foods) on one Friday of the month, and it just seems like it would make sense to spend a day getting things prepped for the rest of the month.  Now that I'm having to make almost everything from scratch due to dietary restrictions, it seems even more sensible. 

    I have to be honest…it also appeals to my more frugal side.  Why pay $2 plus for a box of 40 frozen mini pancakes when I can make hundreds for the same price at home and freeze them myself?  And it seems silly to pay $3.29 for a package of 8 of the sandwich rolls the kids like at Publix when for the same price, I can make 3 dozen.

    The one thing that has held me back?

    We have a side by side refrigerator freezer that has almost no freezer space.   If I'm super creative and play Tetris with frozen meat and fruit, it can hold exactly what I buy during my big shopping trip, but doesn't leave me any room for any baked goods or even good buys.

    My mom, understanding my obsessive need to be organized and save money, has tried to give us a freezer for the last few Christmases by giving us the money to buy it ourselves.  And every year she's done that, we've had some huge December crisis or unexpected bill and haven't gotten that freezer.  This year, she decided to just order the freezer and have it delivered (thank you again, Mom!).  Within the next week, I should finally have that freezer happily chilling away in my garage.

    Which is perfect timing for this: February Freezer Cooking Day (on Facebook).  My freezer will be here and it just so happens to coincide with my big shopping trip day.  I think my plans might be a little bit optimistic, but I've already warned Tom and the kids that they're helping.  We're even going to make it a Home Ec school day. 

    I'm pretty sure there's no way I can do this all in one day, so I'm working on spreading it out over two.

    Friday:

    • Big monthly shopping trip – BJ's, Publix
    • Put taco roast in crock pot (will share recipe soon)
    • Start chicken stock on the stove
    • Make large batch of brown rice
    • Cook beans
    • Make tortillas using the electric griddle(several dozen whole wheat and 1 or 2 dozen small flour)
    • Make mini pancakes on the electric griddle and freeze
    • Marinate chicken, pork chops, steaks before freezing in family sized portions
    • Prep often used spice mixtures (crockpot chicken seasonings and ranch dressing mix) and store in jars
    • Remove taco roast and shred, put in freezer bags and freeze
    • Remove chicken from stock, place in bowl and refrigerate
    • Strain stock and place in large jars to refrigerate over night

    Saturday:

    • Make, bake and freeze - 
      • blueberry muffins
      • pumpkin or banana bread
      • sandwich rolls
      • several loaves of bread and only bake those partially
    • Shred chicken – freeze some
    • Prep and freeze burritos using tortillas, brown rice, beans and shredded chicken
    • Double batch of enchilada sauce
    • De-fat chicken stock and freeze in 4 c. portions
    • Make a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough and freeze in scoops

    And maybe:

    • Large batch of applesauce
    • A lasagna or two to freeze
    • Enchiladas
    • Homemade chicken strips
    • and if I get really crazy, yogurt

    I know it seems like a lot of random stuff, but it would give me key parts of many of our favorite breakfasts, lunches and dinners.  Knocking out a lot of this prep work on things I know we love and eat regularly will save me so much time over the month.   I also know that having a lasagna or enchiladas or even some shredded beef stashed away keeps us from eating out when we're tired, sick or feeling lazy.

    My ultimate goal?  To make this a monthly habit, but I think I'll see how I do with this first one before I commit myself to anything too big!