Saturday, November 13, 2010

Recipe of the "Week"

When asked what my favorite type of food is, I answer by ethnicity - Mexican, Italian, American home cooking. I've shared recipes for at least one Italian dish & lots of American home cooking, but to my recollection, I've not shared any Mexican. It is well known by all who know me that I find the Mexican restaurants here to be severely lacking. It's not really their fault; I'm a Tex-Mex girl because of where I grew up, & the food here is authentic Mexican. What you like is really affected by your upbringing because everyone here (Michael included) simply raves over the Mexican fare available. Having sampled my fair share of it, I can state unequivocally that I am not a fan of authentic Mexican food. I find it to be rather bland & I can't stand that white cheese! Plus, they looked at me like I was madder than the Mad Hatter for asking for tortillas & butter before the meal. Hello?! Other than chips & salsa, this is a normal Mexican appetizer where I come from. So, all that is to say that if you're looking for authenticity in Mexican cuisine, you'd better look elsewhere. We're Tex-Mex all the way here at the Bungalow.  Or, at least, half of us are.

Mexican Lasagna


-1 large package corn tortillas
-1 - 2 lb. ground beef
-taco seasoning
-2 cans enchilada sauce (I use Old El Paso)
-2 cans refried beans
-Spanish rice (packaged or homemade; homemade recipe following)
-shredded cheddar cheese


-Cook the ground beef until it's brown & crumbly. Add in taco seasoning according to the directions on the package & cook down.

-Remove from heat & stir in enchilada sauce.

-Spray a 9"x13" baking dish with cooking spray.

-Spread about ½ c. of the meat mixture on the bottom of the dish.

-Lay out the tortillas side by side & slightly overlapping. It's been a while since I made this, so I'm not sure how many I used exactly, but I think my tortilla width was 3 & length was 4. Sorry I can't be more specific.

-Dot tortillas with large spoonfuls of refried beans (1 can) & press the beans until the tortillas are covered.

-Spread half of the Spanish rice on top of the beans.

-Top with half of the meat mixture & sprinkle liberally with cheese.

-Repeat layers.

-Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted & the juices are bubbling.

-Let it sit for about 10 minutes so it will set & not be a gloopy mess (like mine was!).

Spanish Rice
(modified from Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook - 12 ed.)


-1 medium onion, chopped
-1 clove garlic, minced (I use dry minced, ¼ tsp.)
-1 T cooking oil
-1 tsp. chili powder
-1 can Rotel
- ¾ c. uncooked rice
-1 c. water
- ¼ tsp. salt


-In a large skillet, cook onion & garlic in hot oil until tender.

-Add chili powder & cook 1 more minute.

-Stir in can of Rotel*, rice, water, & salt.

-Bring to boiling & reduce heat. Simmer ~ 20 minutes or until rice is tender & most of the liquid is absorbed.

*If you like really spicy (as in hot) foods, pour in the whole can of Rotel. This is way too much heat for me, so I do this: When opening the can, leave the lid attached by an inch or two. Leave the lid partially closed & pour the liquid into the skillet when it's called for. Add water to the can & smush the tomatoes & peppers to get more juice out of them. Partially close the lid again & pour the liquid into the skillet. Spoon out some of the tomatoes (I usually do less than half the can) into the skillet. Save the rest for another use or toss them.

Despite his undying devotion to his idea of Mexican food, Michael loved this recipe.  He told me that I could just make this exclusively from now on.  Something that sort of surprised me, because he's expressed equal rapture with my burritos, enchiladas, & creamy tacos before.  Next up, Tamale Pie!