A Mexican Twist on Lasagna

The other day I asked Jason what he would like for dinner, because I was out of ideas at the time. He said lasagna and then it came to me; make a lasagna with Mexican-based ingredients. Jason sounded a little skeptical, but went with it, like he usually does. The result – AMAZING! Jason finished off 4 slices easily and wanted t more…he decided to stop since he knew we had delicious chocolate candies from my parents that we would have later for dessert.

This is slightly different than lasagna because it has minimal cheese. Jason and I don’t like ricotta and I didn’t feel like grating cheese when I prepared this in the morning. The only cheese is on the top, but it still tastes great!

Mexican Lasagna
Ingredients
-8 to 10 whole wheat lasagna noodles (depending on your pan size – you will need enough to make 2 layers)
-20 oz container of ground turkey
-1 large onion
-1 can black beans (if fresh, make sure they are soaked, rinsed, and boiled already)
-1 cup of frozen corn
-Jar of spaghetti sauce
-Jar of Salsa
-Mozzarella cheese
-Mild cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. In a large pot, bring about 10-12 cups of salted* water to a boil (if you cover the pot it will boil faster since less heat is escaping). Place 3-4 lasagna noodles in the pot and boil for 4-6 minutes, or until slightly soft. Remove from the pot and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Watch out…they are VERY hot! Place on a dish towel to cool. Repeat the process.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the ground turkey. Once fully cooked, add the onion. Since ground turkey is lean and there is little fat that come off of it, I like to just cook the onion in the fat that is there instead of going through the extra steps just to swap out a few grams of saturated fat for unsaturated fat (normally you would need to drain and rinse the meat, set in a separate bowl, wipe out the pan, add oil, heat oil, and then add the onion – this saves me 5 minutes!). Cook the onion for 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Leave the skillet on the burner. Add the frozen corn (still frozen). The heat from the pan will thaw the corn. Once thawed. Add the black beans.
  3. Spray a 13 X 9″ baking pan. Add one layer of noodles to cover the bottom. Top with half of the meat and vegetable mixture. In a back-and-forth motion, top with about 1/3 cup of spaghetti sauce and 1/3 cup of salsa. I didn’t measure when I did, so add as much as you think is needed. Top with the rest of the noodles. Top those with the rest of the meat and vegetable mixture. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce and work into the meat mixture using a spatula or spoon.
  4. At this point you have two options: you can place the lasagna in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before you bake it, or you can bake it right away.
  5. Once you are ready to bake, heat the oven to 400F. Don’t add the cheese yet!
  6. Bake for 30 minutes in the center rack.
  7. Remove from the oven and top the lasagna with your choice of cheese. We used about 1/3 of a block of mozzarella and 1/3 of a block of mild cheddar.
  8. Place back in the oven on the center rack and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

*salted water – many people say that you salt water to make it boil faster. This is incorrect. When you add salt to water it raises the boiling point, so the water will take longer to boil, but will boil at a temperature higher than normal. In turn, this makes your food cook faster. Think about this – this is why they use salt on ice outside; it 

lowers the freezing point, causing the ice to melt at 32F and below!

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