Healthy Mexican lasagna

For easy weeknight meals, I’m a huge fan of recipes that involve opening cans, yet are healthy and tasty. This one is a nice change from heavy lasagna recipes that quite frankly are a ton of work. There’s a time and place for those, but generally not on Tuesday in our house.  This one is also easy to adjust to your palate–make it spicier (green or chipotle salsa), use different mixes of beans (black, pinto) and cheeses (Mexican blend, cheddar, colbyjack).

Mexican Lasagna

  • 1 package oven-ready lasagna noodles (4 layers of 3 noodles each)
  • 2-8 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes (I used petite diced)
  • 1 16oz jar salsa
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 cans beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 12 oz cheese
  • Cilantro, green onions

Preheat oven to 350. Coat 13×9 pan (or lasagna pan) with cooking spray. Mix together tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salsa and cumin. Put 1 cup sauce in bottom of pan. Place first layer of 3 noodles on top of sauce, followed by 1/3 of corn, bean and cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times, followed by one final layer of noodles. Top with sauce and cheese. Cover with foil. Bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven, top with cilantro and green onions.

Photo Oct 12, 5 48 49 PM

Golden end to summer

My mom (a master gardener) is the caretaker for the Runestone Museum heirloom garden in Alexandria, near our lake place. She brought home a huge bag (estimating 3lbs) of various heirloom tomatoes — small yellow, apricot gold (golf ball size) and red cherries.

This roasted tomato recipe is great for using up end of season tomatoes–the ones that might be a bit overripe or otherwise “imperfect”. Any variety works, as well as using several varieties. I decided to use it for spaghetti and meatballs and pulled the last of the basil and threw in some oregano too. The boys couldn’t believe there wasn’t any cream in the sauce, as it was so thick and luscious.

A delicious last meal to celebrate the season’s best! Thanks Mom! I imagine using this recipe this winter when the tomatoes are, well, “meh” and I need to be reminded why I live here.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

  • 3 lbs tomatoes, cut to consistent size (I left the small yellows whole, halved the grape/cherry size and cut the golf ball size apricot ones into quarters)
  • 1 onion quartered
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper

Toss tomatoes and onion in olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 for 30 min until juices burst and edges are singed. Puree.

I could have used this as is, but added a few basil and oregano leaves and some chopped garlic, sauteed in olive oil.


Eat your spinach! (and other green stuff)

Honestly, it takes some effort to try some of these CSA vegetables, especially the bitter greens. If they didn’t arrive each week in a box that I’d already paid for, I might be tempted to never try kale, swiss chard, escarole, mustard greens or turnip greens.

But, they do, so here we are 🙂

This pasta with sausage and escarole featured in our CSA newsletter went over well with the boys! I was surprised that the escarole held up well when cooked–not bitter, just enough tang to give the pasta some crunch and a bright pop of green. A definite make again.

I also have a basic vegetable soup recipe that is my personal favorite because it’s quick and super low fat. Admittedly, I am probably the only one in the house that loves it, but it’s a great way to use miscellaneous vegetables anytime of year. This week, I threw in the swiss chard, turnips and carrots. The secret ingredient is anchovy paste, which gives the vegetable stock an umami depth of flavor (This is why I like it, but younger palates might not — skip it for picky eaters). Photo Jul 07, 1 12 16 PM

Umami vegetable soup

8cups stock (vegetable or chicken)

3 tbsp olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp chopped rosemary

1tsp anchovy paste

1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Heat olive oil, saute garlic for 30 sec, add anchovy paste and rosemary, stir to combine, add stock, bring to simmer, add swiss chard, lower heat, add cannellini beans, simmer 10-15 minutes until heated. Season with salt and pepper. Top with parmesan cheese and more olive oil if desired.

PS I couldn’t resist sharing this pic of Alec finishing off the homemade chocolate velvet ice cream last week at the lake. Yes, that’s a quart size container! Photo Jul 04, 8 01 51 PM