As a new high school student, I thought I'd take a class in Spanish. Foreign language was new to me, but after about two weeks in Spanish I, I was hooked. I fell in love with the language, and languages in general (always having been fascinated with words). Four years in high school and four years in college, eight years total of Spanish plus enough French to snag a minor in that language as well. I was in love with Spanish--the language, the people, the culture. So, when I met a man named Fernando, it wasn't that hard to fall in love for life with one of the people.
Fernando is Mexican; his mom was born in Mexico, and his dad here in the States. He grew up speaking Spanish, and didn't learn English until he went to kindergarten. And I am Italian, and British. My mom is full-blooded Italian, and I've even been to Italy with her. Side note--we met distant relatives in central Italy, and we communicated by going from English to Spanish (they called a Spanish-speaking family friend) to Italian, and back again. It was a lot of fun!
Anyway, all that explanation to say, here is a recipe that combines the best of two worlds: Mexico and Italy. Their cultures are fairly similar, their food, not so much. This dish takes a traditional lasagna set-up (the layers thing) and pairs it with a Mexican twist. It doesn't get much better than that.
All the ingredients are laid out on the counter, ready to go.
The layers will be like this:
Start with a layer of corn tortillas. Feel free to fold and break them to fit in your pan. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need 5-7 tortillas for each of the two tortilla layers.
Cottage cheese mixture, then cheddar cheese.
Another layer of corn tortillas.
The rest of the meat mixture.
Final topping of cheddar cheese.
As always, as promised, here's the recipe!
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 2 cups whole kernel corn (I used frozen)
- 1 cup salsa (any kind!)
- 15-oz. can tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons Homemade Taco Seasoning (or use one envelope of your favorite store-bought brand)
- 16-oz. container cottage cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 10-12 (or so) corn tortillas
- 12 oz. shredded cheddar (just use what looks good--you can never have enough cheese!)
In a six-quart pot, brown the ground meat; drain and return to pot. Add the corn, salsa, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning, heat to warm and leave for about five minutes.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the cottage cheese, eggs, and oregano.
Line a 13x9 baking dish with five or six tortillas. Corn tortillas will break if you fold them, so go ahead and do that if you need to in order to fit them into the corners and along the edges. Overlap the tortillas to form a solid layer. Take those strips you broke off (if any) and stick them in any gaps or wherever. They'll cook right in.
Top the tortillas with half the meat mixture. Spoon/spread the cottage cheese mixture on next. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the cheese over the cottage cheese mixture. Arrange another layer of tortillas on top. Spread the rest of the meat mixture on, then top with the rest of the shredded cheese.
Bake at 375 degrees about 30 minutes or until cheese melts and casserole bubbles. Let stand ten minutes before serving.
I almost forgot to take a picture of the finished product! Fortunately, Jacob got lost coming home from his first day on his internship and arrived late for dinner. And also fortunately, he didn't inhale the rest of the remaining lasagna! He was really happy about coming home and being able to sit right down and eat a well-deserved meal--homemade and still warm!
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