Italian-Tex-Mex Fusion

I like layered dishes, so I guess it's no surprise that I really enjoy lasagne. That said, I also really enjoy mixing things up a bit in the kitchen. I guess that's about as close to being a rabble-rouser as I tend to get. That said, when I get into one of my moods, stuff like this ends up on my dinner table:

It's lasagne with a hefty dose of south-of-the-border flair. Instead of lasagne noodles, flour tortillas take on the role of main layering ingredient. If you have a gluten allergy, you could easily use corn tortillas instead. I used flour tortillas because that's what I had on hand. Longtime followers of this site will note that I tend to cook like this often: 1) what do I want? 2) what do I have that might work to resemble what I want? This is how dishes like Tex-Mex Tortilla Lasagne are born.

If you want to just make this with ground beef (or chicken, or lamb, or pork, or tofu, or some combination), you could, but I do like the extra kick in flavor the chorizo adds to the dish. Besides, when you stick with just ground beef, dishes like this sometimes end up reminding me of hamburger helper meals and that's not exactly what I'm aiming for this time around. You can opt for fresh or frozen corn in this dish. You could also skip it, but I like how the sweetness in the corn is a perfect balance to the spiciness in the chorizo. I also used pepper jack cheese on top of the dish, but that's because my family likes a little heat in dishes like this. If you want something milder, skip the chorizo and use some sweet onions or bell peppers (or both!) in the ground beef for a bit more oomph! You could easily use ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese in this. Again, cottage cheese was in my refrigerator and I looked at it and thought, "You could be in this dish." Black olives are there because my daughter gives me extra tight hugs when I do things like that. How could I not add them?

This really is a one-dish meal, but you could always add a green salad to the side or maybe some sliced fruit. With everyone so busy with fall … everything, I think lots of fussy sides are really counterproductive when there are so many other things you could be doing. Also, for those of you who would enjoy an adult beverage with a meal like this, I have a surprise. Given the blend of flavors and ingredients, this dish plays nicely with both wine and beer. Choose what's caught your fancy and enjoy!

Tex-Mex Tortilla Lasagne

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 8 oz. spicy chorizo - casing removed
  • 2 tsp. Tex-Mex or taco seasoning (check labels for GF options)
  • 1/2 c. corn kernels
  • 9 flour tortillas (choose corn for a GF option)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 c. cottage cheese
  • 1/2 c. black olives, sliced
  • 1 c. shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Brown the ground beef and chorizo together, stirring in the seasoning and corn kernels about halfway through cooking.

Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and lay three flour tortillas across the bottom to mostly cover it. I like to lay two side-by-side and then cut the third tortilla in half and use those pieces to complete the layer. Carefully spoon about half the browned meat mixture over the tortillas. Add a layer of thinly-sliced tomatoes and then cover those with 1/2 cup of cottage cheese and a generous sprinkling of black olives. Repeat this layering once more and then add a final tortilla layer over the top. Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheese and any remaining black olives.

Bake the dish, uncovered, for about 40 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Allow the dish to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

  • Yields: 8-10 servings
  • Preparation Time:1 hour

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