Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tex Mex Lasagna

Good Morning! Last night was a long one for us over here. My in-laws called on their way home from Indiana that they were about 20 miles south of our house and had hit a deer. Thankfully, they were fine and their van was still driveable, but what were they going to do with that meat?! They didn't have time to take care of that and they knew my hubby hadn't gotten a deer in a couple years, so we were running dangerously low on venison. We took it. My dad came over to help cut it up enough to get it in the house where it was warm and we cut up what meat was still good into steaks and roasts. WOOHOO!! They called right after we finished dinner, so the timing was pretty good, too! I made this tex-mex lasagna thing that was pretty good, but a 9x13 pan of it was too much for the 6 of us, especially since 3 of the boys decided they didn't like it before they even tried it! So I sent some home with dad for their lunches today and kept some for my lunch today and still have leftovers. Tim is convinced that since he liked it, I'll never make it again since I have a tendency to make so many new things and rarely get back to making something we liked. Maybe I'll surprise him (it was from the TOH Guilt Free Cookbook my MIL got for me, so it's pretty good for you, too!) with it again sometime soon! Anyway, here it is. Enjoy!

Tex-Mex Lasagna
(As usual, there are a few modifications that I made....you can ignore them if you like.)

1 pound lean ground beef**(See note below)
1 can (16 oz) refried black beans (I skipped this, I can. not. stand. refried beans!)
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen corn (totally not enough! Use 1 full cup or maybe a little more)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (I skipped this since I used homemade salsa and there's enough jalapenos in there to make it have some zip)
1 envelope taco seasoning (I make my own, here's the recipe for that!)
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce (I made the mistake of not writing down what size can I needed when I went to the store, so I bought too small of a can. Oops! I mixed in the 8 oz can that I bought with a 15 oz can of tomato soup and it worked fine. Use the whole can of tomato soup if you do it this way, it won't hurt anything and then what's left isn't going to waste.)
2 1/2 cups salsa (I used homemade and used 2 pints{equivalent of 4 cups}...2 1/2 cups just wasn't saucy enough for me!)
12 no cook lasagna noodles (took me 15, 5 on each layer)
1 1/2 cups reduced fat shredded monterey jack or fiesta blend cheese
1 1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup fat free sour cream (optional)
1 medium avocado, peeled and cubed (optional)
4 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

In a large skillet, brown the hamburger until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the beans, corn, jalapeno, taco seasoning and 3/4 cup tomato sauce. Set aside.

Combine salsa and remaining tomato sauce. Spread 1/4 cup (I used about 1/2 cup) into a greased 9x13 pan. Lay down one set of lasagna noodles, top with half of the meat, 1 cup salsa mixture, 1/2 cup of each of the cheeses. Repeat. Top that with the remaining noodles, salsa mixture and cheeses.

Cover and bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until edges are golden and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with sour cream, avocado, and onion, if desired.

**A note about ground beef....I was listening to something on public radio and they said that if you buy the cheaper ground beef (73/27 or whatever) and drain it, then rinse it with hot water, the fat content is similar to if you buy the more expensive lean ground beef. Just a tip for you. Or, you can use half a pound of lean ground beef and half a pound of ground turkey to save more fat.

One serving= 1 piece (12 servings per pan): 381 calories, 13g fat, 5g fiber, 25g protein. You can use no salt added tomato sauce and beans to lower the sodium, too.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Garlic Beef Stroganoff

When my mom and dad got their new kitchen table a few years ago, I had to be there when they delivered it since mom and dad were both working. As a surprise for them, I made dinner and had it in the crockpot for them when they got home. I think that actually started the whole "Jess brings dinner over several nights a week" thing that we enjoyed for several years until my hubby quit his job to go back to school and we moved across the state. It was great while it lasted...for all of us! Anyway, I was digging around in a cookbook and found this. We tried it and we loved it! It's super simple and totally tasty! Enjoy!

In your slow cooker, dissolve 2 tsp beef bouillon in 1 cup boiling water. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 2-4oz cans drained mushrooms(opt), 1 large chopped onion, 3 cloves minced garlic (I use more), and 1 Tbsp Worcestershire. In a skillet, brown 1 1/2-2 pounds cubed round steak. Add the meat to your slow cooker and cook on low 7-8 hours. Stir in 8 oz cream cheese before serving and stir until smooth. I like to serve over buttered noodles.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Test your knowledge and WIN!

Test your Whole Grain knowledge and win a really cool prize pack from General Mills over on It's A Boys Life: Reviews. Check it out, contest ends February 28th!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Now on Facebook!

Cafe Jessica has a fan page on Facebook!

Click HERE to join us!! You'll be able to have lots of fun talking about recipes and giving feedback on what you want to see more of here as well as be notified of when a new recipe is posted. Click over and join the fun!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Twist on regular Lemon Bars

This weekend, I was on a baking mission! I made brownies (from a mix), Very Berry Pie (recipe coming soon), and these lemon bars. I had some macadamia nuts in the freezer that I wanted to use up and Timmy LOVES lemon bars. The only thing missing was the lemon zest, but even without that, they were the BEST ones I've made yet! Enjoy!

Macadamia Lemon Bars

1/2 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
2 cups flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup melted butter

Mix together dry ingredients, then stir in the butter and mix until evenly moist. Press into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Top with filling.

2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp lemon extract (optional, but I added and could have used more)
1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest (use this, please, it'll really make a difference, but if you don't have it, I understand.)

Mix together dry ingredients, then stir in wet ingredients until light and fluffy. Pour into hot crust and bake another 15-20 minutes. Check it. You should be able to tell if it's set. Keep going at 1-2 minute intervals until it's set. Cool 5 minutes, then run a knife around the outside of the pan. Cool completely, then dust with powdered sugar before cutting into pieces. Serve cold.