|Please excuse my lack of food photography skills|
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Because of Tyler's hockey schedule, I have no choice but to dust off the crockpot and get organized with meal planning. We're out until odd hours and when we get back home everyone is starving, especially Tyler.
Last night I decided to try a recipe on Stephanie's A Year of Slow Cooking. I like Mexican food and I was able to do this almost entirely with things I had on hand. I modified Stephanie's recipe because I wanted it to be even more of a one pot meal. I also cut the recipe about in half. We're not that good with leftovers and so many crockpot recipes make huge portions. Phil re-named my version Mexican Lasagna. Below is Stephanie's recipe with my notations after.
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (4-ounce) can roasted green chiles, undrained
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
8 flour or brown rice tortillas (brown rice tortillas are GF; read packing carefully)
4 cups cooked pinto beans (three 15-ounce cans, drained)
4 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
Optional garnishes: sour cream, sliced avocado, etc.
Use a 4-quart slow cooker. If you only have a large one, that's okay--but reduce cooking time a few hours.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, chiles, and spices.
Put a layer of tortillas into the bottom of your cooker---you may need to tear them a bit to get good coverage. Add a scoop of the onion/tomato mixture and layer on a healthy spoonful of beans and then a layer of cheese. Repeat layers until you've run out of ingredients. Top with a healthy dose of cheese.
Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours (if using a 6-quart, do 3 to 4 hours on low, then let it click over to warm--there's nothing really to cook--you're just heating thoroughly and getting the cheese to get that yummy crust).
I did not use an onion, pepper or green chilies. I only used one can of tomatoes (because all of us don't care for whole tomato). They were Mexican style with onions and chiles, the store brand equivalent of Rotel.
I used two 15 ounce cans of beans and partially drained one (to make up for the missing liquid from the second can of tomatoes). I only used 4 tortillas. My crockpot is just the size for Mission's medium soft taco size tortillas. The tortillas were just barely too big. I did use a lot of cheese, but maybe only three cups of shredded taco seasoned cheese.
Now for my biggest changes: I bought one 6 ounce package of Tyson grilled chicken strips and two packages of Lipton Fiesta Sides Taco Rice. I made both packets according to directions but cut the water to 3 cups. I diced the chicken into pretty small pieces.
I layered the ingredients: tomato, rice, beans, chicken, cheese. The top was tortilla to keep the moisture in. Since the rice and chicken were already cooked, I only had this in the crockpot on low for an hour just to warm it through. I didn't use all the prepared rice in my dish. There's about 1 1/2 cups leftover. I still think I'd make two packages; using only one would make the meal skimpy unless I doubled the chicken.
The results: we loved it. I cut it into four really good sized triangles and served everyone a wedge. Tyler could barely finish. This is very filling! The only change I'll make when I prepare this again is to add some salt. The brand of tomatoes I used made the dish sweeter than I like Mexican food to be.
If you're in need of crockpot inspiration, definitely take a look at Stephanie's site. I've had good luck with her recipes. Which food site do you have good luck with?