There are times I make a recipe, and I have to test and test and test it until it comes out right. There's too much of THIS, too little of THAT, I really should have added this FIRST, this would have cooked better in THIS pan... Sometimes it takes everything I have in me not to just throw it all away and scratch it off my list, never to be attempted again.
And when the recipe does go right, there are times that I have to photograph it over and over because the sun went away too quickly, I didn't like how it was plated, or I want a better food prop for this recipe. Which then requires... making... it... again. By the time the recipe is perfect and the photos are perfect, I'm so sick of the gosh darn dish that I don't write the post for it until I absolutely have nothing else to post about. Currently, there are 4 of the above described recipes that are just sitting, waiting until I'm ready to write.
And then, there are times that the heavens open up and everything goes perfectly the FIRST time and the sun seems to stay out a little longer, and the set up goes beautifully and I am just SO excited about it. THIS, my friends, is one of those times! **CHOIRS SING HALLELUJAH!!**
I had this addict-like craving for pasta and Mexican food the other day. It was so strange and so alluring at the same time. Never have I ever craved starchy pasta and spicy salsa with such fervor before. Okay, that may not be true, but for the sake of the story, let's just say I HADN'T craved them that hard before. I was trying to figure out a way to make enough time for me to make lasagna and enchiladas in the same evening (that was such a stressful moment, let me tell you). THEN I realized I COULD COMBINE THE TWO AND EVERYTHING WOULD BE ALRIGHT.
And that is where this glorious idea came from. Lasagna could EASILY be the Italian version of enchiladas. By adding a few simple spices and switching cheeses and replacing basil for cilantro, this crazy idea wouldn't actually be so crazy.
Since I had just bought a new cast iron skillet I decided instead of making the lasagna in the usual way, that I should mix it up and make a skillet lasagna. PERFECT! Plus, making recipes in a skillet makes for some pretty great pictures, don't you think?
Before I get to the recipe, I have one more thing to ask: Does anyone else make a ghetto lid from pizza pans and aluminum foil? HAHA! I don't have lids big enough for some of my pans.... No but seriously, does anyone else do this? Or is just me? :)
Skillet Mexican Lasagna
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper (any color is fine), chopped
- 2 roma tomatoes, chopped small
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
- 1/2 jalapeno, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 6 oz cans tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
- 8 uncooked lasagna noodles
- 4 oz sliced monterey jack cheese
- 5 oz queso fresco
- chopped fresh cilantro
1. Heat vegetable oil in a 12 inch skillet over high heat. Tilt the pan to spread the oil all around the bottom. When the oil is hot and you can see ripples, add the onion and bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes.
2. Once the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes and the garlic. Cook for an additional 3 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add the ground turkey, jalapeno and salt and pepper. Let cook. Turkey meat tends to release a bit of water, which is fine for this dish; it will help the noodles cook later. While the meat is cooking with the veggies, combine all ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
3. When the meat is no longer pink, lower the heat to medium, and break each lasagna noodle in half and layer over the meat, careful not too overlap too much, but some overlap is fine. Pour the sauce over the top, and spread with a spoon; do not mix. just let make sure the noodles are as covered as possible. Cover the pan and let simmer for 20 minutes or until noodles are cooked to your liking.
4. After noodles are cooked, uncover and break the queso fresco into small and large chunks over the sauce. Stir to combine everything (you don't have to stir it all in completely, you want the meal to still look "rustic" for lack of a better word). Lay the slices of monterey jack over the top, and cover the skillet again. Remove from heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes to let the cheeses melt.
5. Top with fresh cilantro and serve from the skillet.
6. ENJOY and post with #perfectleehungry.