I've managed to solve the food problem for several upcoming meals with some concerted effort this morning.  I finished putting together the Mexican lasagna casserole that I'd started last weekend.  I had almost all the stuff  and the filling half made as of last Saturday, but for much of the week it was too much to think about.  Today I got up earlier than I had been doing on these days off (and actually took my medication on time for once) and got to work before I got distracted.  It was a little bit different putting it together, and not difficult, it just took a lot  of energy to overcome my own inertia.  

Day 30:

Once that inertia was overcome, I couldn't stop.  After I got the casserole in the oven I sat down intending to do nothing for a while, but there was a shoebox full of random crap next to my side of the sofa that I suddenly needed to empty as soon as possible. It was stuff taken from near my nightstand with some recyclables and some old mail.  A stray bungee cord took me down to the garage to put away into the toolbox.  Then I saw most of the cordless phones in the stuff bucket (yes, it's a bucket literally has the word "STUFF" written on it in white letters, and it was a wedding gift).  I wanted to use the bucket for used kitchen towels so I decided it was time to reunite the phones.  I chugged back upstairs for the one stray and put them all in their own box.  Since we don't have a landline anymore the box of phones went into the Go-Away pile.  Back downstairs there were more shoeboxes full of bathroom stuff, over the counter meds and the like, and I got rid of all the expired ones.  They went into their trash and the packaging went into the recycling bin. Coming back upstairs to pull the casserole out of the oven I saw a ratty stained burnt and partly melted oven mitt with the Sugar Daddy candy logo on it.  It had been given to me by crazy-ex-cow-orker number two years ago and it's falling apart.  I don't need a reminder of working with a drug addled con artist in my life anymore so I trashed it.

The original writeup is here: http://univacgrl.livejournal.com/229246.html Now it's time to rewrite the recipe so I don't have to do the math and the substitutions in my head at the same time. No ketchup required.

Mexican Lasagna (aka MexiLas)

For the filling:
2 cups of cooked chicken, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces (chicken thighs stand up better to the sauce)
1 package low sodium taco seasoning mix (or about 4 teaspoons if you roll your own) 
1 28 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup dried chopped onion
8 oz balsamic vinegar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
1 16 oz bag frozen corn niblets 
2 15 oz cans of black beans (or 1 each of black and pinto beans), drained and rinsed

For the structure:
6-8 soft tortillas (soft taco size) or 4 burrito size tortillas cut to fit in the casserole dish
4 cups shredded Mexican cheese mixture (or 4 cups grated your favorite mix of cheeses here)
1/2 6 oz can of small olives (use the whole can if you really like olives)
6-8 oz cream cheese cubed or cut into small portions
2 cups full fat sour cream
Parsley flakes and paprika for garnish

Glass or ceramic casserole dish (9 x 13 inches or larger) (tomato sauce will etch your metal pans and you will be unhappy)
Rimmed sheet pan to put under the casserole dish when it goes into the oven, because it will bubble over and spill

Make the filling:  In a large heavy saucepan combine the chicken, taco seasoning, dried onion, tomato sauce, cinnamon, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and water. Bring to a low boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add corn and beans and return to simmering for another 10 minutes.  

Build the lasagna:  Pour 1/3 of the sauce into the pan, then top with a single layer of tortillas to cover the whole surface.  Press gently into the pan. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cheese evenly over the tortilla layer, dot entire layer with olives and dollops of cream cheese.  Cover with half of the remaining sauce and another layer of tortillas.  Press firmly into the pan. Layer the rest of the cheese, then the olives and more dollops of cream cheese evenly over this layer.  Add the rest of the sauce and the last of the tortillas and press firmly into the pan again.  Spread a thick layer of sour cream from edge to edge of the dish as if frosting a sheet cake.  Garnish with paprika. Bake in 350 F oven on top of a rimmed sheet pan for 25 to 30 minutes, or until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley flakes.  Allow to cool slightly before serving in 3" square slices. 

It took me over a week to make this, because life kind of grinds me down, but it's pretty easily broken down into a very few steps.  Cook the chicken, refrigerate it overnight, then debone and shred the cold meat.  This step could be made even simpler by substituting browned ground meat (turkey or pork).  Make the filling then put it in the fridge for a few days, letting the flavors marry and making the filling thicker but easier to work with.  Build the casserole and bake it.  You'll have leftovers unless you're feeding several people.


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Cyrano de Univac

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