I firmly believe in child labor- especially in the kitchen. The kid that helps to make dinner is far more inclined to actually eat it too. This lasagna dish goes together quickly with ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry and freezer. I’ll often make two at a time and drop one off to a friend in need of a break from making dinner.
From Cooking Light (again, I know, I love their recipes) comes Tex Mex Lasagna. Very few tweaks on my end- I use the frozen roasted corn (and don’t bother thawing it) and the no-boil noodles from Trader Joe’s. Some of the recipe reviews call for using corn tortillas instead. Maybe one day I’ll try that too.
- 3/4 cup bottled salsa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt-added diced tomatoes
- 1 (8-ounce) can no salt-added tomato sauce
- Cooking spray
- 6 precooked lasagna noodles
- 1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups (8 ounces) pre-shredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- Preheat oven to 450°.
Lots of tasks for little hands.
- Combine first 4 ingredients; spread 2/3 cup sauce in bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 2 noodles over sauce; top with 1/2 cup corn and half of beans. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese; top with 2/3 cup sauce. Repeat layers once; top with remaining 2 noodles. Spread remaining sauce over noodles. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.
Luke Skywalker here enjoyed wielding a spatula in place of the usual light saber.
Layering the lasagna correctly involves reading AND paying attention to the directions- good practice for a Jedi.
No-boil noodles are key to putting this together quickly.
- Cover and bake at 450° for 30 minutes or until noodles are tender and sauce is bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes. Sprinkle with onions.
Dinner in under an hour. You can also assemble it a day or so ahead and pop it in the oven to bake while you make a salad.
Served with cornbread, Spanish rice and tortilla chips & guacamole. Leftovers are rare.
I am a big fan of spoon breads (breads you mix up with a spoon as opposed to a yeast bread that needs to be kneaded and rise and be kneaded again and rise again….) A spoon bread can be ready for the oven before the oven is ready for the bread. I was intrigued by a spoon bread that also required yeast but no rise time. After a rainy afternoon spent on the soccer field I wanted a bread that could be ready quickly but also complemented the baked ziti I was making for dinner. Beer breads usually go best with chili or stew but I was willing to give this one a try. As a added bonus, it was easy enough to put together that Princess Leia could actually do most of the work.
Basil Beer Bread from Real Simple
Makes 1 loaf | Hands-On Time: 10m | Total Time: 1hr 05m
Get into the habit of weighing your flour. It’s faster, less messy and more accurate.
- Heat oven to 400° F. Oil a baking sheet. In the bowl of a standing mixer on low, or in a large bowl using a spoon, combine the flour, yeast, salt, pepper, and Parmesan.
Lots of jobs for little hands.
2. Add the beer and mix just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with the basil and knead gently just until incorporated. Shape the dough into a round loaf and transfer to the prepared sheet.
3. Bake until the loaf is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Turn the loaf onto a wire rack. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
The finished loaf.
The bread looked finished at 40 minutes, but upon cutting it open I realized it needed that additional 5 minutes. Err on the side of overcooking it a bit. It’s so moist it can handle it. I think I would use a slightly lighter beer next time (I used a Newcastle). Fans of ales or darker beers would probably be just fine with the result. That being said, there’s hardly any left post-dinner tonight. Toasted in the morning with breakfast? Absolutely.
PS This is the baked ziti we had for dinner.