4/16/15

Mexican Lasagna that fits perfectly in my round baking pot! (Graniteware pot that came with my Sun Oven)




I have made this recipe a thousand times... and I've posted this recipe a handful.
So why post again? 
Because I'm an idiot for not thinking about this sooner and just realized this week (after making this forever and forever) that it fits perfectly in my round Graniteware baking pot!

Humans tend to get into habits without realizing it.  My habit was pulling out the same pans to make lasagna.  Except, this week the 2 rectangle pans were in the dishwasher so I opened up the next drawer down and saw my 2 round baking pans.  I hadn't thought about them because honestly, they came with my All American Sun Oven - (my solar oven) and I don't ever think about using them except when I'm making dishes in the solar oven. 


   I grabbed it - lifted one of my flour tortillas and found it was a perfect fit!

Since I didn't purchase the pan separately myself, I went on Amazon this morning, looked up the sun oven, found the pan that was featured with the sun oven (so I had the right one) and am posting it here.
  • Carbon steel construction
  • Safer than foil roasters
  • Brown better and cook more evenly
  • Porcelain surface is naturally nonstick
  • Dishwasher safe
It's 8.5" inside and rim to rim is 9.75".   So I decided to post this not only as a reminder to me to start using this pan for my Mexican Lasagna (and yes, you can bake it in your Sun Oven of course!!)  but if anyone else could use this hint - there ya go!



Mexican Lasagna

1 - 2 lbs. ground beef, chicken, turkey, etc.
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 t seasoned salt
2 cups diced tomatoes (or use canned if you prefer)
1 T jalapeno's, diced fine (optional if your family hates them)
1 T onion (another option!)
1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste with 3 empty cans of water OR use 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 1/2 c sour cream  OR  ricotta or cottage cheese
2 eggs
10 flour tortillas (any style - low carb, etc. is fine too) (Only 5 if you use a round pan!)
2 1/2 - 3 c shredded cheese

Cook the ground beef (if you are using) and drain.  If you are using already cooked beef, chicken, etc. place it in a large pan on the stove top.  When hot, add the taco seasoning, salt, tomatoes, paste and water or tomato sauce, jalapeno's and onions if you are using them.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce and simmer about 10 minutes while you mix the sour cream OR ricotta/cottage cheese with the eggs in a bowl.  Preheat the oven to 350.

Spread half the meat mixture in a 9X13 inch pan.  Cut your flour tortilla in half.  Layer about 5 of them over the meat.  Spread half the sour cream or cottage cheese mixture over the tortillas.  Sprinkle with half the shredded cheese.  Repeat the layers with the rest of the meat, tortillas, sour cream or cheese mixture and top with the rest of the shredded cheese.  You can now use green olives or black olives on top if your family likes them.

Bake uncovered about 20-30 minutes until golden brown, bubbly and hot.  Let it stand 10 minutes to 'set up' for easier cutting.  You can serve this as is or offer sour cream, guacamole, salsa, etc.




I used cooked, leftover chicken for this one.  But you can make this with ground beef too.
If you are making it in  a traditional rectangle pan - slice the tortillas in half to layer

Your flour tortillas become the 'noodles'
If you are making it in your round pan and the diameter is 9.75" from rim to rim, the regular sized tortillas fit perfectly!


Here I am layering the meat and cheese between the tortillas (that turn into noodles once cooked)





This version in the traditional pan was topped with olives.  One of a hundred options.  Play with your food!

Let stand about 10 minutes for easier cutting


The items I have are available on Amazon;

All American Sun Oven
Granite Ware 0517-6 Covered Round Roaster


  

4/12/15

Basic Homemade Bread



Although my body is happy and healthy when I'm not eating flour in any form, especially store bought bread (!), I do find that I can eat homemade bread without the bloating and pain that store bought bread brings.  I've done research into this, and I think I know why, but that is a post for another day.   Today, I mention it because this week I was craving homemade bread so I made a couple loaves.

Usually I make my normal, regular, tried and true recipe that I've posted more than a few times on An American Housewife and uses dry powdered milk.  However, this time I used one almost exactly similar except you use liquid milk.  I didn't bother to take a bunch of new photos because really, how many times can you take the same pictures of homemade bread?

I like to add about 1/2 cup whole wheat flour to my white flours so you can see a bit of grain in the photos I've posted.  You don't have to though - regular bread flour is just fine.

Basic Homemade Bread
Makes 2 - 9-by-5-inch loaves


2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (about 110°F to 115°F)
2 T unsalted butter
1 c milk
2 T granulated sugar
1 T salt
4 1/2 to 6 1/2 c bread flour


In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast and warm water. Let sit 5 minutes until yeast is dissolved.

Heat the butter and milk until the butter melts and it's just warm (about 110 degrees). Stir in sugar and salt.

Add milk mixture to bowl along with 2 cups flour. Using the dough hook attachment, stir mixture to form a dough, adding enough of remaining flour as needed to form a smooth, soft, elastic and only slightly sticky dough.  Knead about 5 minutes with the dough hook.

Shape dough into a ball. Lightly grease a bowl with oil, then transfer dough to bowl. Turn dough once to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled.

Deflate doubled dough and divide in two pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Rest 10 minutes. Shape dough into two equal loaves. Carefully transfer to two greased loaf pans. Cover pans with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour until dough begins to rise above tops of pans.

Heat oven to 375°F. Place loaf pans on center rack about 3 inches apart. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Remove loaves from pans and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  You can brush the tops with butter while hot to keep a soft crust top or let them cool as they are for a hard top.














You might be interested in;

KitchenAid 5-Qt. Artisan Series with Pouring Shield - Aqua Sky 
KitchenAid 5-Qt. Artisan Design Series with Glass Bowl - Raspberry Ice
USA Pans 8.5 x 4.5 Inch Aluminized Steel Loaf Pan with Americoat Loaf Pan
Farberware Nonstick Bakeware 9-by-5-Inch Loaf Pan

     





4/9/15

Homemade Canvas Food Dehydrator Tray Liners







I didn't purchase a food dehydrator of my own until my husband saw them on sale at Lowe's for just under fifty bucks, so it's probably not a surprise I certainly am not going to pay the high price companies want for food dehydrator trays!  However, they are needed!  The holes of a food dehydrator let tiny pieces of dried food fall through them and believe me, diced carrots get tiny! (And peas and blueberries and many other dried goodies!).

The first thing I did was march down to a local store and buy a few sheets of clear plastic canvas.  Walmart has them, but Michaels was closer to me that day so I got mine there for about $.59 each.  If you don't have a store near you, I'll link to a couple random options from Amazon at the bottom of this post.

I simply laid two canvas pieces out on the counter, drew around them with a marker (I used a highlighter first, as it was right next to me in a kitchen drawer and I was too lazy to walk through the house to the office to get a Sharpie.  However, I realized if I wanted to let others know how to do this, I better use a marker that showed up on the photos!  So I did grab a Sharpie for a couple of the pictures.)

Lay the canvas side by side on the counter.
You can tape them in place in the corners if you find they are moving too much on you to trace.
Trace around both the outside of the tray and then the inside circle as well.

Use scissors to cut the canvas into half circles.
Cut on the *INSIDE* of the line around the larger outside circle.
Cut on the *OUTSIDE* of the line on the inner circle.

Fit to your tray.
You may have to trim some of the edges to make it fit.
When it lays flat inside your tray, both flat around the outside and inside edge, your are done!

Washable, sturdy, and will allow your fruit and vegetables to dry without falling through the holes of the dehydrator trays.



Use sheets of plastic canvas.  I chose clear so there is no color added.



Laying the two canvas pieces side by side and placing the dehydrator tray over them - equal on both sides, directly down the center - to trace both the outer edge and the inner circle.


Trace around the outside edge - being careful the canvas doesn't move around - so you get a perfect half circle.
You will cut around the INSIDE of this trace line.



Carefully trace the inner circle as well.
You will cut around the OUTSIDE of this smaller trace line.


After you make your first trays you can actually use them as a pattern to trace additional liners and not have to use the tray to trace around each time.  This makes it a little easier.




Remember to cut inside the line as it needs to fit INSIDE your tray -  You will probably have to try to fit, trim, fit, trim, to get it to fit perfectly.


Two liners placed on the dehydrator tray!
















You might be interested in some related products;
Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
Weston 75-0601 Food Dehydrator, 4-Tray
QuickCount Soft Plastic Canvas 7 Mesh Clear 6/Pkg-10-5/8"X13-5/8"
Plastic Canvas 12x18-Clear
Nesco Fruit Roll Sheets





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