Sometimes you need to think out of the box. Am I right? Did I nail it with this recipe?
Well, let's just start off with me saying, I was desperate. Yup! It was close to dinner time and I had nothing planned or prepared. I opened my fridge for the 30th time (we've all been there) and nothing magically appeared. I stared at some left over sweet potatoes from the night before, and I couldn't think of what to do with them. I googled a few recipes but came up empty since I didn't have every ingredient on hand. So I improvised...a lot!
I turned to the pantry and stared at every item. "What can I use?" Well in the end, on the counter I looked at my sweet potatoes, some tortilla wraps and a can of black beans. My first thought was some sort of wrap, or maybe a quesadilla of some sort. It wasn't really going anywhere and I was not super excited. I then had an idea. I saw a can of re fried beans and then it all started to come together. Something Mexican! Perfect.
I decided to be creative and if it came out horrible, there's always cereal!
First, I mashed the sweet potatoes and added a few quirts of lime juice, salt and pepper, and chili powder. I have to be mild or my kids won't eat it. Next up, That lovely can of refried beans was put to use. In a separate bowl, I combined the refried beans with salsa. Then in yet another bowl, I combined black beans (drained and rinsed), corn and a can of diced tomatoes (drained). Also, I added a cup of cashews to a glass of hot water and let them soak.
Still with me? Good, it's going to get crazier. I had a casserole idea in my head. I don't think I have ever really made a casserole before but my impression is that it's just everything baked in a Pyrex. Haha.
I took pictures during the process because I just knew this was either going to be an epic win or an epic fail. Either way, I had proof (and a lot of fun).
Stage one: A layer of the refried bean mixture.
Stage two: A layer of tortillas. These are the small ones.
Stage three: A layer of the sweet potato mixture
Stage four: A layer of refried bean and salsa mixture
Stage five: A layer of the black beans, corn and tomatoes
Stage 6: Another layer of tortillas and repeat the layers till topped with the tortillas again.
Stage 7: A layer of salsa
Final Stage: It was missing something. More beans? Um, nope. I think we covered that for the week. Ahhh, the cashews! I drained the cashews and added them to my nutribullet with a 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast and 2 Tbsp of cashew milk. What I ended up with was a thick peanut butter consistency. I dropped dollops of that awesomeness all over the top. Bake for 20 minutes covered and an additional 10 minutes uncovered.
Before and after...
Well it looked good and smelled good when I took it out of the oven. But did it taste good? I must admit, I sampled it before announcing dinner was ready. I really wanted this to be tasty. In my opinion, I thought it was amazing. I was so proud of this nameless dish.
Before even trying it, my daughter asks, "What is this? It smells like tacos". Her cousin was sitting next to her and said, "It looks like lasagna". Brooke's natural response, which was quite comical, "I guess we're having taco lasagna". The name stuck!
I called in my son, who was also playing with his cousin, Joey. They both agreed to try my newest creation, "Taco lasagna". Guess what? They loved it! SUCCESS!!!!
I had some for lunch the next day and it was still just as great. In the end, I am so glad I thought out of the box and just went with my gut. We now have a favorite dish that everyone in the house, cousins included, likes. Woohoo!!!!
4 Sweet Potatoes, baked and mashed
1 can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Diced Tomatoes, drained
1 cup Frozen Corn, thawed
1 can Vegetarian Refried beans
1 1/4 Cup Salsa
1 tsp. Chili Powder, I recommend more if you want to add a kick to it
1 Tbsp. Lime juice 1 package of small white corn tortillas
1 cup Cashews, soaked in hot water
1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
2 Tbsp. Cashew Milk, (any plant based milk will work)
Topping: Add drained cashews to nutribullet with nutritional yeast and milk.
Preheat oven to 375.
Combine mashed sweet potato with lime juice, chili powder and a dash salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, combine Refried beans and salsa. In another bowl, combine black beans, corn and diced tomatoes. Line a 9X13 pan with a thin amount of refried bean mixture. Then layer the tortillas. Next layer the sweet potato mix, then refried beans, then top with beans, corn and tomato mix. Repeat the process again. Tortillas, sweet potato, refried beans, black bean/corn etc. One last layer of tortillas. Spread salsa all over and then add drops of cheezy topping. Bake for 20 minutes covered with foil. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes or until topping is golden and middle is hot. Enjoy!
Did I just make a casserole? I still have no idea what one is.