Let’s start with a story.
In college, there was this semi-tradition for the seniors in all the on-campus sororities/fraternities to book a “mountain weekend” trip during the fall. Each house picked their own weekend and the hosts would invite “dates” along for the trip and festivities. Usually a big mansion cabin (or two) in Gatlinberg, TN were booked, cars were loaded with beers/booze/and bodies, and the whole weekend was devoted to drinking & partying. My year was no different. I remember it fondly (and a little vaguely).
The general guidelines for cooking during this type of trip were simple: You should make food that’s good at filling you up and soaking up some booze, something that’s simple to make, and something that can feed a big group of people. Or a little group of people for a number of meals. I remember my plan was to share food with 4 or 5 other people. We all divvied up meal duties and I got dinner, and for some reason I was dead set on trying a new idea: Taco Lasagna. I mean, it fit the bill perfectly. Big, filling, carb-y, and in my mind I thought it would be like two comfort foods mixed in one giant comfort food. Tacos + Lasagna = Taco Lasagna.
So on the 2nd day of this trip, I made it. It was dinner time and everyone was in the living room/kitchen/dining room area hanging out and drinking. Nobody even really noticed what I was doing while I cooked and prepared all the individual components of the recipe. Once I assembled the whole thing & put it in the oven, I went upstairs to my room. I think I showered or prepared a new drink or started talking to someone up there, because I was gone long enough to realize “Oh! My lasagna is probably done by now.” And when I came downstairs all I remember was seeing an empty casserole dish, my lasagna being gobbled up by everyone in the room, and one of my best friends running up to me saying “I saved you some! I hid it in this cupboard!” Could it have just been a bunch of hungry people with the drunchies? Maybe. But I like to think it was because the frickin’ dish is just that good.
Well, I made it again this weekend. And yup. It’s just that good. It’s easy, it’s filling, it’s cost effective, and it’s something I won’t get sick of reheating all week long. I bring you, Taco Lasagna!
- 1 box of lasagna noodles
- one 8 oz container low fat ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 can of salsa
- 1 bag of shredded mexican cheese
- 1 pound of ground turkey
- 1 packet of taco seasoning
- 1 jalapeno
Bring a pot of water to boil and pre-heat your oven to 400. Sauté the ground turkey as you normally would, mixing in some water and the taco seasoning. Make sure it’s not too dry. Meanwhile, once your pot of water has reached boiling point, cook the pasta. I like them just a liiitle al dente, because they’ll be cooking more in the oven eventually.
Mix the egg in with the ricotta cheese. Assemble your salsa and shredded cheese.
In a casserole pan or baking dish (or whatever you want, frankly) put one layer of noodles down. Cover with some of the ricotta mixture, sprinkle the cooked turkey next, and follow that with the salsa and cheese. Repeat this step until you have nothing left, about 3 or 4 layers.
Cook that baby in your oven for 30 minutes. Maybe more, depending on your oven. I like the noodles to be soft and the cheese to be gooey. Top with some jalapeno slices and go to town!