Welcome to Another Episode of What I Have Been Up To In My Kitchen!

After having spend much of the month of May in "Crunch" mode, I was inspired earlier this week to cook, something I was a bit worried about.  I knew I would regain my culinary inspiration after my work year ends at the end of next week, but I was so pleased when it struck me the other day.  I become like a dog with a bone this time of year, determined and intent to wrap up my year smartly, efficiently and quite professionally.  I love my job, I live and breathe it, as most all of us do, as it is incredibly rewarding.  It is very important to me, a passion, as is cooking.  Again, I was so pleased when I was hit with the idea to create a taco lasagna.  I Know it is Not an original idea, but my version is pretty healthy and intensely flavorful.  While I do use a pound of lean ground beef, I also use soy chorizo, known as "soyrizo", and beans and corn.  In addition, I use my very own Mexican Spice Blend, which I share below. This first meal, my Taco Lasagna, is perfect for health-conscious individuals seeking a very filling meal for either lunches at work or for convenient dinners afterward. You could certainly leave out the beef or, if you wish, going the opposite way, you could use pork or beef chorizo.  Either way, it is a magnificent flavor addition!  In the end, it is not exactly pretty, but it sure is tasty!

Let's get to it, shall we?  

Base Ingredients for the Lasagna:
1-pound lean ground beef
2 links soy chorizo
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 can red kidney beans
1 can black beans (both cans of beans drained and rinsed).
1 can corn
1 + 1 can diced roasted green chiles
Vegetable oil
1.5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 leg or 2 regular packages small corn tortillas.

Taco Seasoning:
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon Pasilla powder
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1.5 teaspoons cumin seeds
Salt and pepper

Blend or grind the spices.

Sauté the beef and soy chorizo in a skillet with a little vegetable oil, s&p and one can diced roasted green chiles over medium-high heat. In a large pot with three tablespoons vegetable oil over high heat, sauté the onion and garlic for four minutes before adding the beans and corn. Add the apple cider vinegar and stir. Add half of the spice blend to the beef and soyrizo and half to the veg.

Meanwhile, spray a 9 x 13" baking pan with non-stick spray. Add a layer of tortillas, a sprinkle of your favorite Mexican cheese, a layer of the beef-veg mixture, and repeat until you have used up all of the filling. Top with cheese and oregano. Bake 20 minutes at 375-degrees. Let sit to set about 15-minutes and serve!

Hoisin Bacon Cheeseburger

Everyone knows how much I love to fuse together traditional dishes with non-traditional flavors. With this burger, I added Hoisin sauce - salty, tangy, sweet - into the ground beef with the usual hamburger suspects:  Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, onion, garlic, but also turmeric, Ponzu and fresh, finely chopped ginger. In addition, after searing to get a fantastic Hoisin caramelization, I topped it with mozzarella cheese discs cut from a fresh log. I seasoned the bacon with ground ginger and chipotle.  What incredible flavors! I've only two shots of it, so please enjoy! 

Gooey cheese and sourdough toast with mustard dripping from atop the burger. 

Bacon and Cheese for days, with that Hoisin crust just waiting to have a bite taken out of it!

Thank You, Gentle Readers, for your time and consideration.  Now, please go and cook something for someone you love!!!


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