Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cheesy Goodness

I've been a bit lax in updating the blog because of the holidays, so I wanted to think back to this week and report on a dish that was a pretty big seller with Henry...Mexican Lasagna.

This recipe was invented about a year ago when I was hungry and trying to use a can of vegetarian refried beans that my sister gave me as a joke (we have very strange senses of humor in my family).  It was a big hit with my husband and me, and then slowly as I made it more frequently, it got even more of a following among a few close friends and family members.  Henry had eaten it and loved it probably about 3-4 months ago, so I hoped he would have a similar reaction this time...

And yet, how could I expect my 17 month old to be predictable and consistent? Honestly, there is nothing in Mexican lasagna that Henry doesn't's tortillas, beans, cheese, corn, salsa, and olives.  He loves each and every one of those ingredients.  But of course, the first night when I went to feed it to him, he flat out refused it.  Would not take a single bite, and was utterly offended that it was even on his tray.  I would not be defeated though...the next night I tried it again.  Again, he acted the same way.  I happened to also be eating soup that we both enjoyed during lunch, so I started to give him a few bites.  In the midst of those bites, I snuck in a bite of Mexican Lasagna.  The next thing I knew, Henry was begging for more, and scarfed down an adult size piece!

I must warn you...this is not meant to be a low-fat dish.  For our family, this is our cheesy indulgence...

Mexican Lasagna
1 can (15 ounce) vegetarian refried beans (or 1 onion sauteed, mashed with pinto beans, cumin, salt, & pepper...that's what I usually do)
1 can (15 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (12 ounce) corn, rinsed and drained
1 cup salsa, divided
10 large whole wheat tortillas
2/3 cup + 1/4 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella, divided
2/3 cup + 1/4 cup shredded cheddar (or for a spicier kick, use pepper jack), divided
1/4 cup sliced black olives

1.  Preheat oven to 350.
2.  Mix black beans, corn, and 1/2 cup salsa in a bowl.  Set aside.
3.  Put two whole wheat tortillas covering the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.  Put half the can of refried beans on this layer (or half the homemade mixture).  Sprinkle with 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese.  Top with two more tortillas.  Spoon half black bean/corn mixture onto second layer.  Top with 1/3 cup cheddar cheese.  Repeat the refried bean and black bean layers.  To finish, top with the last two tortillas.  Spread a 1/2 cup of salsa on top, sprinkle 1/4 cup mozzarella, and a 1/4 cup cheddar on top of the salsa, and sprinkle black olives over the cheese.  Cover with foil and bake in oven for about 30-40 minutes.  For last 5 minutes, can remove foil to get cheese browned on top.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!


  1. This sounds yummy, but i would love to know - on those days that you describe when Henry flat out refuses what you have made, how do you handle it? Do you make him something you know he'l eat? Do you let him skip dinner? Help!

  2. Naomi - on most days if Henry flat out refuses to eat, especially if he won't even taste the food, I don't give him anything else, except for fruit (which is how his meals normally end). If he won't eat the fruit, that's it...except for his nightly milk.