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The original writeup is here: http://univacgrl.livejournal.com/229246.html Now it's time to rewrite the recipe so I don't have to do the math and the substitutions in my head at the same time. No ketchup required.

Mexican Lasagna (aka MexiLas)

For the filling:
2 cups of cooked chicken, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces (chicken thighs stand up better to the sauce)
1 package low sodium taco seasoning mix (or about 4 teaspoons if you roll your own) 
1 28 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup dried chopped onion
8 oz balsamic vinegar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
1 16 oz bag frozen corn niblets 
2 15 oz cans of black beans (or 1 each of black and pinto beans), drained and rinsed

For the structure:
6-8 soft tortillas (soft taco size) or 4 burrito size tortillas cut to fit in the casserole dish
4 cups shredded Mexican cheese mixture (or 4 cups grated your favorite mix of cheeses here)
1/2 6 oz can of small olives (use the whole can if you really like olives)
6-8 oz cream cheese cubed or cut into small portions
2 cups full fat sour cream
Parsley flakes and paprika for garnish

Glass or ceramic casserole dish (9 x 13 inches or larger) (tomato sauce will etch your metal pans and you will be unhappy)
Rimmed sheet pan to put under the casserole dish when it goes into the oven, because it will bubble over and spill

Make the filling:  In a large heavy saucepan combine the chicken, taco seasoning, dried onion, tomato sauce, cinnamon, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and water. Bring to a low boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add corn and beans and return to simmering for another 10 minutes.  

Build the lasagna:  Pour 1/3 of the sauce into the pan, then top with a single layer of tortillas to cover the whole surface.  Press gently into the pan. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cheese evenly over the tortilla layer, dot entire layer with olives and dollops of cream cheese.  Cover with half of the remaining sauce and another layer of tortillas.  Press firmly into the pan. Layer the rest of the cheese, then the olives and more dollops of cream cheese evenly over this layer.  Add the rest of the sauce and the last of the tortillas and press firmly into the pan again.  Spread a thick layer of sour cream from edge to edge of the dish as if frosting a sheet cake.  Garnish with paprika. Bake in 350 F oven on top of a rimmed sheet pan for 25 to 30 minutes, or until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley flakes.  Allow to cool slightly before serving in 3" square slices. 

It took me over a week to make this, because life kind of grinds me down, but it's pretty easily broken down into a very few steps.  Cook the chicken, refrigerate it overnight, then debone and shred the cold meat.  This step could be made even simpler by substituting browned ground meat (turkey or pork).  Make the filling then put it in the fridge for a few days, letting the flavors marry and making the filling thicker but easier to work with.  Build the casserole and bake it.  You'll have leftovers unless you're feeding several people.

My Favorite Apple Pie Recipe.

This is the best apple pie ever. I'm not even going to be humble about it. It's just that good.

How this recipe came into my life.Collapse )

French Apple Pie
This is apple pie with the "a la mode" built right in.
1 egg
1 cup (1/2 pint) dairy sour cream, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Dash salt
2-1/2 cups finely chopped, peeled cooking apples (2 to 3 apples)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel (I just use some lemon juice)
1 unbaked Standard pastry crust
Crumb topping, see below.

Crumb Topping:
1/4 cup (or 1 or 1/2) stick butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 450F (232C). Beat egg in a large bowl; blend in sour cream, sugar, flour, vanilla, and salt. Fold in apple and lemon juice. Pour into Standard pastry crust, and bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350F (177C) and bake 30 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown. While pie is baking, prepare Crumb Topping. Sprinkle topping over pie and bake 15 minutes longer. Serve warm or cool. Makes 6 to 8 servings per pie.

Crumb Topping:
Cut butter into sugar, flour and cinnamon. Electric mixer can be used.

Things I scrawled on the bottom of the xerox copy:
Double the recipe and use a deep dish pie crust.
Cover the crust with strips of aluminum foil or crust protectors until the last 30 minutes or so of baking so that it won't burn.

Sometimes there's a small amount of leftover filling (apples rarely come out to even measurements) so I make an individual pie-ette, sans crust. You could probably divvy up the whole recipe into parchment paper-lined ramekins and skip the crust altogether. I totally would.

Clown Crawl March 2010

Surprised Brian
Originally uploaded by univacgrl
The Clown Crawl made it to its first anniversary last night! There were cakes and booze and rain. We were refused entry to The Library (one of two bars in the greater SLO area which have names which you can deliberately lie to someone about your location, the other being called "The Office."). We danced at Creekside Brewing Company instead, where this picture was taken. And I swear to god that the band was riffing on "Disco Inferno" and "Love Machine" for all the songs they played.

It Came From the Net!

Originally uploaded by univacgrl
Internet videos, piped to a very large television screen. We came, we saw, we laughed, Brian pointed.

Clown Quorum

Originally uploaded by univacgrl
Pictures from the January Clown Crawl are up. About once a month, Dan leads a passel of folks on a barcrawl. And they dress up as clowns. Forgive the quality as drunken clowns are not known for their photography skills.

Dennis, resplendent

Originally uploaded by univacgrl
Dennis, in Turtle Party regalia, on NYE.

I didn't take a whole bunch of pictures, but they're up.


Originally uploaded by univacgrl
Dean likes to make a gingerbread house every year for the holidays, but they rarely get eaten. NotMartha.com had a post about making tiny gingerbread houses that perch on the rim of a coffee cup. D took the idea and ran with it. He made five tiny houses and decorated the tops with Nerds candy. Assembly was pretty easy, even if the pieces weren't entirely straight. He took a microplane grater and shaped the edges so they'd fit together better.

And all of the houses were eaten.
Mexican Lasagne [aka MexiLas]

2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 package Schilling Taco Seasoning Mix [low sodium]
1 8oz can tomato sauce
[1 cup frozen corn]
[1 can black beans]
[¼ teaspoon cinnamon]
[1 can small olives]
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ cup catsup
1 cup water
6 soft tortillas
1 cup grated cheddar cheese [or grated mixed mexican cheeses]
1 cup commercial sour cream
Schilling parsley flakes

In saucepan combine chicken, seasoning mix, tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, catsup, corn, black beans, olives, and water. Bring to a boil. Simmer 30 minutes. Pour 1/3 of the sauce into 12 x 7 ½ x 1 ¾ -inch baking dish; cover with 2 tortillas, ½ of the cheese and half the remaining sauce. Repeat layers, ending with tortillas. Spread sour cream evenly over surface and sprinkle with paprika. Bake in 350°F oven 25 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley flakes. Makes 6 servings.

(stolen out of "Sauce-iology From the Schilling Division of McCormick & Co., Inc.")

This is the totally awesome casserole my mom used to make on special occasions. She gave me the original booklet a couple of years ago and it's delightfully retro, from the early 70's. When I went away to college, I copied it down by hand and took it with me. I've made some additions (the bits inside the brackets) that make it more of a meal-unto-itself rather than just a main dish. Now I make it for friends and gamers on special occasions. I've never made it in this small of a batch because the leftovers taste even better.

Letter to Entertainment Weekly

This is a letter I emailed to EW today after reading through the current issue (the one with Hugh Jackman on the cover).

Dear Editor,

The Bullseye pictured Susan Boyle on page 112 of your Summer Movie Double issue and called her "a 47-year-old spinster." Although the mention was a somewhat positive one, it was certainly a backhanded compliment. I'm surprised that you used something as pejorative as "spinster" to describe the singer in the same issue that you write a glowing preview article about the apparently astounding "newfound bankability" of Meryl Streep, a very talented 59-year-old woman whom no one seems to think belongs in the Golden Girls bracket. Ms. Boyle's talent has nothing whatsoever to do with her chosen marital status, nor with her possession of some gray hair. Please save "spinster" for describing people who actually use spinning wheels, i.e. Rumplestiltskin.

Holly A