Easy Mexican Lasagna

Here is a Tex-Mex favorite. This one is always a hit with our kids. Even my 17-month-old loves it! We’ve got one in the freezer ready to go right now!

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion chopped
1 bell pepper chopped (My kids won’t eat this so I scrap it.)
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tbs. sugar
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes (Sometimes I use the roltel diced tomatoes with green chilies for extra spice–our kids can handle it!)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 14 oz. can pinto beans (or black beans), drained
1 14 oz can sweet corn
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
10-14 flour tortillas, whole wheat or white (or for gluten free, use corn tortillas)
1 1/2 cups grated monterey jack cheese
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese on top
Toppings:
chopped tomatoes
green onions, sliced
black olives, sliced
avocado, sliced
sour cream

Directions:

Brown meat with onion and next 5 ingredients. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and water. Simmer 5 min. over medium heat. Add beans and corn.

Process (I put in blender) sour cream, cottage cheese, and egg until smooth.

Cut each tortilla into long strips. I make them about as wide as a normal lasagna noodle, about 2 1/2 in., so you are cutting 3 strips out of each tortilla.

For the layering:

  • Place small amount of meat mixture in bottom of greased 9×13 dish.
  • Layer 1/2 tortilla strips over meat. (You will be laying the strips on top of each other so that the covering is about 2 tortillas thick.)
  • Then layer half of remaining meat mixture.
  • Next add all the sour cream mixture.
  • Then sprinkle with half the cheese (I mix both kinds of cheeses together).
  • Layer the rest of the tortillas.
  • Add rest of meat mixture.
  • Top with last of cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 min. (I usually stick my finger in the middle to see if the tortillas are soaked and well cooked. :)

Add toppings. Enjoy!!!

Tip: I make these two at a time and freeze one (before I bake it). Just thaw it in the fridge the night before and then bake for the normal time.

Advertisements

Blueberry Muffins (with dairy free option)


I don’t know why, but whether you make these muffins with fresh berries, frozen berries, regular milk or soy milk, they always taste amazing. A batch of 12 muffins is gone in about 20 minutes in my house. ENJOY!


Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk (or soy milk)
1 cup berries (fresh or frozen) – I have used blueberries or mixed berries

Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 butter (or dairy-free margarine)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Fill a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners
  • Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl
  • Pour the 1/3 cup vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup. Add the egg, fill with enough milk to fill up the 1 cup.
  • Pour into the flour mixture, stir and then fold in the berries
  • Combine topping ingredients and mash with a fork or pastry knife until the butter/margarine is incorporated and resembles a crumble.
  • Sprinkle the topping over the muffins
  • Place on the middle rack in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes

Watercoloring to Music

 My kids love to use watercolors, and I love seeing what they create.  It’s not that messy either–it all wipes up so easily off walls, table tops, chairs, floors, clothes, hands, arms, and even faces too. 

Age: 2 and up


Supplies:
a set of watercolors for each child
small paint brushes
small heavy bowls for water–less likely to tip over…I use 8 oz. pyrex bowls
any type of paper
classical music


What to do:
Tell the kids you are going to let them listen to some beautiful music with lots of different instruments, and that you want them to paint whatever pictures the music helps them see in their minds or feel in their hearts. 
Start the music.  A few ideas are any “Water Music” by Handel, “The Swan” or “Aquarium” by Saint Saens, “Reflections on the Water” by Debussy, even “From the Diary of a Fly” by Bartok.  Really anything classical will work great.
Fill water bowls, pass out the paper and watercolors with brushes.
Have fun!  And keep passing out more paper until the kids are ready for a new activity!

Mom’s Favorite Things

Sometimes, when we find something that works SUPER well, we just can’t help but tell everyone about it! The items listed below (an ongoing list) are just things that we LOVE and want to recommend to others. There’s no other reason!


Nail Polish: Essie is a nail polish brand that is a little more expensive than some of the other

ones. However, if you want your nails to stay painted for more than a couple of days THROUGH all of the dishes and hand washing, Essie is the brand to get! I LOVE the top coat, “No Chips Ahead” because it literally kept my nails chip-free for 7-8 days while on vacation in Florida with the kids…swimming, sandcastle building, dish washing, hair scrubbing, sun tan lotion applying and all. I have tested the top coat with a cheaper color underneath and it definitely helps the cheaper nail polish last a good 5 days but Essie colors last even longer. The color, “Allure” is a beautiful, natural color that I recently discovered. It is also rumored that Duchess Kate, of Prince William uses Essie. Buy the top coat from HERE on Amazon…it’s cheaper than the stores.



Robot Vacuum: Yes, that’s right, robot. My thoughtful brother gave me an incredibly
generous gift when I was on bedrest with my third child…the iRobot Roomba Vacuuming Robot. That was three years ago and I use it ALL the time. Just put it in a room, push the button, and walk away! I especially like using it in the bathroom and kitchen. They make LOTS of different kinds now – but I provided the link to the one that is most like mine.



Workout Video: After being on bed rest with my fourth child, exercise was not only challenging to start up again, but I had a hard time finding the time! Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred is a great video for those of us who don’t have time to go to a gym. The DVD has 3 levels of 20-minute workouts. All you need is a DVD player and some hand weights. Her philosophy of combining cardio, weights, and abs is GREAT and I felt stronger after just a few weeks. Plus, it’s only about $8 on AMAZON!




Deodorant: My wonderful, wise mother encouraged me to stop wearing anti-perspirant with aluminum because of the possible cancer-causing issues. And let me tell you, not every deodorant works on this busy, perspiring mama! The one brand I found is “Crystal.” I tried the roll-on for a while and that was good. However, it stopped working after about a year or two. I recently switched to the solid rock one and that is awesome. Find it on Amazon: HERE







Awesome Mom Book: Right after I gave birth to my fourth child, I stumbled upon a book at the library that I ended up liking and sharing with tons of moms 🙂 This author, Hannah Keeley has 7 children and an encouraging, upbeat spin on life! Although I may differ on a bit of her philosophy and self-help ideas, I love her recipe ideas and cleaning tips. Check out her book, Total Mom Makeover, or her website, www.hannahkeeley.com She has awesome organization tools to print and use. She also has an online coaching program (takes 5 minutes of your day) that has helped so many moms: http://iamhapi.com/affiliates/2naf



Face Wipes and Lotion: “Say Yes to Cucumber Face Cleanser Towelettes” and “Say Yes to Carrot Body Butter” Sometimes I am just too busy to wash my face or put on lotion – but when I do these things, I feel 10 times better! So, I found two products that I keep handy so I can freshen up really fast! They also sell travel size ones to keep in your “mom bag.” I buy mine at Target, but they are cheaper on Amazon.

Easy Fried Rice

Even when I desperately need groceries, I usually have the ingredients to make this vegetarian recipe. Plus it’s quick and easy. And my kids eat it heartily.  I sometimes make this once a week because it’s so popular around here.


Ingredients:
6 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 cup oil
6 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups frozen peas or peas with carrots, cooked
2 packages Sun Bird Fried Rice Seasoning Mix, yellow packets (optional)




Directions:

  1. In large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Stir-fry green onions.
  2. If using seasoning packets, add them with soy sauce.  Then stir-fry about a minute.
  3. Make an empty circle in the middle of skillet by pushing rice to the sides.  Add eggs and scramble.  Then stir together with rice.
  4. Add peas or peas and carrots if desired.  Also great with stir-fried chicken or beef. 

Monkey Bread

This is a favorite brunch treat from my childhood, that will always remind me of our family friends from Indiana. The kids LOVE it – it may not be the healthiest thing to serve, but you can make a well-balanced meal along side an egg bake and fruit.


Ingredients:
3 cans Hungry Jack biscuits (the 10 per can size)
3/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 tsp cinnamon


3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white corn syrup
1 tsp cinnamon (yes, again)

1 stick of butter or margarine

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cut biscuits in quarters
  • Combine sugar and cinnamon in a large ziplock bag
  • Shake cut up biscuits to cover with sugar mixture
  • Place in a buttered bundt pan
  • In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon and butter. Bring to a boil. Once it boils, remove from the heat and pour over the biscuits.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes
  • Let stand for 5 minutes, and then invert onto a large plate and serve!

Baked Clay Treasures

We’ve gone beyond playdough this past week.  We’ve been playing with Sculpey Clay!  It’s an engaging experience.  But the end results are great paper weights and small figurines to decorate your shelves and countertops!  Because we all need more of those…

Age: 4 and up, or possibly younger with mommy-assistance 🙂

What you need:
-Sculpey or Fimo clay, found at any craft store.  This stuff is more expensive, so be sure and save your Michael’s or Joann’s coupons.  The box looks like this after your kids start ripping into it:


-any playdough/sculpting toys (i.e. textured rolling pins, cookie cutters, etc.)


How it’s done:
The directions on the package will tell you everything.  Basically you have to squeeze and knead each piece of clay until it becomes soft and moldable.  Then let the kids create!  Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 275 degrees for 15 minutes to every 1/4 inch of thickness. Take note, Scultures that are standing up with not a lot of volume at the bottom, or too much volume at the top, may fall flat while baking.  Our tree was standing upright when it went into the oven.  But it still looks cool.

It’s fun to see what kids come up with:
              
I helped some with the flowers and the tree, but they came up with two snakes, airplane, two sharks, and a turtle.  Won’t grandparents just love arranging these knickknacks around their house??

%d bloggers like this: