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Hey Everyone! I’ve been taking some time off to enjoy Christmas and New Years with my family and today is my first “official” day back. I had an absolutely wonderful time doing something we very rarely (if ever) do – nothing. This is such a rare thing for me. I never “just” sit and relax because I’m happiest piddling, always doing something.
But over Christmas break I didn’t photograph food, write, crochet, quilt, embroider, organize (although in full disclosure, my friends reading this are giggling now at the very thought of me organizing anything), or in any way be productive other than to relax, rest, and goof off with my family. Katy Rose wasn’t feeling well one day and we actually spent an entire day watching cute cat and puppy videos on Youtube -Good times good times. I’ve gotten several emails (and it is so sweet of y’all to send them!) from folks who were afraid they were no longer receiving my newsletters that I send out over the last two weeks. Well, the problem wasn’t your email, it was that I wasn’t writing newsletters because I was busy doing the following:
Kinda Clockwise (you’ll figure it out): Experienced this much snow, Held a new baby (Welcome to the world, Andy!), Double dated with my in-laws, had lunch with m’boy, oversaw the mass messy decorating of cookies…
I also…Taught my mom how to make tortillas, really wished they made trains like this for adults, held a ferret (first time), took my youngest and her friend to Kidventure, made a big dinner for Christmas day ….
(I’ll get emails about the disposable dishes and I promise to promptly give them the attention they deserve)
In addition to that I…
Did some pretty rockin’ nail art if I do say so myself, realized my son needs a bigger bb gun, took a few meals off from cooking, made mass quantities of pickled onions along with all sorts of other kitchen cookery and mayhem, and rescued various frozen objects from the depths of the abyss that is my freezer.
Okay so now I feel refreshed, and ready to board that train of life again.
You know, we’re all riding that train, and the difference in our journeys is largely based on what kind of passenger we are. If you don’t know it already, I’m about to go off on a tangent because I’ve been thinking about the different kinds of passengers lately…
Now, lots of folks quietly get on board and take their seats, content to be along for the ride, maybe read a good book or two, and stare out the window at the scenery. Other folks might mill about, chat a bit with their fellow passengers and experience a few parts of the train such as the dining car, smoking car, etc (Hey, I’ve never ridden a train so I’m just going by what I saw on that episode on Big Valley where Audra had to have her appendix removed in the Barkley’s private car).
Those kinds of passengers probably have a real good ride and enjoy themselves just fine – but that isn’t me.
Me? I start looking for my seat the moment I step on board and only stay there long enough to drop off my luggage before I’m off to find the livestock car. By the time we reach the second depot, I’ve figured out how to shear sheep. By the third, I’m spinning wool…only it has to dry some after I dye it so while that is going on I’m off to find the chickens and gather some eggs. While others are sitting happily in their seats, I’m jumping across couplings to get from car to car just a havin’ me a good old time making full use of this train’s resources.
You know, a few people will most likely wake up from their naps and see me buzzing about and declare that there must be something wrong with me. I’m ADD, OCD, or some other D, too much energy, unable to sit still, overly cheerful (which is odd, but a lot of folks nowadays see that as a bad thing, too), etc. But by golly, I don’t know how long I’m gonna be on this train so while I’m here I’m going to make the most of it!
Eventually, when we pull into the final depot, where I get off, I’ll be handing out wool coats and Denver omelets on my way out the door, just a grinning from ear to ear as I make my way through the disembarking crowds to hitch my team up to my own wagon, load my own luggage, and quietly make my way to a tiny cabin deep in the woods. Then, and only then will I do my sitting.
That day is coming soon enough so I don’t have time to waste now.
Oh, guess what else I did in between shearing sheep and gathering eggs? Yup, you got it! I made a Tex Mex Lasagna for supper! This stuff is too good not to make. I had a version of it this past summer but found the recipe wasn’t an easy one to follow or duplicate so I made up my own using ingredients you can easily keep on hand. It’s a large casserole but it’s very filling so there is no need to serve anything alongside it unless you just really want to. Leftovers heat up like a dream, too, and although I haven’t done it myself, I imagine it would also freeze very well.
So while our train is going down the tracks today, lets squeeze in some time to cook us up a good supper.
You’ll need: Ground Beef, Salsa (mild to hot, up to you), taco seasoning packet, dried (or fresh) cilantro, corn, refried beans, cheese, no cook lasagna noodles, chopped green chilis, black beans, and onion.
These are a lot of ingredients, I know, but they’re gonna make a rib sticking, tongue wagging, awfully good supper!
Chop your onion and brown it with your ground beef over medium high heat until nice and done.
Isn’t this silly that I am showing you a photo of my skillet posed on a cutting board instead of on my oven? It’s just kinda dark in that oven corner of my kitchen so I came out to my little diner.
Shred your cheese if you have a block or skip this step if you have preshredded cheese.
I’ve gotten in the habit of shredding cheese for lasagnas because it melts and gets so smooth and nice. The pre-shredded stuff (which I am STILL a fan of!) is coated with anti-caking agents that keep it from getting as smooth as what you shred yourself. A lot of folks are horrified to learn that anti-caking agents are usually a form of cellulose,which is sawdust basically, but that doesn’t bother me. If I’m gonna go and get all horrified over something I can find a lot bigger and more worthy reasons.
Add in your salsa (saving just a little for the bottom of your baking dish), tomato sauce, taco seasoning, cilantro, chilis, and refried beans to the ground beef and onions.
Stir that up really good and cook it a few minutes over medium or so until it is nice and bubbly.
Add in your drained corn and black beans and stir them up good, too.
Spread the remaining salsa over the bottom of your baking dish.
Cover that with some lasagna noodles.
If you have to break them to get them to fit, knock yourself out.
Spread half of your filing over the noodles.
Top with half your cheese.
Then more noodles…
I bet you know where this is going, right? ~winks~
The rest of your filling…
and the rest of your cheese.
Bake, uncovered, 45 minutes, or until bubbly and pasta is tender (which, coincidentally, is about 45 minutes, see how this works out?)
Let sit for about five minutes or so before cutting.
Dig in and go explore the other train cars!
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was, in me, and invincible summer.
Don’t forget to call into the SouthernPlate Storyline to hear this week’s story! Each Sunday we add a new story, read either by myself or my mother.
Regular calling rates apply, no special charges. It’ll be just like you’re calling up a friend in Alabama, which is just what you’re doing!