Mexican Casserole

Ingredients:Mexican Casserole
1 cup chopped onion
1 zucchini, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (12-ounce) package meatless fat-free crumbles (such as Lightlife Smart Ground) or 2 potatoes, chopped
16 corn tortillas (mixed and pressed my own)
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 cups chopped seeded plum tomato
2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 cup (8 ounces) vegan shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
2 Tablespoons chopped green onions
1 can black olives, chopped (optional)
3 cups enchilada sauce

Directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion, garlic and jalapeño pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in black pepper, cumin, chili powder and fat-free crumbles. Cook until it’s heated thoroughly.

In a 9 x 13 Pyrex pan layer the bottom with enchilada sauce and cover with tortillas. Spoon in the meat-less (or potato) mixture and spread evenly over the tortillas.

Heat your skillet and add the beans and mash, stirring constantly. Stir in the lime juice. Combine the tomato, zucchini and cilantro and stir until mixed. Layer the beans over the meat-less mixture evenly. Top off the casserole with another layer of tortillas and cover with enchilada sauce. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool, top with green onions and olives (optional).

SERVING SIZE: 12 servings

NUTRITIONAL FACTS:
Calories……….192
Total Fat……..1 g
Cholesterol….0 mg
Sodium…………247 mg
Potassium……383 mg
Total Carbs….40 mg
Protein………….6 g

NOTES:

Source: Cooking Light

Notes: I have also made this as a two layer casserole, with a layer of corn tortillas and enchilada sauce between thee meatless mixture (or potato mixture) and the bean mixture. Either way, it comes out good and filling.

Baked Ziti & Summer Vegetables

Ingredients
4 ounces uncooked ziti (I used Rigitoni)
1 tablespoon olive oil (omitted)
2 cups chopped yellow squash
1 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped tomato
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup (2 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray

Directions
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Boil pasta according to package directions.

In a large skillet, over medium heat add diced onion, yellow squash and zucchini and sauté for 5 minutes (or longer if desired). Add the garlic and diced tomatoes  and sauté for 3 more minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the pasta, mozzarella cheese, herbs and pepper.

In a separate bowl combine the ricotta cheese and egg. Stir this mixture into the noodles and vegetables. Lightly coat a 9″ x 13″ Pyrex pan with cooking spray. Spoon into the Pyrex dish and sprinkle mozzarella on top. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

Notes
I got this recipe off Cooking Light online and pretty much stuck to the recipe. I made more than 4 ounces of pasta, using Rigatoni noodles. In hindsight I might have used a bit more Ricotta cheese, as the original recipe called for only half a cup, and I bought a store brand, low fat Ricotta. Seemed to work just fine and tasted okay. The basil was homegrown from our herb plants as well.

Light & Tasty Cooking

“The madness continues,” I say as I have dropped 4 pounds since my physical and continue looking at alternative recipes to cut down on my cholesterol intake. While this has not been easy I have been making some good decisions on how and what I cook. I think one of the biggest factors is not eating fried food from Chinatown in downtown Oakland 3-4 days a week. The food is tasty and inexpensive, but I am sure most of what I eat there is a cholesterol bomb!

Along with the Mexican Casserole and Vegetarian Chili I did last week I went with a Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies and Bruschetta last night. The Baked Ziti was another Cooking Light recipe from their vegetarian section, while I just grabbed a Bruschetta recipe off of Google.

I thought the ziti came out excellent! Unlike some ziti’s I skipped the meat and marinara sauce, instead opting to use Ricotta cheese and Mozzarella. The yellow squash, zucchini and diced tomatoes were sauteed with onion and made up for the lack of meat in the dish. In fact the flavor was much heartier and sweeter today as a leftover than it was last night when I finished the dish.

The Bruschetta was a simple recipe where I toasted some olive oil coated baguettes for about 5 minutes in the oven. I added canned, diced tomatoes, strained with fresh basil and garlic along with some olive oil, Balsamic vinegar and a bit of crushed pepper. This complemented the ziti very nicely. I recommend both dishes and you should see them listed shortly under Recipes. Thanks for eating!