Friday, May 29, 2009

Cream of Cabinet = Mexican Lasagna

On tonight's menu was "Cream of Cabinet". In my house this means "take what's already here and make a surprise". It's called "Cream of Cabinet" because it usually it involves a Cream of XXXX soup. But tonight there was no Cream o' Soup in the cabinet so I had to make do with what I had. So, I came up with my own version of Mexican Lasagna with what I had on hand.
First I lined an oval baking dish with 2 flour tortillas. This is the finale for these tortillas, it's the only two I had.

Then I thought to myself: "SELF! You need some cheese!" Sadly, my cheddar cheese supply was limited and what is a good casserole without cheese on the top? So, I decided to save it. Then, getting very desperate, I saw that I still had some pimiento cheese left from the wedding. It's cheesy, a little spicy, very creamy and very melty when heat is applied. So I gave it a shot and spread it on top of the lonely tortilla couple.

Budget home cooks everywhere have a vast supply of rice. It stretches, it plumps, it fills, and it's cheap. So, I made "mexican rice" by adding some paprika, chili powder, Lawry's, and tomato paste and spread it over the pimiento cheese in hopes that the creamy cheese spread would melt into the rice and create yumminess.

Now what is lasagna without layers? I know I said I was out of flour tortillas, and I am, but I also had a couple of whole wheat tortillas. I think they'll get along quite well with their larger, more refined cousins.

Something we always have a ton of in the Wilson house is salsa. Herdez to be exact. It's fresh tasting and it's cheap (if you buy it at Wally World) and it makes everything taste better!! It's almost as magical as gravy.
Now for the freezer layer. I had some black beans in the freezer so I thawed them. Then I got to hunting even deeper and found spinach. Then in the darkest depths I found white corn! I thawed them all out, mixed them up, and spread the mixture over the salsa. I know what you're thinking: "Black beans, check. Corn, makes sense. Spinach? Seriously? Spinach?" Truth is I figured that if anything would ruin this it would be the pimiento cheese and given the small amount of spinach I had, what could it hurt?
Now here I would normally have added more cheese but again, I was rationing. I didn't want to overkill with the pimiento cheese because that in itself was a long shot. But I needed a binder. Something creamy. My first thought: This TON of ranch dressing I have. But how would ranch flavoring go with what I had already? Not too good, not too good. (Subsequently, if you want to give this ranch a home, let me know) Then I remembered that we bought sour cream with the good intentions of a taco night. Well, I'm using up the last of the taco ingredients so I might was well invite sour cream to the party, right?
Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Has she gone flaky? Where's the beef?" Well here it is. I would have made two layers but I only had a pound to begin with AND my dish wasn't all that deep. Drum roll please: Here's the beef. I seasoned it with chili powder, garlic salt, Lawry's, paprika, and tomato paste and added an onion while I was browning it. MMMMM.
Finally the moment we've all been waiting for: cheese! I sprinkled some shredded dairy goodness over the beef, then added some crunched up hard taco shells that I had in the freezer that had fallen on the floor several times and busted, and then more cheese. You can always add more cheese! Then I baked at 400 degrees for half an hour and ........... wait for it ............. wait for it.....

And it's brown, bubbly, and wonderful! Try this at home. Please do! And if not this recipe, make your own "Cream of Cabinet" creation and share!


  1. WOW! I love when raiding the cabinet and throwing it all together turns out successful! It sounded really yummy!

  2. Justin's eating his second lunch helping right now. And I'm finally getting hungry enough that I might have some for myself!