Friday, December 28, 2012

Crockpot Mexican Lasagna

Before I begin, I must let you know that this recipe was made in the car. Well, if we are being technical here, it was made in the captain's truck. How is this possible you may ask? Back in September during our road trip adventures to Washington, Wyoming, and Montana, the captain bought me a travel crockpot in Oregon. I had never seen anything like it in my life and he was sweet enough to buy this for me. This crockpot is designed for truckers to use so they can cook themselves a warm meal while on the road - if they can use it, so can I! It's 1.5 quarts, which is small, but its perfect for just the captain and I or any travelers we may have joining us. The best part is that it just plugs right into the cigarette lighter! How cool is that? Pretty awesome if you ask me.

Now this isn't the first time we've used this crockpot. We've used this two other times - the first time was a peach cobbler that turned into more like peach bread pudding soup. Not what we were really going for. I cooked it too long and then the condensation made it into the soup. Lesson one learned. The second road dish the captain and I made were five layer brownies. They smelled up the truck (in a good way of course) almost immediately and turned out pretty good. Don't worry, I'll show you the recipe soon. Since this crockpot only has one setting, it's hard to know when it's exactly done. The brownies were cooked, but a little dry. Not bad for our rest stop brownie break. You should have seen all the people eyeballing our snack. They were just jealous they did cook brownies while they were driving.

Now on to the third try - Mexican lasagna. I had spent what seemed like hours trying to find a good recipe for us to cook on our trip to Oregon. For the longest time, my plan was to do macaroni and cheese. It sounded perfect until I read that you needed to stir it every half an hour and it may curdle. That did not sound good to me at all. Plus, I tend to fall asleep when the captain is driving and I did not want to be blamed for burnt lunch. So, I decided to go the Mexican lasagna route at the last minute. It just sounded more homey and comforting (and filling), especially being on the road for 8+ hours. What if we got stuck? At least we'd have a warm meal!

This recipe is super easy to make and you can of course make it in a regular sized crockpot too. I typically use regular crockpot recipes and then just cut them down to the size of my crockpot. That's what I did for this one and we finally had a winner! We started cooking our lunch at about 9am and we pulled over a little bit into Oregon to enjoy our meal around 1pm. It was hot, gooey and best of all delicious. With a little guacamole and chips, our bellies were full and satisfied!

Crockpot Mexican Lasagna (slightly adapted from Crockin Girls)

This recipe is for a 1.5 quart crock pot (increase ingredients for your size crockpot)

1/2 to 3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz cheddar cheese, grated plus extra for topping
1 can black beans, drained
1 Tablespoon Chili powder
1 Teaspoon Garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 packet taco seasoning
8 corn tortillas, cut into strips
10 oz Can Cream of chicken soup
10 oz Can Diced tomatoes with green chilies

Brown beef, onions and garlic together until fully cooked. Drain on paper towel. Add the beef back to the pan, add in the taco seasoning according to the package and stir in the black beans. In a separate bowl, combine the soup and diced tomatoes.

Spray your crockpot with non-stick spray and add half of the torn tortillas to the bottom. Then add half of the meat, 1/3 of the cheese and then about 1/4 of the soup mixture over the cheese. Repeat with the remaining ingredients ending with 1/4 cup soup leftover for another use. Turn on crockpot to low and let heat for 4 hours. Once the cheese is melted and bubbly, turn off crockpot and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Serve with crumbled tortilla chips, sliced tomatoes, avocado or whatever you like. Enjoy!

I bet you wish you had a travel crockpot now don't you.

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