mexican lasagna

This dish began with a baby. Our dear friends were expecting a little “it” any day, and I went into a minor panic that I hadn’t made them anything to keep in their freezer. When they arrived home with that little bundle, I wanted them to be able to eat a home-cooked meal without actually doing the cooking part.

The only things I remember from the evening we brought our daughter home from the hospital are 1) how flippin cute she was, even as a newborn, and 2) the hamburger pie that my mother-in-law had left us in the fridge. When you are sleep deprived, have lived on hospital food and candy bars for days, and are stuck in the otherworldly universe of “new parent,” there is nothing better than finding dinner waiting for you.

But I didn’t want to cook something expected. It needed to be comforting but not blah, creative but not bizarre. I consulted a few similar recipes, but they were all lacking in one way or another. I ended up going off the map and making a creation of my own, without guidance or even a clue what I was doing.

The result was more delicious, more satisfying that I could have imagined. Between the layers of handmade tortilla, melted cheeses and fire-roasted tomatoes was something beyond bliss. This was comfort food of mammoth proportions.

Ordinary items from the grocery store, tortillas from Trader Joe’s, and a few things that I had on hand all came together in one star-crossed, meant-to-be meal. This is the most non-fancy dinner that I can think of, and yet I would prefer it to dining at the best new restaurant in town.

So what made it so magical? What transformed this pan of regular stuff into tiny square slices of crack-cocaine?

It was probably this little guy, spreading his little strawberry-blonde love all over town.

Welcome to the world, Beckett Flynn. You are dearly loved, even at four days old. And you have inspired a recipe that will be gracing the freezers of parents-to-be for years to come.

Mexican Lasagna

This dish freezes and reheats exceptionally well, which makes it perfect for double batches. Makes 1 9×13″ pan, or about 12 servings. If you prefer a bit more spice (I do), you can up the taco seasoning to 1 1/2-2 packets.

  • 1 lb ground turkey or ground beef
  • 1 (15 ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chiles
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans refried beans
  • 1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives
  • 8 large flour tortillas (preferably handmade—most better grocers will carry them)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated pepper jack cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • sour cream for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F. In a large skillet, brown ground meat. Drain fat. Add tomatoes, taco seasoning and water. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, combine the refried beans, diced green chiles and black olives. Stir. Blend the two grated cheeses together in a separate bowl.

Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread half of the bean mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. Cover with two of the flour tortillas. Spread with a third of the cheese mixture, then cover with half of the meat mixture. Cover with tortillas once again, then layer the remaining beans, two more tortillas, 1/3 of the cheese, the remaining meat mixture, the remaining tortillas, and the remaining cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through and bubbly. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Top with a dollop of sour cream if desired.


  1. Oh man, I wish I had one of these waiting at home for me!!! YUM!

  2. Lasagne is the best thing to send to a family with a new baby…..

  3. I found some white corn tortillas by The Tortilla Factory that I’m looking forward to trying with this one. They’re thicker than regular corn tortillas, which gives them _almost_ a flour tortilla texture. This is gonna be some good stuff!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the recipe, as I’ve been looking for a really easy Mexican Lasagna as of late. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Your blog pictures are as pretty as always! I love it. I think your lasagna sounds amazing and I can’t wait to try it!

  5. Boy was that yummy! And it fed all four grandparents, too. Thanks, Jenny!

  6. The baby is beautiful !
    The lasagne surprising – Mexican lasagne ? Idea to remember.
    The pictures are very nice!
    Kind regards!

  7. Hoosier Smoker says:

    This is much like the enchiladas you’ll find in New Mexico. They are layered and generally casserole style. This one has a few unexpected ingredients which sound awesome. For an additional layer of flavor, fresh corn tortillas can be used and add a nice texture also. I’ll be trying this one though!

  8. I’m finally giving this recipe a whirl tonight – SO EXCITED!

    Though I couldn’t find “fire roasted tomatoes and green chiles in a can” – are we talking about Rotel here? Cause that’s pretty much the closest I could come up with…?

  9. Just made this last night (without the olives) and it was fabulous! Thanks so much!

  10. Yum, this looks delicious! Found your amazing blog through foodbuzz & am a new follower!
    – Jessica @

  11. Carly Scott says:

    That was suppose to say toddler tested and approver. Lol thank you autocorrect

  12. Mmm this looks cheesy, spicy, and delicious!!


Speak Your Mind