Mexican Lasagna

Our Group 244 C had a Potluck party recently — and we feasted on pulled pork, bloomin’ onion bread, meatballs with sauerkraut, chips n’ dips….and the best of ’em all was my friend Pedro’s Mexican Lasagna.   Layers of soft, spongy corn tortillas in between salsa-flavored ground beef and beans, topped with guacamole and sour cream…it’s yummy, filling, tastilicious and “hallelujah” awesomeness.  Pedro, oh Pedro, you make me want to do this dish every weekend.   Pedro gave me tips on this lasagna creation:  cut edges of round corn tortillas to form squares (easy to layer them in a rectangular 13 x 9 Pyrex dish), and sprinkle grated cheeses on tortillas before adding filling mixtures of ground beef, salsa and beans.  Pedro added it is okay to do this with good hearthy chili for the filling.

Mexican Lasagna
Just when you want something “Mexican”…makes 2 rectangular pans, one for potluck party, and one for your family to enjoy too!

2 lbs ground beef, cooked until brown and drained well
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 can (16 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained well
1 can (16 oz) chili beans, rinsed and drained well
1 can (29 oz) tomato sauce
1 jar medium salsa (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt, black pepper, sugar to taste (I add more sugar, I like it sweeter)
corn tortillas, trimmed
shredded Mexican cheese
half a block of cream cheese, sliced

Iceberg Lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, green onion and sour cream

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Saute cooked ground beef with green pepper, onion and garlic.   Add beans, tomato sauce, salsa, and seasonings;  simmer for 15 minutes.  Spoon small amount of meat mixture into 9×13 pan and spread to coat bottom of pan.  Top with tortillas, sprinkle cheese over, and cover with half of meat mixture.  Place another layer of tortillas, cheese and meat mixture.  Cover tightly with foil.   Repeat layers with another rectangular pan (I use the store-bought disposable foil pans).  Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Remove foil; top with more shredded cheese and bake for 5  minutes or until cheese is melted.  Serve with lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, green onion, guacamole and sour cream.

trimmed edges of corn tortillas, for frying

Some photos from our Potluck Party…yummy!

pepperoni pizza rolls


red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

pulled pork


asian-style coleslaw


quinoa salad to die for

classic creamy coleslaw

Pedro’s mexican lasagna

meatballs with sauerkraut

hosts John and Lori

candice/zach brought the bloomin’ bread

here’s Pedro and Kristin









BOB Recipe: Pepper Steak Stir-fry


from:  Pinnacle Foods Corp
Product:  Cream Corn Starch

BOB Recipe:  Pepper Steak Stir-fry

1 lb beef flank or boneless sirloin steak
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cream corn starch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp white or black pepper
3 small tomatoes
2 medium green peppers
1 medium onion
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp cream corn starch
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp finely chopped gingerroot
1 tsp ground garlic
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Trim fat from beef; cut beef along grain into 2 inch strips.  But strips across grain into 1/8 inch wide slices.

In a bowl, toss together the first six ingredients (including beef slices).  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut each tomato into 8 wedges.  Slice green peppers into 1 inch pieces, no more than 1/4 inch thick.  Cut onnion into 3/4 inch pieces.

In a separate bowl, mix chicken broth, 2 tablespoons corn starch, 2 teaspoons soy sauce and sugar.

Heat wok on medium-high until drops of water bubble.  Add 3 tablespoons vegetable oil; spread around to coat surface.  Add onion, gingerroot and garlic to wok.  Stir-fry until garlic and onions are light brown.  Add beef mixture, stir-fry unitl meat is brown (about 5 minutes).  Remove beef mixture from wok.

Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to wok; spread to coat surface.  Stir-fry green peppers for 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes; stir-fry 1 minute.  To wok, add corn starch-chicken broth mixture; cook and sitr until thickened on medium-high heat.  Add beef mixture; stir-fry 3 minutes or until hot.

Serve over rice or noodles.  Makes 4 servings.

Dos Mamacitas Chorizo Giveaway (deadline today @ 10 pm CST) and Mamacita Meatloaf Recipe

Time flies fast, really.   There’s just few more hours to join in the “meatiest” giveaway ever, the Dos Mamacitas Chorizo Giveaway.   5 winners will each win a 10 lb case of “so awesome, so delicioso” veal chorizos ever, period!  So type the website now, and enter your email address in the website.  So easy….this is the best Holiday gift you’ll ever receive.   Good luck!

Am sharing my Mamacita Meatloaf recipe, just in case you’d win 10 lbs, yes Mama, 10 mucho libras, 10 pounds of chorizos.


Saute for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2 teaspoons oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil

In a large bowl:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb Dos Mamacitas veal chorizo
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs or unseasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup ketchup + more for topping
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1/2 teasooon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 large eggs

Shape into loaf on greased foiled loaf pan.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Spread ketchup over the top and continue baking for 15 minutes.

Shared Recipe: Tenderloin of Beef with Stuffed Spinach Leeks and Goat Cheese

Tenderloin of Beef with Stuffed Spinach Leeks and Goat Cheese
Serves 6-8

(Recipe from SIMPLY ZOV: Rustic Classics with a Mediterranean Twist  by Zov Karamardian
Zov’s Publishing; January 2011; Hardcover/$39.00)

Here is an elegant way to present beef. Butterflying is quite simple and can be done quickly, but you can also have your butcher do it for you.  This dish is perfect to serve for a holiday party or weeknight dinner.

2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup olive oil
1 leek (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced (about 1 ½ cups)
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 1 ½ cups)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
9 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning beef
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning beef
8 ounces fresh goat cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 3-pound whole beef tenderloin, trimmed
Red Wine Sauce (recipe follows)

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, leeks, mushrooms and garlic and cook until the leeks and mushrooms are tender and the liquid has evaporated, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and sauté until tender and the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Season the spinach mixture with thyme, 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Stir in the goat cheese and pine nuts until the cheese is melted and creamy. Set aside to cool while you prepare the beef.

Do-Ahead Tip: Refrigerate the filling for up to 2 days.

Butterfly the beef tenderloin by cutting the tenderloin lengthwise down the center and about two-thirds of the way through the beef. Lay the tenderloin open on a work surface. Using a mallet, pound the beef to 1/4- to 1/2-inch thickness.

Season the beef with salt and pepper, then spread the filling mixture down the center of the tenderloin. Roll the beef around the filling in a tight cylinder, then continue rolling as for a jelly roll to enclose the filling. Using butcher string, tie and secure the beef in 2-inch intervals. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Heat a large roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil to the hot pan, then immediately lay the beef in the pan and quickly brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the beef to a rack set on a heavy large baking sheet. Roast for about 35 minutes for medium-rare doneness. Transfer the beef to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes.

Using a large sharp knife, cut the tenderloin crosswise into slices and transfer to plates. Spoon the sauce over the beef and serve.

Red Wine Sauce
Makes 1-1/3 cups

This richly flavored sauce comes together in minutes.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons minced shallots
½ cup dry red wine (such as Merlot or Syrah)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 ¼ cups beef broth, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the oil and the shallots and sauté until the shallots are tender, about 1 minute.  Add the wine and cook until the wine is reduced by half, about 4 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and cook until it is incorporated with the wine.  Add 1 cup of the beef broth and bring to a boil, then continue to cook another 3 minutes.  Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining ¼ cup of the beef broth.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Add the thyme and butter to the sauce and stir until the sauce is nice and velvety.  Add the salt and pepper.  Adjust the seasonings if necessary.

Do-ahead tip:  cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Zov’s Kitchen Note: This versatile sauce adds extra dimension to grilled or baked chicken as well.  Keep the red wine, and just substitute chicken broth for the beef broth.

Press Release

Fall Harvest Brings a Bounty of Fresh Flavors and Easy Meals Perfect for the Holidays with
Simply Zov: Rustic Classics with a Mediterranean Twist

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.”  Famed chef and restaurateur Zov Karamardian cannot imagine life without flavor.  That is why she created SIMPLY ZOV: RUSTIC CLASSICS WITH A MEDITERRANEAN TWIST (Zov’s Publishing; January 2011; $39.00/hardcover; ISBN: 978-0-9759558-2-6), offering a simple and easy approach to Mediterranean cooking for easy meals any night of the week.

With the fall season come holiday parties and family gatherings and celebrations.  Simply Zov has budget-friendly recipes that can be put together quickly and easily. “My recipes are easy and cost-effective. Most can be prepared ahead of time which means more time to enjoy guests and less time in the kitchen,” Zov explains.

While the base ingredients in Zov’s recipes are items most home cooks already have in their pantry, Zov aims to introduce cooks to some new flavors and ingredients. Simply Zov combines the flavors and spices of Zov’s Mediterranean heritage with more traditional American fare.

Zov loves the holidays, cooking up delicious meals to share with family and friends.  Her earliest memories are of her family seated around the dinner table sharing food, stories and love.  All of her heartwarming recipes were created to bring that family togetherness to tables everywhere.  The easy-to-follow recipes have Zov’s “do-ahead” tips and kitchen notes for alternative ideas.  This unique collection runs the gamut from breakfast to desserts; unique chicken, fish and beef entrées, to remarkable appetizers, soups and salads.

Whether an experience chef or novice, Simply Zov will help anyone create fresh and delicious, affordable meals. This holiday season let Zov Karamardian and Simply Zov put dinner on the table with these delicious fall recipes.

Simply Zov is available in local bookstores and and is now offered as an iPad application and download on Kindle.

Thanks to the Trina Kaye Organization!

Glenn’s Easy Beef Fajitas

No need to mix fajita seasoning ingredients to enjoy anytime, anyday beef fajitas…Glenn came up with this super fast, super easy ala Mexicana dish.


1 pack (about 1 lb) thin round beef, same beef you use for bistek (Philippine beef steaks)

1 green bell pepper, washed, seeded and cut in strips

1/2 packet taco seasoning mix (I use McCormick Mild Taco Seasoning mix, you can add more)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime

medium salsa, sour cream and warm flour tortillas (for special occasions: guacamole, refried beans and shredded cheddar cheese)

Slice beef further into long strips and place in a bowl.  Add taco seasoning mix and lime juice; toss well.  In a wok or large skillet, heat oil and add marinated beef strips; saute then cover until mixture boils.  Uncover, stir fry beef for about 2 minutes, then move them around sides of the wok.  Place green bell pepper strips in center and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes.  Combine beef and bell pepper strips and stir fry for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve hot in warmed flour tortillas spread with sour cream and topped with salsa. Tito Joe gave this dish a 2 thumbs up (of course, after adding drops of real-hot sauce)!

Pass on the warm tortillas please!

My meatloaf is frosted!

Plain meat loaf is easy to make and quick to prepare, but can be boring. As a remedy, I frost it with banana catsup (there are 2 brands in the market, use the Jufran brand, see photo, for this recipe). Yes, Alton Brown, I prefer a sweeter catsup — banana catsup made from mashed banana, sugar, vinegar, and spices. And I stick with just one kind of meat — ground beef. It is inexpensive — buy 3 lb frozen ground beef, use 2 lbs for meat loaf and reserve remaining 1 lb for spaghetti meal the next night. This meatloaf is flavorful and moist!  You sure can use tomato catsup instead of banana catsup, if you prefer a more tangy version, but I usually will add 1 tablespoon brown sugar for every cup of tomato catsup.


2 lbs. ground beef

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 large egg

3/4 cup plain bread crumbs

1 teaspoon italian seasoning

1 cup Jufran banana catsup, divided (3/4 cup with meatloaf mix and 1/4 cup for topping)

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oven to 350 F. Dump the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Spoon and lightly press in a 9 x 5 loaf pan coated with non-stick cooking spray. Bake uncovered, for about 50 minutes. Check internal temperature, thermometer should read 165 F.

Spread remaining 1/4 cup banana catsup and continue baking for 15 minutes more. After baking, discard fat drippings and let meatloaf sit for 10 minutes before removing from pan and slicing to serve.
Serves 4 to 6. I make meatloaf sandwiches for any leftovers (croissants, mayo, mustard, pickle relish and iceberg lettuce)

Could this be THE BEST recipe for meatloaf you’ve ever tried?


Now meatloaf needs an easy side dish to qualify as the perfect comfort foods. How ’bout creamed fresh asparagus, oh yeah!


1 lb. fresh asparagus, woody ends trimmed

1 can cream of chicken soup

about 2 tablespoons liquid coffee creamer or heavy cream

Saute in a nonstick skillet until asparagus is crisp-tender, about 8 minutes.


Every year I have to come up with a meatball recipe for my dear Tito Joe Mauricio….and he always love ’em sweet and sour…mmm, I wonder why!   And the verdict:  Tito Joe adore ’em…yes!



1 egg, beaten

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/2 packet onion soup mix

2 pcs pandesal or buns/rolls

1 medium onion, minced

1 lb ground beef

1/2 pack ground pork

In a large bowl, combine together meatballs ingredients; mixing thoroughly. Line a shallow baking sheet with aluminum foil. Shape into large balls and arrange in prepared baking sheet. Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes or until done.


3 tablespoons cooking oil

1 medium onion, quartered

1 thumb-sized fresh ginger, thinly sliced

2 pcs carrots, peeled and sliced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 celery stalks or Chinese cabbage, chopped

1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks, drained, juice reserved

Sweet & Sour Sauce:

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

3/4 cup banana or tomato catsup

1 tablespoon soy sauce

3 1/2 tablespoons vinegar

2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup water

Add water to drained pineapple juice to measure 1 cup and transfer to a bowl. Add brown sugar, salt, onion powder, ground pepper, catsup, soy sauce and vinegar; stir to mix well. Set aside.

In a wok, saute sliced ginger, green bell pepper and onion in hot oil. Add sliced carrots and celery, stir-fry (don’t overcook). Add sweet & sour sauce, don’t stir and let boil. Remove vegetables and transfer to platter. Add cooked meatballs, pineapple and cornstarch mixture. Simmer until sauce is thickened. Transfer to a serving platter and top with vegetables. Enjoy with a hot white rice!