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Mexican Casserole and the Paleo Pursuit

Con Ensalada!

So, lately, I’ve been traveling a lot and eating…and eating.  I’ve gained a lot of weight and in my attempt to detox, cleanse, and slim down, I’ve started a bit of a modified paleo diet.  True primals eschew grains of any kind, legumes, and dairy.  Oh no, not me – give up beans, and cheese? Never!  So, I’ve cut out wheat, potatoes, pasta, and rice.  I’ll do corn products, provided they are whole.  No processed corn which is found in 90% of everything at the supermarket.

I’ve read several good books on Paleo and one called Wheat Belly – check it out at Amazon.  They explain the link between visceral belly fat and carbohydrate/wheat consumption.  I have a science degree, but it’s in earth and physical science, not biology, so this information was new–and shocking–to me.  So, join me as I embark on a quest to lose 8% body fat and 25 lbs of belly and butt!

I found a wonderful healthy living blog written by a Charlotte, North Carolina activist and foodie named, eponymously, Food Babe.  She has taught me so much about eliminating processed foods and toxins.  I now have a cup of warm water with lemon and cayenne each morning to set my body up for the digestive details of the day.  The pepper, which is inhaled through the mouth and into the sinuses helps tremendously with my sinuses.  This recipe for Mexican Casserole is hers – it was meatless, but I chose to add meat.  Enjoy!

WARNING: This recipe does not follow the traditional way we’ve posted before.  There won’t be an ingredient list or directions at the bottom.  This is a “throw it together” recipe.

Chop up some zucchini – two or three.  I used two.  Measurements here aren’t very exact for the veggies.  Whatever you have works.  I also added an ear’s worth of fresh corn and one each of red bell pepper and green bell pepper.  If I’d had non-frozen squash, that would have gone in, but after blanching and freezing last week, I didn’t feel like defrosting this week.

Open a can of organic kidney beans and a can of black beans and rinse the gook away.  Yes, gook is a word.  Add one seeded and chopped serrano pepper.  Or a jalapeño.  Whatever you have.

Saute one medium white or yellow onion, chopped, with 3-4 cloves of garlic.  I use the jar of already minced garlic, so I threw in two spoonfuls. Then, add the veggies.  If you have cans of preserved crushed tomatoes, like I do, add one of those pint jars.  If not, a 14oz can of crushed tomatoes from the store works – organic, always.  Cook until veggies are tender and some of the liquid is reduced.

Brown up one pound of ground beef.  85/15 is good.  Grass-fed beef is good.  A bit of chuck you had your butcher grind for you is better.

Do not, I repeat, do not use a taco seasoning packet.  I used Alton Brown’s Taco Potion #19 and a quarter-cup of water.  You can find it here.

See how pretty it is – and we did it all without any potato starch, citric acid, or maltodextrin (fake corn).  Add this to the veggie mixture.

I didn’t get any pictures of the layering process.  Open a can of enchilada sauce – the best one you can find – or make it yourself.  Spread some on the bottom of a casserole dish and place as many corn tortillas as you need to in order to get coverage.  I used 3.  Spread a layer of the mixture, and repeat, with enchilada sauce to start until you’ve used up all of the mixture.  Top with shredded cheese – real cheese, not the stuff in the bag – it has cellulose in it.  Cellulose is wood pulp.  Why is this in “natural” cheese?  Hello, Kraft? Anyone home?  Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30 minutes until it’s all warm and gooey.  Use a big spoon or a knife/spatula combo to get it out of the pan.  Top with yogurt or sour cream and a green salad and you have a meal!