One door closes; another opens. As we prepare to say goodbye to 2014, I find myself feeling relief. This was a year of many highs and lows and right now I find myself dwelling on the lows. It’s ok, though. New Years Eve is about celebrating new beginnings and a fresh start. There are a lot of exciting things on the horizon and I’m happy to be closing one chapter of my life and moving forward to bigger and better things. 2015 is going to be an amazing year. I can just feel it.
One of the highlights of this year for me was The Big Harvest Potluck in late September. It was a food blogger event in Pennsylvania and the entire weekend was really special. I stayed with my good friend Caroline (who writes the lovely blog Taste Love & Nourish) and reconnected with a lot of wonderful people I’ve come to respect and admire. The weather was perfect. The food was delicious. I got to cuddle with adorable babies.
We were served a fantastic Mexican Tortilla Casserole and everyone could not stop raving about it. It was perfect, family-style comfort food for a family-style gathering. I finally prepared it at home this past weekend and it was as good as I remembered it. I don’t know what took me so long; each bite took me back to that weekend and felt like medicine for the soul. I made a few minor changes to the recipe. I used corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas. I also swapped out regular canned tomatoes for fire-roasted canned tomatoes. Their version suggests using either shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese and I was lucky enough to find a 50/50 combo bag at Whole Foods. It adds some nice color.
If you’re looking for an easy dish to serve at your New Years Eve party, I highly recommend this casserole. Your guests will be thrilled. Trust me. I hope you all have a wonderful, delicious, happy and safe New Years. Cheers!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 can (14 ounces) fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained, ¼ cup juice reserved
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 cans (15.5 ounces) black or pinto beans (or a mix), drained
- 1½ cups frozen corn
- 3 cups coarsely chopped spinach
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 8 corn tortillas
- 2 cups (8 ounces) Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese (I used both)
- Optional toppings: chopped fresh cilantro, chopped fresh jalapeño, sour cream, salsa
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray an 8x11 or 9x9 inch baking dish (or a similar sized pan) with cooking spray.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skilled over medium low heat and the onion, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Stir for a few minutes until the onions are soft and the spices are fragrant. Add the tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, tomato paste, beans, corn and spinach. Stir and cook for another minute or two until the spinach has wilted and the corn has thawed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place two corn tortillas in the bottom of the prepared pan and top with ¼ of the bean mixture, spreading the mixture evenly. Sprinkle evenly with ½ cup of the cheese. Repeat until all of the ingredients have been used up, finishing with the cheese.
- Bake until the tortilla casserole has cooked through, approximately 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting.
- Serve with garnishes, if desired (I highly recommend them!).