Lately, I've been consumed with concern about how Ben is going to get through life on his own, as a vegetarian, without his doting grandmother to run interference for him. Then, I had a Big AHA! moment, an epiphany, a breakthrough! I would teach him. Seems obvious to you, I'm sure, but not so easy for me who is so reluctant to ask for help, to relinquish the reins, to cede control, and to sit back and let someone else f**k up. So, we started yesterday. I asked him to prepare a week's worth of menus, of food he would consider eating, and he did it. It wasn't too bad, he has apparently picked up a bit of knowledge about nutrition and balanced meals. Only thing is, no meat. He hates meat. He doesn't like to eat critters, and he doesn't like the taste and feel of FLESH in his mouth. I get it, although I like meat and sometimes crave it. A part of my big AHA! was the realization that we could start with a well-balanced vegetarian meal and simply add meat for the carnivorous football player and occasionally carnivorous grandmother. But, before we even got started with Ben's menus, I happened to see a Martha Stewart video featuring Sarah Carey. I've become addicted to these five times a week little videos with the quirky Sarah preparing a simple dish each day. Today she did "Mexican-Style Lasagna."
Logan was skeptical (as he sits at the table adorned with the table runner, place mats, and napkins I made to celebrate the month of June). But, OMG, we all loved it -- I give it five stars and will make it again and again. Here's the recipe:
Mexican-Style LasagnaEveryday Food, March 2005 http://www.marthastewart.com/315670/mexican-style-lasagna
- Prep Time 20 minutes
- Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield Serves 4
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 4 scallions coarsely, chopped
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 10 ounces fresh baby spinach
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- 1 can (15.5 ounces) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup prepared salsa (mild or medium)
- 8 ounces pepper Jack cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a food processor, combine cilantro, scallions, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper with as much spinach as will fit; pulse, adding remaining spinach in batches, until coarsely chopped.
- Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Lay 4 tortillas in bottom of dish (they will overlap slightly). Layer with half of beans, salsa, spinach mixture, and cheese; repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with cheese and pressing in gently.
- Cover dish with foil; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes; remove foil, and continue baking until golden, 15 to 20 minutes more. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Ben made the whole thing himself, from start to clean up, following the recipe literally, (you have to know Ben to realize how important this is). The only change he made was to use whole wheat instead of corn tortillas.
Ben made it, Logan loved it. If you know our family dynamics, you will realize what a powerful statement that is. It was a VEGETARIAN dish fed to a CARNIVORE. It was made entirely by BEN and consumed by LOGAN. That is huge!
Now, as a concession to our carnivore/football player/imbiber of great numbers of calories and vast quantities of protein, I also served a rotisserie chicken as a side dish to humor/nourish him. I will serve some of the leftover chicken with tomorrow's vegetarian soup that Ben has planned.
Ben and I went grocery shopping and bought the ingredients for his week's worth of menus. Tomorrow we will have a vegetarian soup with sobu noodles and many, many vegetables. I'm really looking forward to this week of cooking with Ben. Today was an enormous success and I see more of the same in front of us.