Quick and easy seem to be a busy home cook’s favorite kind of recipe these days, especially with school schedules in full swing and the busy holiday season literally lurking just around the corner. For the sake of my own sanity, and to avoid eating out during the week, I need at least a couple of go-to quick and easy meals in my back pocket, and I’m happy to report this Two-Bean Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna is now one of them.
My family doesn’t realize it, but we eat mostly meatless meals – several times a week. A huge perk of most meatless recipes is that they come together extremely quick and easy since you are usually skipping an entire step of the cooking process. Beans and whole grains are ingredients I rely on heavily for protein when I’m cooking meatless, so it’s safe to say that you can always find them in my pantry.
With the help of my friend and chef Connie Guttersen – whom I’ve gotten to know well over the years while working together with Bush’s Beans – I put this simple Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna together for my family and to my happy surprise, in just 30 minutes. I’ve always enjoyed Connie’s health-conscious recipes, so I was excited to be able to brainstorm with her on this recipe. Our focus was to keep things simple by using everyday items most of have on hand in the pantry and freezer, including Bush’s beans, salsa, frozen corn and tortillas.
During my time getting to know Connie, I’ve learned that although she’s a chef, cookbook author and dietician, she’s also a lot like me – a mom who needs to feed her busy family. I asked Connie to share more about how she gets meals on her family’s table:
As a busy mom, what is your biggest challenge with feeding your family?
Getting motivated and creative to come up with new and interesting meals that are beyond the same 6 I always make. I sometimes feel overwhelmed with just the thought of preparing a home-cooked meal that I tend to not think out of the box…I think today’s families are really busy, which means we are busier as moms too.
Thinking about ways to provide healthy meals without compromising flavors and favorites that everyone likes.
What are some of your favorite go-to quick meals to put together when you are short on time but need to put dinner on the table?
Favorite go to meals begin with my family’s favorites flavors and ingredients. Latin and Mediterranean flavor basics are always a hit. Our favorite meals are seasonal - summer is all about the grill and composed salads with interesting ingredients to make it the main meal. These include beans, artichoke hearts, whole grains like quinoa, interesting greens, and flavor packed vinaigrettes. Mediterranean flavors work great in the fall for pasta dishes. Twenty minutes or less, whether it is pesto or a red tomato sauce, I will add beans, red chili flakes, and fresh herbs to make a meal – topping it off with Parmesan cheese is always a hit. Tacos with different salsas, relishes, and fillings are a big hit and so easy to prepare – especially if they include a variety of beans and salsa.
What are some ingredients you always have in your refrigerator, freezer or pantry to help you put together healthy, quick meals?
canned BUSH’s Beans
different rice varieties
broth canned tomatoes
canned artichoke hearts
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Variety of vinegars
canned adobo peppers
jar of roasted peppers
inexpensive cooking wine
frozen proteins like shrimp, chicken tenders
veggies like spinach, corn, and edamame are great to add to soups
This “lasagna” comes together in just a few steps. And the best part? You could actually prep it the night before or early in the day and just pop in the oven at dinner time to make it that much easier on yourself. If you do that, I suggest waiting to add the last of the salsa and cheese until you are ready to bake. Either way, all you need is about 30 minutes to put it all together and next thing you know you’ll be giving yourself a good ole pat on the back. That’s always a good feeling in my book.
(I am in a paid partnership with Bush’s Beans. All opinions are my own)