I WON'T BACK DOWN

Sunday, February 11, 2018

LOWER DIKE HIKE


It is still a bit crisp in the morning, but by 10 a.m., or so, the temperature warms enough to go walking … so we do ;-)

We wanted to see if the turtle has come out yet, so we revisited the lower end of the dike. We weren’t able to get this far last year because there was so much going on, so we were curious to see if he was still around. We didn’t see him, but we did see a few new things – fences were going up everywhere we looked as well as 2 other new items:

A chubby Goat! This is something new this year.
A 'hidden' fish net for dipping; maybe the absent turtle ended up in someone's soup pot; but there are some pretty large carp in this slough too.

And we also some a flock of geese in someone’s back yard. The entire length of the dike we only saw 3 ducks, which is unusual as this place is usually full of ducks …

Geese in a back yard.

It was a fun hike. And we need to get out more.

TORTILLA CASSEROLE


This casserole takes some time to prepare, but it is worth it!

There are several recipes for south-of-the-border-style casseroles that use the bagged chips high in salt and cholesterol; this recipe uses regular unsalted corn tortillas that is lower in fat and sodium. The tofu provides low-fat protein and texture without overshadowing the far south flavor.

This also freezes well if you want to half the recipe and serve one later.


TORTILLA CASSEROLE ~ 8 servings

1 TBSP vegetable Oil * 2 medium Onions, chopped (about 1-1/3 cups) * 4 large cloves of Garlic, minced (4 teaspoons) * 1 28-ounce can Tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juice * 2 TBSP. Chili Powder * 1 ½ teaspoons Oregano * ½ teaspoon Caraway Seeds (optional) * ½ teaspoon Cumin * 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne, or ¼ teaspoon ground Black pepper * 4 cups cooked small Red Beans or Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained, partially mashed * 1 4-ounce can Green Chilies, finely chopped * 1 pound firm-style Tofu, crumbled * 12 Corn Tortillas, toasted in oven for 10 minutes @ 350 until crisp * 1 1/3 cups coarsely shredded Monterey Jack or mild Cheddar Cheese (about 5 ounces)

In a deep skillet or medium saucepan, heat the oil and cook onions and garlic for 3 minutes – stirring often.

Add the tomatoes and their juice, chili powder, oregano, caraway, cumin, and cayenne or black pepper; bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes – stirring often. Remove pan from heat.


Add the beans, chilies, tofu, and stir the ingredients well.

Bean and Tofu mixture.
Crisping Tortillas.

To assemble the casserole, spread a thin layer of a third of the bean sauce over the bottom of baking dish. Spread a layer of half of the broken tortillas over the sauce: repeat these two layers again. Use the last third of sauce to cover the second layer of broken tortillas and sprinkle the cheese over entire top of casserole.

Broken crispy Tortillas.

Cover baking dish with foil and bake in a 375-degree oven for about 20 minutes. If the casserole has been frozen, bake it for 30 – 40 minutes.