Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

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Any parent who isn’t June Cleaver, or increasingly common Ward, laments the fact that quality meals often come at the expense of time — and who has any extra of that? This culinary quickstep, Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna, is so easy, tasty and quick to prepare your kids won’t know that it’s also a Trojan horse for getting them to eat their veggies. It’s been kid-tested by our staffers’ families, so we know we’re not giving you a load of horse buns!

• Prep Time: 15 min.
• Cook Time: 30 min.
• Cleanup: A drag no matter how short it is!

Ingredients
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes — seasoned if you prefer
1 (14 oz.) can sweet corn kernels, drained (you may use frozen corn instead)
1 (14 oz.) can mixed vegetables, drained (again, substitute frozen if you prefer)
1 (15 oz.) can refried beans
1 (15 oz.) can black or pinto beans
1 package taco seasoning
1 small jar of salsa (if you need to kick up the spice)
8 tortillas (we suggest whole wheat)
1 package (about 2 cups) shredded cheese (Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Mozzarella)
sour cream, optional
veggie “meat” crumbles, optional (but taste really good)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375° F
In a large mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, corn, mixed veggies, beans and taco seasoning (if you are so inclined, add the salsa and/or the veggie crumbles to the bean mixture). Mix thoroughly.
Spray a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish (or round 9- x 3-inch dish) with cooking spray, line with a layer of tortillas, tearing them and overlapping if necessary to get an even layer covering the bottom of the dish. Spread half of the bean mixture in a layer over the tortillas. (You may add a separate layer of veggie crumbles if not used in the bean mixture). Sprinkle with half the cheese. Repeat with remaining tortillas, bean mixture, (veggie crumbles) and cheese. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Let stand 1 or 2 minutes.

Serving Instructions
Cut into squares (or slices, if using a round dish) to serve; makes about eight servings. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream (optional).
Don’t feel locked into the specific ingredients. The nice thing about this dish is the ability to change up the ingredients to cater to your audience. Replace corn with green beans, or mixed veggies with cooked carrots, etc. Any way you bake it, it’ll be a crowd pleaser that gets the vegetables where they need to be — and makes you the hero for your cooking prowess.

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