Cilantro and Tex Mex Lasagna

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Today the subject was coriander/cilantro during my weekly chat with Matt Swaimon the Sonrise Morning Show, Sacred Heart Radio. I also shared a yummy recipe using this lovely and citrusy tasting herb.

CORIANDER/CILANTRO
Coriander is referenced several times in the Old Testament.
Exodus 16:31 ….”And the food became known as manna – meaning  “What is it? It was white like coriander seed and flat and tasted like honey bread.”
Cilantro is such a popular herb and it comes from the Coriander seed. 
 They can’t be used interchangeably.
Well, cilantro has a different flavor profile and has a citrusy, green taste. And if you use too much, it tastes like soap!  That’s why I think lots of folks don’t like cilantro. We use cilantro in Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian and Southwestern dishes.
Coriander is the seed of the plant and has a lemony taste;  I use it in marinades and with root vegetables.
Coriander is so viable that seeds found in Egyptian tombs were still able to sprout.
Cilantro seems to go to seed fast in hot weather.
It really does best in cooler weather, and the funny thing about cilantro is that it can’t be pinched back a lot like, say, basil, as it doesn’t recover as well.  There are slower bolting varieties available now, but even so, it bolts to seed pretty quick. I like to plant it in early spring and then make successive plantings every few weeks. You can also plant the seeds in the fall – just sprinkle them with soil and let them sleep all winter long. They’ll be among the first herbs to sprout in the spring.
What are the health benefits of Cilantro?
It cools a hot tummy and that’s why it’s used along lots of spicy foods.  It contains calcium and helps remove things like lead from the body. It also has a constituent in it that inhibits/helps prevent salmonella.  Cilantro is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. And it’s a heart healthy herb.
TEX MEX LASAGNA 
Corn tortillas give this a Mexican flavor. We like the flavor of corn tortillas; however, flour tortillas work well, too.I like to serve this with bowls of sliced avocado, sour cream and extra Mexican cheese. Adapted from a Holly Clegg recipe.

 

1 pound ground round or ground sirloin
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice, either regular or with chilies
4 oz. can diced green chilies, drained, your choice of mild or spicy
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 generous teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large egg whites
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
4 (6-inch) corn tortillas cut into quarters
Approx. 2 cups frozen corn, thawed completely  (opt)
3 cups Mexican blend cheese plus extra for garnish
Fresh cilantro for garnish

 

Preheat oven 350. Cook meat in skillet until done. Add tomatoes, chilies, chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir until blended and set aside. Blend egg whites with cottage cheese and set aside. Spray a 9×13 pan. Cover bottom with 6 quartered tortillas. Layer corn, half of the meat mixture, half of the Mexican cheese, 5 quartered tortillas and all of the cottage cheese mixture. Spread rest of meat mixture on top along with rest of tortillas, and top with rest of cheese. Bake, uncovered, 30-40 minutes.  Sprinkle with Cilantro and serve.
Tip: Sub in ground chicken or turkey – up the spices a bit if you like.

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