Sunday, June 9, 2013

Black Bean Tortilla Casserole

Back from a few weeks break.  Things have been crazy busy over here like usual, but the type of busy is different than usual.  My husband and I are moving out of NY in about 7 weeks.  We are somewhat preparing, but mostly doing a lot of thinking.  We're going to have to get rid of about half of our stuff and I'll drive a giant moving truck all the way to Michigan - the same way I got here over 6 years ago.  I have been doing so much thinking lately, wondering if I am making the right decision for the right reasons.  Hubby and I want to open our vegan cafe, which we want to do in MI, since there really isn't anything there right now.  And of course we want to be close to my family since his family is all the way back in the Dominican Republic.  Three of my siblings now have children and I'm assuming Hubbs and I will be next (although still not happening for a couple years - at least that's the plan).  And I would like our kids to be raised with their family nearby.  I am doing well in my career here and now, making good money.  And until we open our cafe, we will have to work jobs there, which I am sure will not be close in payment as I am making now.  See - selfish reasons. 

This is ultimately for the best and I really do miss my family.  It's also that I have spent my whole adult life here and am used to the convenience it offers.  And don't even get me started on how easy it is to get great vegan food here!  I have to eat as much as possible before I leave!  The funny thing is that I literally cook almost every day, all the time, so what am I really worried about?  Hubbs and I rarely eat takeout or delivery.  It's most likely just that it is there if we "need" it and tasty and easy.  So you see  - this is just a fraction of everything I have been thinking of, taking away from my time on this blog.  I am also really trying to finish the business plan for our cafe and testing and re-testing all the recipes, making sure they are perfect.  It takes a lot of time and money, let me tell you.  But I still also cook almost everyday and still take a ton of pictures and record the recipes, so it makes sense to continue with this blog, even if it is just a record of all the fun tasty things I have made.  So, this is one I made a few weeks ago that I got off of fatfreevegan.  I changed some things and it turned out tasty, but I will make some changes the next time - like adding some tasty vegan cheese on top.  But overall it was a tasty, hearty dinner.  And gf to boot!

Black Bean Tortilla Casserole:

Giant mixed green salad with homemade ranch dressing,
roasted broccoli & cauliflower & the casserole.

Serves: 6

Sauteed Veggies:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, diced
1 large jalapeno, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
sea salt and black pepper

2 1/2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons superfine brown rice flour
1 teaspoon unchicken boullion
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 oz. can diced green chiles
15 oz. fire roasted tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

15 corn tortillas, or as needed
2-3 cups cooked black beans
enchilada sauce - store bought or homemade
sliced black olives
shredded vegan cheese (definitely going to use this next time)

1.  Prepare the sauteed veggies: in a large saute pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and allow it to become hot.  Add the onions, jalapeno, garlic, red pepper and cilantro. Saute for several minutes until softened.  Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.  Set aside to cool.
2.  Prepare the sauce: in a medium saucepan add the almond milk, superfine brown rice flour, boullion and black pepper.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring periodically.  Once the mixture begins to simmer, stir more frequently as it begins to thicken. 
3.  Once the mixture is quite thick, reduce the heat and add the can of green chiles, can of fire roasted tomatoes and chopped cilantro.  Stir together well and season to taste.
4. Prepare the casserole:  spray nonstick spray oil onto the bottom and sides of a 9x13" baking pan.  Place a ladle of the enchilada sauce on the bottom, then layer the tortillas on the bottom.  Spread half of the onion mixture, black beans and 1/3 of the sauce.  If you want to use the vegan cheese, add some now.  Add some enchilada sauce.  Add another layer of the tortillas, followed by the remaining 1/2 onion mixture, black beans, 1/3 sauce, some cheese perhaps and enchilada sauce. 
5.  Finish the casserole with the last layer of tortillas and enchilada sauce.  Add the black olives (and cheese if you would like - but add it before the olives).
6.  Place the casserole in a 375 degree oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until bubbly and cooked through.
7.  Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing.



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