DEAR SUN SPOTS: In 2009 (I think) the Sun Journal ran a column called (I think) How To Fill Your Stomach Without Emptying Your Wallet. It featured delicious but inexpensive recipes. One of them was called (I think) tortilla pie. It involved flour tortillas, ground beef, refried beans, cheese and tomato sauce. It was like a Mexican take on lasagna, very tasty and it made a lot. I have lost the recipe and I hope you can reprint it.
Thank you for all you do. — Chris, Monmouth
ANSWER: The How To Fill Your Stomach Without Emptying Your Wallet recipes were part of a series the Sun Journal did called Tough Money, Smart People. Unfortunately, that series appeared during a transition in computer technology and is not available online.
Sun Spots also enjoyed that series and saved several clippings. She found a recipe in her file with a different name, but it does include the ingredients you mentioned, so it may be the one you seek.
The Sun Journal’s Jody Jalbert provided “burrito bake.” It calls for:
2 cans tomato sauce (15 ounces)
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 pounds ground beef or turkey
9 large (9-inch) flour tortillas
3 cups shredded cheddar (reduced fat works well)
1 can refried beans, warmed
Optional: chili peppers, chopped onion or guacamole
In sauce pan combine tomato sauce, water, chili powder, garlic, oregano and cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered 4-5 minutes. In a skillet brown the ground beef or turkey, drain, stir in one third of the sauce. Spread another one third of the sauce on the bottom of a greased 9 by 13 baking pan. Place three tortillas over sauce, tearing to fit pan. Spoon half of meat mixture over tortillas, sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Add three more tortillas, spread refried beans over tortillas, top with remaining meat mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Layer remaining tortillas, top with remaining sauce, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Top with chili peppers, chopped onion or guacamole (optional).
Makes 10-12 servings. Great leftovers and freezes well.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: Some time ago, you had a column about chop suey. I would be interested in obtaining the recipe that appeared on the Curran beansprout package. I still make this recipe but am guessing on the exact amounts. Thank you. — No Name via email
ANSWER: Good memory. This recipe was in the column back in 2007!
The Curran family’s chop suey
1 pound beef, chicken, pork, shrimp or lobster
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups of chopped celery
Cook all of these then add in 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 cup of beef or chicken stock, 1 tablespoon molasses, 2 packs of beansprouts. Don’t cook the sprouts for too long. They cook quickly! Add some salt and pepper to taste.
Mix 4 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/4 cup of cold water together. You can also mix molasses with this mixture if you’d like. Once it’s thickened, serve and enjoy. This would be good with some rice.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: I enjoy reading Sun Spots and all the wonderful information provided.
I would like an old-fashioned recipe for matzo balls to put in my chicken soup. I have used the packaged mix, which is very good but hard to find and quite expensive.
I also would enjoy a recipe for egg noodle kugal. — Nancy Roy, Auburn
DEAR SUN SPOTS: The Minot Historical Society is in the process of compiling a community cookbook. We are looking for your favorite recipes, from everyday to unique dishes and everything in between. If you would like, you may include where the recipe came from and/or a tidbit that you would like to share.
Submissions are needed by the first week of April. Please send them to Minot Historical Society, c/o Nicole Hastings, 117 Harris Road, Minot, ME 04258. Or email them to MinotHistoricalSociety@gmail.com.
If you would like to advertise your business in our cookbook, please mail us a copy of your business card with a suggested donation of $20. Checks may be made out to the Minot Historical Society. Please write in the memo MHS cookbook. — Whit via email
This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.