This Recipe: • Includes Make-Ahead Steps •
My husband is fun x 100. Seriously the funnest person I know. (Funnest? Yup. It’s a word. Trust me … I live it.)
From laboriously putting up holiday decorations to ingeniously turning minor holidays into full-blown events … he makes sure our family doesn’t take celebrations lightly.
- When hosting a Spider-Man party for your three-year-old nephew … after the usual themed plates, napkins, balloons and banners, also be sure to purchase a high-end Spider-Man costume. Why? Because it’s awesome and way more fun! To my husband, this is obvious. Similar logic can be applied to other events, such as princess parties. (He purchased a jester costume for himself and rented a tiny frog-prince costume for our son … no, really.)
- Also – you haven’t decorated properly unless it required schematic drawings, five trips to the hardware store for supplies, and perilous journeys up ladders of any kind or onto the roof during Christmastime snowstorms. (I’m really only joking a little bit.)
- Lastly – when hosting a family reunion, always have a theme and a ridiculous name. This is why our annual fall gathering is called Thanks-o-Weenie. (You know … Thanksgiving smashed into Halloween!) And we can’t just meet up with cousins at the beach (much too straight-forward). No, in our family we have BeaChappeLooza! And our much-anticipated spring to-do is dubbed St. Peaster’s Day. (Did ya figure it out? It’s easy … St. Patrick’s Day mashed with Easter!!)
To support such rampant creation of fun, we have bins in the basement filled with costumes, streamers, and random decorations for occasions ranging from:
- tropical luaus (Life-sized collapsible cardboard palm tree, anyone?)
- to St. Patrick’s Day (My husband absolutely wears a Lucky-the-Leprechaun hat to the office.)
- to the Super Bowl (I mean, why not?)
- to (Uh-huh …. you knew this is where I was headed, right?!?) … Cinco de Mayo!
Yep, Cinco de Mayo. I’m the proud owner of multiple sombreros, festive maracas, tchotchke ponchos, Mariachi vests, and chili-pepper-shaped sunglasses. Everything we need to make Cinco de Mayo memorable … even on a school night. (‘Cause, you know, these celebrations have changed just a wee bit since we had kiddos.)
Gretchen’s jaw hit the floor when she saw the amount of props I pulled out for this photo shoot. Yes, there was a lot of festiveness going on!
With so much decorating and festiving-it-up, I’m lucky to have this killer-good but insanely easy recipe ready to throw together before the Mariachi band shows up. (If you read our post on Mexican Fiesta Black Bean Hummus, you know the band is on its way.)
Just mix up the super-quick sauce and layer everything in the pan, lasagna-style. You don’t even have to thaw or pre-cook the ravioli (total time saver!). And you can prep the whole thing hours ahead!
It bakes up perfectly, family-pleasingly delicious … leaving you with oodles of extra time to dig out the decorations!
Happy Cinco de Mayo, friends! Hope it’s your funnest yet!
- 2 16-ounce jars mild thick and chunky salsa (see note)
- 1 10-ounce can mild enchilada sauce
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 25-ounce bag frozen beef ravioli (see note)
- 8 ounces (2 cups) shredded, reduced-fat 4-cheese Mexican blend
- Optional fillings/toppings: chopped cilantro, black beans, sliced black olives, chopped jalapeños, canned green chilies, thinly sliced green onions, reduced-fat sour cream, Mexican hot sauce
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Mix salsa, enchilada sauce, corn and water together in a medium bowl.
- Spread 1½ cups salsa mixture in the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 baking pan.
- Spread about half of the ravioli evenly across the salsa.
- Sprinkle ravioli evenly with half of the cheese, then spread remaining ravioli on top.
- Pour the remaining salsa mixture over ravioli layers, then sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake, covered with foil, for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 15-20 minutes or until ravioli is tender and cheese is bubbly.
- Let stand 10-15 minutes to allow sauce to thicken, if desired.
Salsa: We found that thick and chunky salsa works best for this recipe because it is much thicker than typical jarred salsas. (We used Chi-Chi's Mild Thick and Chunky throughout most of our testing.) You can certainly substitute your favorite, regular salsa or whatever you have in the pantry. However, your final dish will be much runnier and saucier because of the looser consistency of the salsa.
Ravioli: We used Rosetto brand in testing this recipe. We always recommend whole-grain pasta when possible, but the whole-wheat ravioli available in our local stores is significantly higher in fat than the ravioli we chose to use here. Also, there is a notable difference in the fat content of various brands of traditional, frozen ravioli. Read the labels carefully. We encourage you to choose higher-fiber, organic or all-natural products whenever it's feasible.
Make-Ahead: You can assemble this casserole earlier in the day. Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to bake it.
If you love the flavors or the no-bake technique of this recipe, I have two additional recipe suggestions to share with you. I’ve been making both for years, and they’re easy and delicious. One is Fiesta Ravioli, which long ago taught me that combining Italian ravioli with a Mexican sauce is a yummy culture clash. The other is Weeknight Ravioli Bake, which showed me how to create a last-minute dinner solution with frozen ravioli that didn’t even need to be thawed – brilliant! Over time, these two recipes converged in my head and evolved into this wonderful Mexican Ravioli Lasagna. Enjoy!