Over a Cup: Recipe combines taco salad, casserole
Our family loves Mexican casseroles, and most of them like Mexican food to be spicy — really spicy. Not me. So when I made this new recipe Monday, I used mild taco seasoning and salsa. I figured family members could spice it up however they desired. So, if you decide to make the recipe, use mild to hot ingredients, your choice.
The casserole is a combination of taco salad and a baked dish. The uncooked onion, green pepper, tomatoes and olives give the casserole a crunchy taste, but I think that you could add them to the meat mixture when cooking it, too. This makes a lot of casserole. We put leftovers in the microwave, even after the toppings had been added, and it was fine re-heated that way.
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1 pound ground beef
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
1 (16-ounce) jar chunky salsa (mild or hot)
1 package taco seasoning (mild or hot)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 small can (about 1/4 cup) sliced black olives
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomato
1 cup shredded Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Mexican blend cheese
2 1/2 cups coarsely-broken tortilla chips
1 cup shredded lettuce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take out a 9×13-inch casserole dish. It does not have to be greased. In a skillet, brown the ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon. While it browns, chop the onion, tomato and green pepper. When the beef is browned, add the refried beans, and mix well. Add the salsa and taco seasoning. Mix and heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Crush the tortilla chips, and place 2 cups of the chips in the bottom of the casserole dish. Cover evenly with the beef mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup of chopped tomato, chopped onion, chopped green pepper, olives and cheese. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the casserole ingredients are bubbly. Before serving, add the topping: 1/2 cup of chopped tomato, 1/2 cup of tortilla chips and 1 cup shredded lettuce. Note: I added the olives to the topping instead of sprinkling it over the meat mixture. Serve with sour cream or ranch dressing. If you want another vegetable, corn might be a good choice.
The “out-of-session season” is winding down. It’s back to work on the Joint Budget Committee starting on Nov. 12.