Taco Casserole

All of my recipes lately have been “main courses” as I’m limited in what I can make while we’re here. I did bake some package brownies the other day, but boy they just aren’t the same as the homemade kind with gooey fudge frosting. I promise I’ll expand my recipe categories to include breads, breakfast, dessert, salads etc when we return to the states. Oh  how I miss my shiny red kitchen aid!

kitchenaid_mixerOkay, so I realize that was a BIT over dramatic, but I’ve been reading cooking blogs lately & it’s driving me insane. There are so many yummy desserts, quick breads, muffins etc. that people have been posting and I long to make. Have I mentioned I also miss chicken? It’s tough to find it here… they eat mostly fish & pork. Soon & very soon our eating repertoire will be increased 🙂

Back on track… Taco Casserole!

Last night I decided to make Taco Casserole to give us a ‘taste of home’ while in Norway. It worked. The apartment smelled amazingly of Tex Mex spices. I would make a few changes in the recipe if I were to bake this dish again, but all in all, it was pretty tasty.

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 can of beans drained & rinsed (I actually used chili beans b/c that was my only option here… but I would suggest either pinto beans or black beans)
  • 1 jar of chunky salsa
  • 1/2 lb of pasta noodles (caveat, I would not include the noodles next time, see extended notes below on this)
  • 1 package shredded mexican blend cheese
  • dash of hot sauce
  • tortilla chips, crunched up for the topping

Start by boiling the noodle until al dente; they will continue cooking in the casserole dish and will soak up some of the yummy salsa juices this way!

While the noodles are boiling, saute the dices onions & ground beef together until cooked through. Add a few Tbsp of water & the entire seasoning packet to the meat mixture and simmer for approx 5 minutes to let the flavors incorporate. Add the beans & salsa to the fry pan & warm through. I would throw in a few dashes of hot sauce at this point as well.

When the noodles are done cooking, dump the meat mixture & the noodles into the cassarole dish & stir till combined. Top the cassarole with crushed tortilla chips & shredded mexican cheese. Bake at 350 for approx 30-40 min uncovered or until warmed through & the cheese is bubbly/brown.

Thoughts on next time…

While the noodles in this dish tasted totally fine, they seemed very ‘un mexican’~ I’m sure that my Texas friends will scold me for combining noodles & texmex ingredients. It just seems wrong. Most often, you see mexican/taco casseroles with tortillas or crushed tortilla chips in place of noodles. Next time I think I’ll go this route. Personally, I’ll probably use 8-10 small flour tortillas cut into 4 quarters and then layer the dish. Sauce, tortillas, chips, cheese repeat. I think that would make for a fantastic dish. Also, I think i would add either a can of green chiles or some sliced jalapenos to the dish. I’d mix the green chiles into the casserole. I’d likely top the dish with the sliced jalapenos around the top. Oh! And definitely corn, yes, corn would make this dish EVEN better! Can you tell I think this is a fun & very manipulatable dish?  I totally recommend you try it!

Good luck & feel free to add your own twist on it!! It’s really pretty darn tough to screw up a casserole 🙂

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