Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Gina's Taco Casserole
This recipe comes from one of my very best friends, Gina. She tells me this taco casserole is one of her family's favorite meals! I adapted it slightly from her original. The thing I like about this meal is I can make it in the morning and then pop it in the fridge until I'm ready to cook it for dinner. If you do this, make sure you bring the casserole to room temperature before baking (30 minutes sitting on the counter should do it). My husband is SUPER picky when it comes to casseroles and usually doesn't like them very much...BUT! he gave this dish his stamp of approval and went back for seconds! Score!
1 Tbl olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 lb. lean ground beef (or if you prefer, ground turkey or cooked shredded chicken)
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 1.25oz pkg. taco seasoning (I used McCormick)
Approx. 1/3 to 1/2 bag of tortilla chips
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (use pinto beans if you prefer)
1 15 oz can of white corn, drained
1 4 oz can diced green chilies
1 15 oz can of sliced black olives
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350F.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add meat and brown until almost cooked, breaking meat into crumbles with a wooden spoon. Add taco seasoning, tomato sauce and water to pan. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Lightly spray a 9X13 inch baking pan. Use your hand to crush approx. 1/3 to 1/2 a bag of tortilla chips. Add the crushed chips to the bottom of the pan to form a "crust".
Add the black beans, corn & chilies to the meat mixture and stir well to incorporate. GENTLY spoon mixture over the chips, trying not to disturb the "crust". Evenly sprinkle the sliced olives over the meat mixture. Evenly sprinkle cheese on top of the whole dish. Cover loosely with foil.
Bake in 350F oven until heated through, 25 minutes. Turn up the oven to 400F and take off the foil. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until cheese is bubbly. After removing from oven, let casserole stand for 5 minutes on the counter before serving. For an optional dollop of calories, add a spoonful of sour cream and/or salsa and/or guacamole to each serving.
Serve with extra chips (use the chips as a spoon to scoop up the casserole- tastes like nachos!). A simple side salad pairs well with this casserole, too! Ole!