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Beef and Bean Taco Casserole

September 13, 2011

When we’re lazy and have no idea what to make for dinner, we sometimes turn to an old standby that we know is quick, easy and tasty: taco salad.  There’s really not much to it, brown some ground beef, add some seasonings, maybe warm up some refried beans, cut up some veggies, and serve it along side some condiments and some tortilla chips.

One night I thought it might be interesting to change up the classic taco salad slightly, but still have it be a relatively simple, quick and tasty dish.  So, the dish I whipped up was the beef and bean taco casserole.  I had seen a similar recipe online and figured I could easily adapt this for my tastes.  After having made this dish once for dinner, I realized just how simple this recipe was.  Not too long after having taken this dish out for a test drive, I was invited to participate in an email recipe exchange, and for my portion of the recipe exchange, I chose to send my person this recipe to use.  Hopefully she felt the recipe was just as easy and decided to give it a try.

If you like Mexican food and you’re looking for a simple dinner to make, then this recipe would be for you.

The ingredients are simple: 1 pound of ground beef, 1 can of refried beans, 1 bottle of salsa, some taco seasoning, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and green onions/brown onions.  That’s all I used in my casserole.  However, if you so chose, you could certainly add black olives, diced bell peppers, sour cream, guacamole and cilantro.  If I had some cilantro on hand, I probably would have used some diced cilantro as garnish on my dish as well (I certainly love cilantro).  And had I had some guacamole, I would have added a dollop of it on my plate to go along with my casserole.  And, I guess I should say that even though I don’t like sour cream, we did have some on hand since my husband loves that stuff, and he did dollop some sour cream onto his plate after I served the casserole.

This casserole literally only requires a handful of steps.  You start out with a hot skillet where you can brown your ground beef.  Once it’s cooked through, drain the oil.  Add a can of refried beans and a jar of salsa to the beef.  Also, throw in some taco seasoning mix.  Cook that all together.  Preheat your oven while you’re cooking.  Line the bottom of an oven-safe casserole dish with tortilla chips so that it overs the bottom of the dish.  Pour your beef, beans and salsa mixture over the top of the tortilla chips and smooth it out.  Dice brown onions and tomatoes and sprinkle it over the top of the beef mixture.  Top the whole thing with shredded cheese.  Put your casserole dish into the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes until the cheese has melted and is bubbly and golden.

Once cooked, take your casserole out of the oven, throw shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and diced green onions on top of the casserole.  Here is where you can also add black olives or any other condiment you so choose.  Sprinkle some more shredded cheese over the top of the dish.  This dish should certainly be served hot.  Put it out on your dining table and serve directly from your casserole dish so that everyone can serve themselves.  Makes for an easier job for the cook and easier clean up.  If you want, serve your beef and bean taco casserole alongside guacamole, sour cream and some more tortilla chips to add some crunch to your dish.

Tell everyone to dig in and enjoy a this simple, and easy Mexican fiesta you’ve created just for them!  No one will ever know that you hardly had to slave over the stove for dinner tonight!  And should you have leftovers from your casserole, it makes for great lunch food the next day, believe me, I know!

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