Want a fresh take on Taco Night? This simple taco casserole is easy to make ahead of time or serve fresh out of the oven, plus you'll find tons of variations to suit your preferences for spiciness, ease and timing.
Things You'll Need
1 cup rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
14.5 oz. can diced green chiles, drained (optional), (1)
3 teaspoons cumin
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound ground beef
16 oz. jar taco sauce (mild, medium or hot), (1)
12 oz. can beans (pinto, kidney or black), rinsed, (1)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup salsa (mild, medium or hot)
1 cup frozen sweet corn
Toppings: shredded lettuce, diced, tomatoes, tortilla chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and cook the rice according to directions. Meanwhile, pour the oil in a large saute pan and add onions. Stir the onions often and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the rest of your vegetables: peppers, garlic and chiles (if using). Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until all the vegetables start to soften.
In goes the beef and spices. Cook everything together until the meat is no longer pink. About 7 to 10 minutes, stirring often.
Make the Sauce
After the meat has browned, add 1 cup of water to the pan. Scrape up any bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Add a bottle of taco sauce and stir to combine.
Finally add the beans and stir. Bring the sauce to a boil, turn the heat down slightly and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is slightly reduced.
Flavor the Rice
Once your rice has finished cooking, stir in the salsa plus 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. It'll be sticky and gooey, oozing with flavor.
Assemble the Casserole
Grease a 9x13 dish with a little butter or oil. Then start with a layer rice, using half of the rice mixture you have prepared.
Add a layer cheese, then half of the meat and bean mixture. Sprinkle on half the corn and a handful of cheese. Repeat until all ingredients are layered in the pan.
If you have time, grating your own cheese will make the dish more flavorful than using a bag of pre-shredded cheese.
Finish with a sprinkle of any remaining cheese and corn.
Place the casserole on top of a cookie sheet (to catch any drips) and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is golden brown.
Add Toppings Just Before Serving
Top the casserole with crispy bites of tortilla chips, shredded lettuce, freshly diced tomatoes and serve with sour cream or guacamole.
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