Saturday, February 6, 2010

Multi-Layered Taco Casserole

Over all this was really good! Probably not something I would fix weekly but I could definitely see my self fixing it once or twice a month. Dustin said next time leave the pasta out but keep the cheese sauce for sure! He liked the pasta but he could live with out it. I thought that the pasta gave it something extra and with out it the dish would be missing something! I do suggest that if you fix this then go ahead and prepare all the ingredients before hand. For Example if it says something needs chopped then go ahead and chop it.. If not you may be slowed down. Also remember to keep your meat turned down to medium this will keep it from cooking to fast and drying out. This recipe makes a good bit (enough for 10-11 unless you have some that eat a lot then say 8-10) there was 4 adults and my 2 kids eating and we still had enough left over for probably 2 1/2 more servings. Also I liked the tortilla's on the top but that is not a must if you want to serve it with tortilla chips on the side instead. Dustin had chips with his and used it like a dip.. Justus and Ansley also really seemed to enjoy it. Thanks Lauren Your Awesome for sharing this one! So Here is that recipe again:

~ Pictures are at very end.. sorry it doesn't look as good as it really is, this is a messy dish! Messy But Good!

Multi-Layered Taco Casserole


* 1 package corn tortillas or any color corn chips
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or cooking spray
* 1 box elbow macaroni
* 1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 2 pounds ground beef
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 6 cloves garlic, grated, divided
* 4 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped, divided (optional I did not use any)
* 1 tablespoons chili powder
* 1 tablespoon coriander
* 1 tablespoon cumin
* 3 tablespoons tomato paste

* 3 tablespoons butter
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 2 1/2 cups milk
* 1 14.5-ounce can chopped tomatoes with chilies, drained
* 3 cups shredded yellow cheddar cheese, divided

* 2 cans vegetarian spicy refried beans

* 5 to 6 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
* 1 small red onion, finely chopped
* 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
* Salt
* 2 limes, zest of 1 and juice of 2

* 2 avocados
* 1 cup sour cream
* Juice of 1 lemon

* Hot sauce to taste(I did not use any)
* 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
* 1/2 cup chopped olives with pimientos(I only used black olives no pimientos)
* 1 bunch scallions, chopped

Yields: 12 servings

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

If using corn tortillas, cut them into thin strips about 1/2 inch thick, and place them onto a baking sheet. Toss them with some vegetable oil or spray with cooking spray and season them with salt and ground pepper. Pop them into the oven and cook until crispy and golden, about 15 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water up to a boil over high heat. Salt the water then add the noodles and cook to package instructions.

Place a large skillet over medium high heat with a tablespoon olive oil. Brown the meat, then add in the onion, 4 cloves grated garlic and 2 jalapeños, and cook until tender.

Season the meat and veggies with chili powder, coriander, cumin and tomato paste. Let the meat mixture cook for a minute or two with the spices,and let that cook down for about 4-5 minutes. Reserve.

While the meat is cooking, make the cheese sauce: In a saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and give it a stir to combine with the butter. Cook for a minute or so then whisk in the milk. Cook until thickened.

Drain the can of tomatoes with chilies and add them to the thickened milk mixture. Fold in 2 1/2 cups cheese and the reserved noodles. Season with salt and pepper, and reserve.

In another saucepot, heat up the can of refried beans with a little bit of water.

To build the casserole, spread the beef mixture out in the bottom of a casserole dish. Top with the refried beans and finish it off with the mac and cheeses and the remaining cheese. Pop the casserole into the oven and bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

While the casserole is baking, make the salsa: Mix the plum tomatoes, remaining jalapeño peppers, red onion and cilantro in a small bowl. Season with salt, lime zest and juice, and reserve.

For the guacamole sour cream, scoop the flesh of the avocados into the bowl of a food processor and add the sour cream, lemon juice, remaining 2 cloves grated garlic and hot sauce. Process until creamy.

Once the casserole comes out of the oven, top it with the crispy corn strips and shredded iceberg lettuce. Top with the salsa, then the guacamole sour cream and finally the chopped olives with pimientos and scallions.

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