Sunday, May 5, 2019

RICH TACO CASSEROLE











RICH TACO CASSEROLE

This was a delicious and substantial meal. This Mexican casserole really tasted as if there were refried beans in it which was rather interesting - from the addition of cream cheese, I think, which gave it a richer taste and improved the texture. I had fun garnishing the casserole, but you can get creative with that, too.  Black olives would be good as well instead of the stuffed green ones.  I didn’t have any black olives in the house.  Great served with sour cream and even in low-carb “flour” tortillas or cheese tacos or simply served with a sweet mustard mixture of peppers, mushrooms and onions.  I know that sounds weird, but that’s what I did and I loved it.  I love mixing savory and sweet flavors. You could even serve stir-fried cauli rice with this or guacamole, a regular salad or sliced avocado.

2 lbs lean ground beef (1.9 kg)
1 tbsp olive oil (15 mL)
1 tbsp chili powder (15 mL)
13/4 tsp salt (8 mL)
1 tsp dried parsley (5 mL)
1 tsp black pepper (5 mL)
3/4 tsp ground cumin (3 mL)
1/2 tsp turmeric (2 mL)
1/2 tsp dried oregano (2 mL)
1/2 tsp onion powder, optional (2 mL)
1/4 tsp paprika (1 mL)
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (411 g)
8 oz cream cheese, cut up (250 mL)   
4.5 oz can green chilies (127 g)
  (use half if you want it less spicy)
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese (250 mL)
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese (250 mL)
Sliced Avocado, optional
Chopped Tomato, optional
Olives, optional
Sour cream, optional

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

In large, nonstick frying pan, brown ground beef over medium heat.  Once browned, stir in olive oil.  Sprinkle in the spices; chili powder, salt, parsley, pepper, cumin, turmeric, oregano, onion powder (if using) and paprika. Stir well to combine the spices with the meat. In blender, blend diced tomatoes and add along with cream cheese and green chilies to the meat.  Keep stirring occasionally until all the cream cheese has melted and has been incorporated.  Pour meat mixture, which will be quite thick into a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) baking dish.  Sprinkle top of casserole with grated Cheddar cheese.  Let the casserole sit until the warm casserole has melted the Cheddar cheese.  Then sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese in diagonal rows, leaving spaces in between. 

Bake 15 to 20 minutes until the Mozzarella cheese has melted.  Garnish the top of the casserole with avocado, chopped tomatoes, olives and a light sprinkle of grated Cheddar cheese (do this just before serving to make the casserole look even more enticing).  Serve immediately.

Yield:  9 servings
1 serving
425.1 calories
28.1 g protein
32.6 g fat
1.0 g fiber
3.4 g net carbs 

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