Taco Casserole

We decided to try a taco casserole last night. I had a few recipes I looked at for the basics. Here’s what we came up with. My boys loved this twist on our usual taco night.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • tortilla chips
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced (divided in half)
  • 2 – 3 roma tomatoes, chopped (divided in half)
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (8 oz)
  • ½ cup sliced black olives, plus more for topping
  • shredded lettuce
  • sour cream (optional)
  • avocado (optional)

Directions

Heat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, cook beef and yellow onion over medium-high heat until the beef is browned and cooked through (about 7 minutes). Drain. Add beans, canned tomatoes/green chiles, and taco seasoning. Reduce heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In an ungreased casserole dish (mine was approx 9 x 13), layer the bottom with roughly broken tortilla chips. Top with the beef mixture. Sprinkle the bell peppers, half the green onion, half the diced tomato, and the ½ cup of olives. Cover with cheese.

Bake uncovered 20 – 30 minutes, until hot and the cheese is melted. Top the baked casserole with lettuce and the remaining green onions, diced tomatoes, olives, and a little more broken tortilla chips. Serve with sour cream and avocado.

Note: Not sure how many tortilla chips we used. I just broke them right into the casserole dish, lining the bottom. I had about ¼” to ½” of a layer on the bottom, it made a nice crust. I didn’t add too many additional chips to the top.

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Ham, Sweet Potato, & White Bean Soup

Last spring, right after Easter, our friends invited us over for a delicious ham-bone based soup. It had been thrown together with ingredients they had around the kitchen and was so tasty. I decided I wanted some of that soup today, so I searched around the internet for a recipe. None of them were quite right. I made this instead; it was really easy and tasted great. We didn’t have a ham bone, but I plan on trying a version of this soup using a stock made from the ham bone next time we have a holiday ham.

This made a huge amount of soup. The four of us had dinner and then we saved some for leftovers this week and froze the rest in order to pull it out on a busy night this winter. Half this recipe if you don’t want this many leftovers.

Notes:
¹ I used dried beans, you could use an equivalent of canned white beans, drained and rinsed. This was a huge pot of soup, so I would guess three cans. Plus or minus one.
² The store was out of fresh thyme so I used dried.

Ingredients

  • 1 – 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ham, roughly chopped into bite size pieces
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (~¼” to ½” cubes)
  • 1 pound dried great northern beans (soaked per package directions)
  • 8 cups veggie broth
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pepper to taste

Directions

Soak beans per package directions. If you think of it in time do an overnight soak. I did the quick soak method, which took about an hour.

I used a large dutch oven. This recipe makes a lot of soup, so be sure to have a big pot. Add EVOO to pot over medium-high heat. Cook onion, carrots, and garlic for a few minutes. Add ham, and cook for 5 or 10 minutes, until ham begins to brown and onions and carrots are soft.

Add veggie broth and then all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for a few hours. Remove bay leaf. Serve with fresh bread.

Easy Beef Chili

We love to cook soups, stews, and chili in the winter. I have a meatless chili that my husband and I have enjoyed for years. Last winter, my boys wanted to eat chili, but weren’t interested in all those veggies. Here’s what we came up with. I got the basics from The Pioneer Woman, and then we added our own spin.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Two 14.5-oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • One 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 2/3 cup Guinness beer
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tobasco sauce (could use cayenne pepper)
  • One 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

Toppings

  • Shredded cheddar
  • Tortilla chips
  • Lime wedges
  • Sour cream

Directions

I used a big dutch oven to cook this. Put in the ground beef, onion, and garlic; cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off excess fat, then add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, Guinness, and spices. Cover, reduce heat to low. Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. If the chili looks too think, you can add water. Finally, add the beans and simmer another 30 minutes. Serve in individual bowls, topped with any desired toppings. Delicious with corn bread or beer bread.

Baked Beans

It’s not easy getting a “good” picture of baked beans. Trust me, these are delicious!

Looking for a great side to bring to a barbeque or cookout with friends this summer? My family loves it when we make these beans. A great recipe, passed to me from my friend Kelly (I think she got it from her neighbor). Simple, but does require a bit of time to cook so make sure you plan ahead.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (28-oz each) Bush’s Original Baked Beans
  • 14 oz. Ketchup
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ Green Pepper, diced
  • ½ Red Pepper, diced [I usually add the whole thing]
  • 1 small Onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 pound Bacon, cooked & crumbled

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a pan (9×13). Bake at 300° for 2 – 3 hours. Enjoy!