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.

Mexican Quiche

Another breakfast casserole! Although this one we make a lot to eat for dinner. This one comes from my mom, not sure of the source on it. This quiche does not have a crust, making it easy to put together and very tasty.

It calls for green chiles, if you want to make it hotter, use jalapenos instead for some or all of the chiles.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter
  • 10 eggs [my mom uses 11 eggs]
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash of salt
  • Two 8-oz cans green chiles, drained
  • 2 cups cottage cheese (16 oz)
  • 4 cups monterey jack cheese (1 pound)

Directions

Melt butter in 9″ x 13″ pan. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, beat eggs and add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Add melted butter, leaving pan buttered. Add chiles and cheese. Mix together and pour into pan.

Bake uncovered at 350° for 45 – 60 minutes. (Test for done-ness with a knife. Be sure quiche is set and knife comes out clean.) Cut into squares while hot, but allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.

Note: This may be baked and frozen, reheat covered with foil.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Stuffed Baked French Toast

This french toast is so, so good. I love blueberries, I love cream cheese, and I love French toast, so it’s pretty much the perfect blend. This is another one where you put it together the night before and bake the next morning. With cream cheese, half-and-half, and powdered sugar my Grandma Beckman would have loved this. Although she would have probably taken out the blueberries and used raspberries instead.

This one I clipped from the newspaper several years ago. It states, “A make-ahead showstopper from Catherine Cavoto’s Christmas Breakfast class held at the Seasoned Chef. Serves 8.”

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf French bread
  • 1¼ cup sugar, divided use
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch [I use arrowroot]
  • 6 cups fresh blueberries
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 7 eggs
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 1½ cups half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Directions

Cut half of the French bread into 1-inch cubes and place in the bottom of a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. [I sprinkle the bread with a little cinnamon and sugar.] Combine ½ cup sugar and cornstarch until smooth and toss with blueberries.

Sprinkle blueberries evenly over bread.

Stir cream cheese and add ½ cup of sugar, sour cream, marmalade, and vanilla. Spread this mixture very gently over blueberries.

Cut remaining French bread into 10 1-inch thick slices, arrange over cream cheese.

Beat eggs, milk, half-and-half, brandy, remaining ¼ cup of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and pour over bread.

Cover and refrigerate over night.

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake for 45 minutes covered, then uncover for approximately 15 minutes to allow top to puff slightly and set. Allow to cool slightly. Sift powdered sugar over before serving.

Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Casserole

This recipe comes from a family friend. You assemble it the night before and then just pop it in the oven the next morning. We love to put this together Christmas Eve and have it Christmas morning.

Ingredients

  • 1½ pounds sausage, cooked & crumbled
  • 8 slices white bread
  • ½ pound mild cheddar cheese, shredded [I probably use more, you can never have enough cheese!]
  • 2 green onions, diced [I use four]
  • 6 – 8 mushrooms, sliced [We don’t like mushrooms; I substitute one red pepper, diced.]

Blend together the following:

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1½ tsp dry mustard

Directions

Spray 9″x13″ pan with Pam.

Cover bottom of the pan with bread. Layer cheese-meat-onions-mushrooms [red pepper], then more cheese. Pour egg mixture over the layers. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Bake uncovered in 300° oven for 1½ hours (make sure eggs are set). Let stand 10 minutes before cutting to serve.

The Everyday Macaroni and Cheese

It took me a while, but I found it. A GREAT and fairly easy mac & cheese recipe. This one comes from Tillamook (I didn’t see it on their website); I clipped it out of a newspaper a while back. Of course they encourage you to use their brand of butter and cheese, I have used other brands and it still comes out great.

I follow this recipe to the T. Except the cheese – I add more cheese. You can never have too much cheese.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. dry elbow macaroni
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk [We usually use 2% or skim]
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 2½ cups (10 oz) medium shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Directions

Preheat oven to 350, grease baking dish.

In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2½ teaspoons salt and macaroni. Cook according to package directions, stirring occasionally. Pasta is done when it is slightly chewy to the bite or al dente. Drain pasta in a colander and set aside.

Prepare sauce while pasta is cooking. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually add milk and bring just to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking often, until sauce slightly thickens, 4 to 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and 2 cups of cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Remove pan from heat and fold in pasta. Pour into prepared baking dish, then sprinkle top with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and top begins to brown. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.