Taco Bake

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I don’t make casseroles that much. Nothing against a great casserole – but it is dangerous territory with a crew of picky eaters. Too many “things” all in one serving. The horror!

However, I had a package of grass fed ground beef that needed attention. And after a survey of the fridge I realized I had all the makings for tacos. Except for taco shells or tortilla’s. But I did have a 1/4 filled bag of left over tortilla chips from my last nacho making attempt for the kids.

I recently picked up The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook: http://www.amazon.com/Americas-Kitchen-Quick-Family-Cookbook/dp/B00BFQMPE2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376701428&sr=8-1&keywords=american+test+kitchen+quick+family+cookbook

I used to love super culinary/artsy cookbooks with beautiful pics of foie gras terrines and multiple page recipes. Now, I love anything that inspires dishes that I can make healthy, fast and are practical for the current inhabitants – preschoolers, toddler and adults. This cookbook fits the bill. I am really enjoying it, and pulled their Taco Bake recipe to use up all those ingredients I had on hand.

I made some changes – instead of canned refried beans, I used black beans from a BPA free can. Used less beef then they called for and added a package of mixed mushrooms that I chopped up. Shallot replaced onion/garlic. I also toned down the flavor a bit, eliminating cilantro and green chiles (they ask for Ro-tel tomatoes with the green chiles).

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Taco Bake
Modified from America Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook, Taco Bake pg.110
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb grass fed ground beef
  • 1 package mixed wild mushrooms, chopped up
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 container Pomi chopped tomatoes – drain out 1/2 cup tomato juice then put rest into strainer and press out extra juice best you can.
  • 2 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 BPA free can black beans, drained
  • 2 cups shredded monterey jack-colby cheese
  • Crushed up tortilla chips or taco shells – enough to create a layer on the top of the casserole dish
  • Guacamole for serving
Instructions
  1. Oven to 450.
  2. Mix can of drained beans with half of the drained chopped tomatoes. Salt and pepper that and layer on bottom of casserole dish.
  3. In a large non stick skillet, add olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add shallots and mushrooms – cook until starting to turn brown then add beef. Cook until pink is mostly disappeared then add chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper, vinegar and brown sugar. Then add 1/2 cup reserved tomato juice (if you forgot to do that just use water) and rest of chopped tomatoes. Cook until all the flavors are combined.
  4. Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheese on top of the bean/tomatoes and then top the cheese with meat/mushroom mix. Cover that with 1/2 cup cheese, top with crushed chips and then rest of cheese.
  5. Bake 10 minutes. Serve with guacamole or avocado. Sour cream or greek yogurt would be great with it also.

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  • Sylvia

    What kind of cheese did you use? This recipe looks amazing…especially for 63 year old toddlers!
    xo

    • Nicole

      Thanks for catching that! It was a package of shredded monterey jack-colby I had randomly picked up a while ago. This was my clean out the fridge meal of the week!