Taco Night Casserole

Taco Night Casserole

What can I say about this casserole? All the appeal of tacos combined with a nacho like topping, hearty, with vegetables and added fiber from the beans? I tried it, thinking my teenager would like it. I was wrong, he loved it. A little salsa, a few slices of avocado and a dab of sour cream add a freshness to this substantial meal.

Taco Night Casserole
Taco Night Casserole

Each serving of Taco Night Casserole contains a full serving of vegetables in a flavor profile my family already likes (Teenagers can be worse than toddlers when it comes to veggies!) I don’t mind, either, that its a snap to make and is easily doubled. I like to freeze half for another time.

Be sure to read my “money saving strategies”  before buying the ingredients – I originally found the idea for this casserole on a site that indicated six servings for $13.50. With careful shopping, I was able to put it on the table for much, much less.

Taco Night Casserole

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 25 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 3/4 lb of ground beef or turkey (or ground beef)
  • 1 pkg of taco seasoning (or substitute home-made, but make certain it is one that contains a bit of a thickening agent like cornstarch, flour, arrowroot, etc.)
  • 16 ounce can of  pinto beans, drained and rinsed (or substitute dried, already cooked, about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 fifteen ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 eleven ounce can Mexican style or regular corn or an equivalent amount of frozen
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese
  • 1 cup of coarsely broken tortilla chips, or the smaller rounds

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400. Brown meat in large skillet over medium high heat.  Drain. Stir in seasoning mix, beans, tomato sauce and corn. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, simmer five minutes.

Put into a 2 quart casserole, sprinkle with tortilla chips and cheese and bake 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve with toppings such as lettuce and sour cream if desired.

from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com

Note:

When I double the recipe, I reserve 1/2 of the meat/bean/tomato mixture before putting it in to the casserole. I place it, when cooled enough, into a large Ziploc freezer bag. I label it “Taco Night” with the date. Just under the name, write: Thaw, heat through, place in 2 qt casserole, top with 1 cup each broken tortilla chips and shredded cheese, bake at 400 for five to 10 minutes. It’s much easier to label with a flat bag and clean hands!

In two smaller ziplocs, place the cheese and the chips. Best to label them cheese for Taco Night and chips for Taco Night just in case they get separated. Put the cheese bag inside the tortilla bag to keep them together. Take a smidge of freezer tape and tape the tortilla bag to the Taco Night bag. You should be able to keep this frozen for 2 to 3 months. After that, you may notice a decrease in the quality of the product, although it will still be safe to eat. (FDA guidelines.)

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

Nutritional Analysis:

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 539 Calories; 23g Fat (38.5% calories from fat); 31g Protein; 52g Carbohydrate; 14g Dietary Fiber; 77mg Cholesterol; 1063mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 3 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Put Your our Own Spin on It:

  • Try leaving off the chips, throwing it in the crock pot with cheese on top and using it as a dip with the chips on the side at a casual party.
  • For this amount of protein, you could probably cut down on the amount of hamburger and up the amount of beans to make it even a little bit more economical.
  • My daughter suggested cutting the hamburger by adding in a little oatmeal or tvp.
  • You could certainly dress it up by adding some onion, maybe some green chile, and possibly a little more cheese.  You might want to serve this with a salad, just to up the vegetation of the meal.
  • We like avocado and salsa and a dap of sour cream.

My Pay Off:

The nicest part of all this is that I now have a cost-effective dinner tonight, leftovers for later in the week, a nutritious convenience food in my freezer ready to go in a few minutes, and the equivalent of a can of pintos, additive free, in my freezer to use in another meal.  I’m thinking Minestrone.

I made this recipe in March of 2010 for about $3.75.

Comments and discussion always welcome - tell me what you think.

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