Impromptu Mexican Casserole

It’s been a little bit since I posted a recipe, but in an effort to be more creative for my family, I decided to try something new and of course share it with you! This Mexican food kick I have been on lately culminated last night in a craving for something similar to the Mexican Casserole my mom use to make when I was growing up. I am notorious for craving something, looking it up to see if I can find a recipe that looks feasible and then totally destroying that recipe to match the ingredients I have available. Fortunately, I have gotten pretty good at this routine and the final product usually turns out pretty good….Hfoe would argue, BETTER than the original recipe! That’s a matter of opinion, I suppose, but the goal is to feed the fam on the cheap and healthy, so if I succeed at that, I am happy! Here goes…

First, I should note that the original recipe can be found here.

After assessing that the only things on the ingredient list that were actually in my possession were ground meat and tortilla chips, I figured I could manage to eek out something similar to this delicious-looking Mexican Casserole, and maybe even make it a little healthier (but not low-fat, per se.)

Here is what I ended up using and what you will need if you plan to follow this recipe exactly…

1lb ground venison (deer meat, thanks Honey!)
1 can rotel
1 can Organic Black Beans
1 can Organic diced tomatoes
1 packet taco seasoning
2 cups crushed tortilla chips
4 oz Cream Cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheese

First I browned the meat adding the taco seasoning WHILE it was browning. I didn’t add any water as I would if I was making tacos, I just wanted the seasoning to SEASON the meat, not make any sauce.
While the meat was cooking, I crushed up the tortilla chips and spread them evenly over the bottom of a well-greased 9×13 glass pan. When the meat was perfectly browned I added in the can of beans (drained) and the can of rotel. I simmered for a few minutes until the liquid from the rotel had reduced a bit. Then I stirred in and melted the cream cheese making the mixture a little creamier. Once everything was sloppy-fied together and was smelling my house up really good, it was then time to spoon the mixture over the chips. I topped the whole concoction with the can of diced tomatoes (drained) and then spread the 1/2 cup of cheese on top of that.

Everything went into the preheated 350* oven for 30 minutes and when the cheese was hot and bubbly, it was done!
OK, not to toot my own horn or anything, but YUM! I served this with a salad and chips. It was really delicious and thankfully we have plenty of leftovers for  dinner tonight! Like I said, this isn’t necessarily low fat or low calorie, but you can healthify most any recipe by using as many organic, non-gmo ingredients as possible. Also, by cutting the amount of cheese and tortilla chips from the original recipe and leaving out sour cream altogether, I did cut some calories. I will say, though, I think it is best for you to adapt any recipe to YOUR family’s needs and wants. For instance, I HATE olives, so adding those wasn’t even an option. Also, if you need to sneak more veggies in for picky little eaters, go for it! Zucchini is a veggie that adapts to pretty much anything you add it to. If I had added some to this recipe, I would have added it before the beans, after browning the meat. Oh, and I am fully aware that packaged taco seasoning isn’t great for you, with its msg and all. But, I didn’t have everything to make my own and in a pinch, Lawry’s will do!
So, go, cook and enjoy! And come back here and let me know how it turned out!



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