Monday, February 19, 2007

The New Taco Casserole

I remember the first time my mom brought home a kit to make Taco Casserole when I was a kid, it immediately became a new favorite around the house, and ranked right up there with Pork n Bean Casserole, and Lasagana.

I have to admit while I make the occasional Lasagna to feed a group, I haven't made Taco, or Pork n Bean Casserole's since I was a college student. Taste's change as we get older and we develop a more sophisticated palate.

The opportunity came up after we had around 2 1/2 pounds of broiled hamburger patties left over from a cookout here at the house.

What do you do with a day old, cold, broiled hamburger?

You can microwave them, and serve them again which is pretty disgusting, throw them out after you get tired of looking at them in the fridge, and even let the dog sample a few.

What you could do is crumble them up, and spice them with Taco Seasoning, Salsa, Onion, and simmer with a cup, or so of water to help give them another life.

I seldom use kit's, but I do try to use up stuff in the pantry when doing up left over's. My version of Taco Caserole is much better than the kit version.

2 1/2 Lbs of Hamburger
1/3 Cup Taco Seasoning
2 Cups Water
One Can chopped Onions (Optional)
1 Can Black Olives
Red Salsa
Cheddar Jack Cheese
8 Soft White Corn Tortilla's
Crisp Tortilla Chips
I Can Kidney Beans (Optional)
1 Can Mild Diced Green Chili's (Optional)
2 Cans of Enchilada Sauce

If you are using yesterdays old burgers like I did just warm them up in a pan a bit and crumble them down with your hands. Add your Taco Seasoning (which I buy in bulk at Costco) fresh onions, and mix together till warm, add water, and salsa, bring to a boil, them simmer for a half hour. Add the chopped Black Olives, Beans, and Mild Green Chili's at the end.

If you are using fresh burger just brown it, drain the grease, then add the fresh onions and cook till the start to turn translucent, then add your seasoning, water, and salsa. Once again add your Chili's, Beans, and Olive's at the end.

After that you need to spray a casserole dish with some Pam, and brown some fresh tortilla's in a drop of olive oil. When the tortillas are crispy cut them into quarters and line the bottom of the caserrole dish.

Add the first of what will be three layers of taco meat and top with shredded cheese. When you have three levels you pour the two cans of Enchilada Sauce over the top. Follow that by Crunching up some Crisp White Tortilla Chips for the topping, and add a final layer of shredded cheese.

Cook in a pre warmed oven at 375 for 45 minutes till the cheese bubbles on the top.

Since we were cooking burgers for a group of 20 the day before we had a lot of shredded lettuce left, so when we took the Casserole out of the oven we served the slices on a bed of the shredded lettuce with a dollop of Sour Creme, and Guacamole with some Salsa on the side.

This recipe is a big hit because it is spicy, cheesey, and has the great taste of white corn tortilla's melding with the Enchilada Sauce which keeps it steamy, and moist. I think you will agree once you taste it that while it reminds you of Mom's old kit recipe, it really can be a lot better when you make it on your own without the kit.

Like any casserole you can add or omit ingredients to suit your families tastes, and that is why I listed the Olives, Beans, and Chili's as optional.

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