Today I want to share with you one of my mom’s go-to recipes. She passed away ten years ago from breast cancer, and she has been on my mind a lot lately. So here you are, one of my mom’s favorite super-duper easy recipes. She was a magnificent mother, but a cook she was not. She was good at making yummy food, but she really, really disliked it, so all of her recipes were very simple. Consequently, they have become the stand-by recipes for my sisters and I as well! She called this one Taco Bell Casserole. Try not to be too deterred by that incredibly classy name. Heehee.
First up let us gather the ingredients. You will need 1 can of refried beans (the vegetarian ones are lard free I believe), 1 pound of ground beef, taco seasoning, onion flakes, salt and pepper, shredded cheese of your choice (I usually use cheddar or monterey jack), and salsa, along with tortilla chips, lettuce tomato, and sour cream for toppings.
Start by spreading the refried beans into the bottom of a casserole dish.
Now cook up the ground beef. As you cook it and break it up in a skillet season it with onion flakes, salt & pepper, and taco seasoning to taste. (Don’t taste it until it is cooked, obviously.) My mom didn’t do exact measurements because she was just throwing stuff on, but I would guess she used about 1 Tablespoon onion flakes, 1 teaspoon each of salt & pepper, and about half of a packet or so of taco seasoning, depending on how strong you want the flavor of the meat to be. But don’t hold me to those measurements in a court of law, because on this recipe I usually follow her example and throw in whatever feels right at the moment. It’s difficult to mess up.
Drain the grease from your beef and layer it on top of the refried beans.
Next comes shredded cheese of your choice. I usually use cheddar since I always have it on hand, but monterey jack is fun as well, and my sister is obsessed with pepperjack, so she would probably combine pepperjack and cheddar. Just cover it with a good, solid amount. I would say 1 1/2 – 2 cups of shredded cheese, but I am a cheesy, cheesy lady, so you may want to cut back on that a bit if you are not.
Top the taco casserole with your favorite salsa. Once again, we are using the mom method of “eyeballing it” here. I would guess you will need 1-2 cups of salsa.
Bake your creation for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. It doesn’t look al that appealing in this picture, but it is tasty—I promise!
Top tortilla chips with a generous helping of this taco casserole, and garnish with sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, and anything else that sounds delicious to you! Yum, yum, yum! The easiest dinner you will ever make! Aside from frozen pizza, of course. No, just me? Hmmm….