Friday, March 11, 2016

Beef Taco Bake

We can't really seem to get a break from the illness. I was the latest victim of the plague that has been cycling through our family over the past month and I have had a really hard time getting back to normal. I've been feeling really weak and tired this entire week and am hoping that soon I'll be back to normal and we can get back on schedule with activities. Until then, blogging regularly has obviously been on hold and we have been eating a lot of quick meals like scrambled eggs and grilled cheese.

As I ease myself back into our regular routine, I have a quick, easy, weeknight meal to share with you. We all love Taco night - it's a family favorite that Paul and Matthew especially look forward to. I, however, absolutely dread taco night. Tacos themselves - or burritos, taco salad, enchiladas, whatever dish we happen to be making - are easy enough to prepare, but a plethora of side ingredients are normally necessary to complete the meal. Chopped lettuce, shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, guacamole, jalapenos, beans, chopped green onions, are just a few of the many components that go into constructing the perfect taco. And nothing is worse than shredding the cheese, putting it into a glass serving dish, setting it on the table, and then heading back into the kitchen to plate the other components only to come back to find your almost-three-year-old has climbed onto the table and eaten all the cheese!

But where has all the cheese gone?!
But what about a recipe for tacos where everything is baked together in a casserole dish? I saw this genius recipe for hard tacos where the taco shells are carefully balanced in a refried bean mixture before being filled with meat and cheese. Then, everything is baked until the shells are lightly toasted and the cheese is melted. Genius! The only thing left to add is a light salad on the side. Or guacamole if you're anything like us. We're constantly eating avocados.

This is a great way to serve tacos on a busy weeknight. We all loved it and I loved how darn easy it was to prepare and serve. Paul thanked me for dinner about 20 times as he ate this. That should give you a hint as to how much he enjoyed it. Sometimes the dishes that take the least amount of effort get the biggest rounds of applause! Recipes like this are especially appreciated during weeks where I can't seem to get my act together in the kitchen.

Make, eat, and enjoy!

Beef Taco Bake
from Taste of Home

2 (10-ounce can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
1 Tbsp. hot sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cups shredded Mexican-style cheese (I used Sargento Authentic Mexican)
1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
12 taco shells
Scallions for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Combine 1 can of tomatoes, beans, hot sauce, and cilantro in a bowl.  Spread evenly in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.  Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese.

Cook beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until no long pink.  Pour off fat; then stir in taco seasoning, remaining can of tomatoes along with juice.  Simmer over medium-low until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Spoon 1 Tbsp. cheese into each taco shell and top with beef mixture.  Arrange tacos upright in bean mixture.

Cover with foil and bake until bubbly, 10-12 minutes.

Remove foil, top with remaining cheese and bake until cheese is melted an tacos are crispy, about 6 minutes.

Sprinkle with scallions and serve!

1 comment:

  1. These sound delish! We're a big fans of tacos outside (messy kid and all) and will have to try these soon!