Thursday, January 27, 2011

Southwestern Casserole

I love potlucks, covered dish socials, or generally any kind of get together where people bring food.    Mostly, because those kinds of functions mean people are generally in a good mood, and the food choices that people bring is always an adventure.   In our area we are limited in our choices of restaurants, but that doesn't mean we can't have good food.    We have monthly potlucks and there are some totally awesome cooks who bring a large variety of dishes, which makes for some really good eating.    A couple of months ago I made a Southwest Casserole for a potluck, and had people begging me for the recipe.   It's one I got from my sister and in fact is one that both of my older sisters make on a regular basis.   It's easy to put together, it freezes well, and most people like it.    I had to laugh a couple of years ago, when I was visiting with them, my oldest sister had everyone over for dinner and pulled one of these out of the freezer and my other sister brought one as well, that she'd made and that was in her freezer.   Between the two casseroles, there was more than enough food for all of us.   It was one of those great minds think alike moments.  (Did I mention I'm a big fan of my sisters? All of them are great cooks.)

All the ingredients.

Meat browned with onions, and spinach and tomatoes added in.
Salsa and Tomato Sauce added to mixture.
The meat mixture layered in pan with cheese and tortillas just like a lasagna.

Final layer with tortillas on top of second layer of meat. 

Ready to go into the oven. 

And as usual I forgot to take a picture after it came out of the oven, as we were on our way to a potluck and I was trying to time it so that the casserole would come out just before we had to leave.    Just picture it nice and golden on top, and the next time I make it, I promise to take a picture and post it. 

Gitte’s Southwestern Casserole

1 ½ lbs ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
1 ½ cups salsa   (use your favorite brand, or make your own)
8 oz can tomato sauce (you can also use El Pato Mexican Tomato sauce here, it adds a little heat).
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 med. Tomatoes, diced
1 ½ tsp. salt  (optional, I rarely use salt when cooking and in fact there is enough salt in the salsa to make up for omitting it.)
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 cup sour cream
¾ c cheddar, shredded
¾ c Monterey jack, shredded (I use grated colbyjack cheese, it works well here)
½ cup sliced black olives
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
12 corn tortillas (Gitte uses flour tortillas, as do I)
(I also add a couple of minced jalapeno's for some extra heat)

Brown meat and onion. Add salsa, spinach, tomato sauce, tomatoes, pepper and lime juice. Simmer for a few minutes.

Line a 13x9x2 inch casserole dish with the some of the tortillas, place half the meat mixture on tortillas, layer remainder of tortillas then the other half of the meat mixture. Bake in 350 deg. Oven for 30 minutes, add the cheese and bake another 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. This is also when I put a stripe of sour cream down the middle and add some olives and green onions to it for decoration.

For more recipes please check out   

All about food. *giggle*

Hint: For ease in serving later, cut the tortilla’s in squares before layering with meat mixture. This enables you to cut and serve neat little squares. Especially good at potlucks. 
This also freezes like a dream, just take out and pop it into the oven when needed. My
sisters usually have one or two in their freezers for emergency meals.

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