I think this casserole tastes even better than a real taco, it is SO DELICIOUS! ...if you love tacos, then you will love this casserole! My Kittencal's Taco Seasoning Mix works great for this recipe. ALL ingredients can be adjusted to suit taste. It is best to prepare this casserole and bake right away as the broken tacos will get too soggy.
- 1 1⁄2 lbs ground beef
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic (or to taste)
- 1 bell pepper (use red or green, seeded and chopped)
- seasoning salt
- black pepper
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons dried chili pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1 (215 ml) bottle taco sauce (can use two bottles of taco sauce if desired)
- 2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chilies
- 1 (14 ounce) sliced ripe olives, drained and divided (can use green or black()
- 1 (1 1/4 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
- 1 (4 1/2 ounce) package taco shells or 1 (4 1/2 ounce) package white corn tortillas, broken into pieces
- 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 large firm tomato (can use 2 tomatoes)
- 3 sliced green onions (optional)
- Set oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook beef, onion, bell pepper, chili flakes and garlic until beef is no longer pink; drain then season with seasoning salt and black pepper (or cayenne pepper).
- Stir in water, taco sauce, green chiles, half of the olives and taco seasoning mix (you can use 2 packages of seasoning mix if desired for this).
- Cook over low heat for about 6-8 minutes.
- Layer HALF of broken shells on bottom of greased 13x9 baking pan; cover with HALF of meat sauce, then sprinkle with 2 cups (or to taste) cheddar cheese.
- Repeat with remaining broken taco shells, meat sauce and then top with remaining cheese (to prevent the cheese from getting hard, you can sprinkle on the last 10 minutes before the end of baking time and return to oven until melted).
- Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly, and cheese is melted.
- After baking, sprinkle with remaining olives, tomatoes and green onions.
- **NOTE** I sometimes drizzle bottled salsa sauce (mild or spicy) on top of the ground beef and then on top before baking.
This tastes good, but at 1,157 calories and 81 grams of fat per serving, I decided to cut back a bit. I only added two cups of cheese, and I am all in favor of having loads of cheese! But, 4 cups was way too much. I also decided to add a can of corn to round out the meal. Even with the changes, my husband said it was defintely a keeper.
Who would not like this?! Great flavor, easy meal! I made as directed and the chips were not crunchy, but we still loved it! Served with more tortilla chips on the side, so I guess we made up for it. Oh, I did layer thawed home-frozen corn in the dish, which increases the nutrition and is delicious! (Also, you can easily decrease the cheese to save on fat.)
What I liked about this recipe is that it was very friendly to substitutions, and I was determined to make something that did not require me to go out and buy anything so I could use up the food I already have. I didn't have green chilis, but I did have green salsa (I have no idea if green salsa has green chilis in it, but I used some, and it gave the recipe a great taste. I left off the olives because my DH doesn't like them. I didn't have bell pepper, so left that out. I used a combo of taco sauce and salsa because I didn't have enough taco sauce. I substituted pepper jack for some of the cheddar because it is what I had on hand. The dish was still great. The chips on the bottom were still crunchy and I also liked it better than an actual taco. I served it with sour cream and it tasted great. Great recipe.