I love a casserole, all year-round. I tend to gravitate to them most often on busy weekdays, when I can put them together ahead of time; then sprinkle the top with bread crumbs, cheese, or in this case, Doritos just before baking. When you're short on ingredients, or you if you need to feed a crowd, this kicked-up beefy casserole will fit the bill. I usually serve it with a dollop of sour cream and salsa on the side. It's filled the with South-of- the-Border flavors that always satisfy.
5 cups cooked elbow macaroni [about 10 ounces dry]
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium red pepper, diced
1 small poblano pepper, diced
salt and black pepper to taste
1 1/4 lb x-lean ground beef
1 [10 oz] can diced tomatoes and green chilies [I used Rotel Chili Fixins]
1 cup milk
1 [10 3/4 oz] can fiesta nacho cheese soup
1 [10 3/4 oz] can cheddar cheese soup
2 cups shredded colby-jack cheese
1 cup crushed nacho tortilla chips [I used Doritos]
Seasonings: [shortcut: 1 pkg taco seasoning]
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro divided
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp lime juice or 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
2 tsp dark chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Mexican oregano
Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Cook the macaroni in salted, boiling water according to the package directions, until al dente, then drain. Set aside. In a large stove top pot, add the diced onion and peppers. Sauté in a couple of drizzles of olive oil until translucent season with salt and black pepper to your taste. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Drain any excess fat from the pan, and add all of the seasonings, reserving about 1 tablespoon of cilantro for garnishing.
Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the tomatoes and milk. Taste and adjust the salt and black pepper. Add both soups and stir just until the soups have melted into the ground beef mixture, remove from the heat. The large pot doubles as the mixing bowl, also. Add the cooked macaroni and 1 cup of shredded cheese. Mix well.
Pour into the baking dish. At this point, you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to bake later, if you like. Allow to come to room temperature before baking if making in advance. Top with crushed tortilla chips and the remaining shredded cheese just before baking.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until bubbly. Garnish with additional cilantro and serve with a dollop of sour cream and salsa on the side. Yield: 12 servings
The diced tomatoes and chili's that I used for this casserole were already seasoned for chili. If you're unable to find that particular kind, the seasonings will need to be adjusted to accommodate.