Spicy Beef Spinach And Potato Casserole - This spicy beef, spinach and potato casserole evolved while I was making it one day. It was a "clean out the fridge" kinda day. For those of you who are like me and you shop at your local Warehouse Club, you know that sometimes you end up coming home with a large amount of a particular item, and wonder what in the world you're going to do with all of it. In this case, it was spinach.
Spicy Beef, Spinach & Potato Casserole
Servings: 8 servings
- 1 [20 oz] pkg refrigerated shredded hash browns
- 2 Tbsp butter melted
- 1 medium sweet onion and red pepper diced
- 1 small jalapeno pepper diced
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 ½ lb lean ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3-4 tsp taco or fiesta seasoning
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup light cream cheese
- 1 ½ cups white queso blanco [I used Ricos]
- 2 cups fresh organic baby spinach
- 2 cups shredded pepper-jack cheese divided
- ½ cup crushed nacho tortilla chips
- For the cilantro-lime crema:[Mix together and chill]
- 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 minced shallot or ¼ cup minced red onion
- ⅔ cup crema [I used Cacique]
- For cilantro-lime crema: In a small mixing bowl, stir until blended. Chill well before serving as a condiment alongside the casserole.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Spray a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray and press the hash browns evenly over the bottom of the dish.
- Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of melted butter over the potatoes, season with salt and black pepper, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- While the potatoes are baking add the diced peppers and onions to a skillet and saute in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until they soften. Season with salt and black pepper to your taste. Add the ground beef and cook until no pink remains. Drain any excess fat from the pan.
- To the cooked ground beef add the minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, Tex-Mex seasoning, cilantro, milk, cream cheese and queso blanco. Stir well and cook on low heat until the cream cheese melts.
- Lastly, add in the fresh spinach and stir just until it begins to wilt. Toss in one cup of pepper jack then remove the pan from the stove.
- Pour the filling evenly over the potatoes. Top with the remaining shredded cheese. Sprinkle the crushed tortilla chips over the top.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly and golden.
Queso blanco is a smooth white melting cheese that's available in the dairy section of most grocery stores.