Taco Casserole

Want something a little different for taco Tuesday? This takes some of your favorite taco fillings and brings them together in a delicious casserole. It’s layered with black refried beans, tasty seasoned beef, salsa, cheese, crunchy tortilla chips and more cheese. If you have never tried black refried beans, you really should. It’s a nice change from regular refried beans.

My hubby actually loved the idea of a taco casserole so much, that he helped decide what should go in it to make this a really satisfying dinner. You can make this as mild or as spicy as you like. You can add some of your favorite taco toppings like sour cream or guacamole. This is even great to make ahead of time, just save adding the tortilla chips until the day you want to cook it.

Of course it doesn’t have to be Tuesday to enjoy this taco casserole. This might become a favorite during any night of the week. I know it has at our house.

Here’s what you need:

*1 lb ground beef

*1/2 bag tortilla chips

*1 can black refried beans

* 1 jar of salsa mild, medium or hot; I used medium

*2 cups of shredded cheese; I used cheddar and Monterey Jack

*fresh of dried cilantro for garnish (optional)

Taco seasoning ( you can add the premixed taco seasoning if you prefer)

*1 tsp. salt or more to taste

*2 tsp. chili powder

*1 tsp. garlic powder

*1 tsp. onion powder

*1 tsp. cumin

*1 tsp. coriander

*1 tsp. paprika

*1 tsp. oregano

Preheat oven to 350°

Pour tortilla chips in a zip top bag and using your hands, roughly crush them.

This makes a great stress reliever. Just try not to pulverize them if you’ve had a trying day. My first attempt turned to dust. I think hubby was a little afraid to come into the kitchen during this moment. Set aside

In a large pan over medium high heat, add ground beef and cook until no longer pink; drain if needed.

Turn the heat down to medium and add in the taco seasoning.

Stir to combine. Cook for about 2 minutes stirring frequently. If the seasonings start to turn dark, turn the heat down to low.

Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with no stick spray. Spread the black refried beans on to the bottom of the dish.

Spoon the beef mixture over the refried beans in an even layer.

Pour the salsa over the beef mixture.

Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheese over the salsa.

Add the crushed tortilla chips over the cheese.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tortilla chips.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

*Note* If you like the cheese to taste a little like toasted cheese, then add it on at the beginning as noted. If you would prefer the cheese just melted, then add the cheese on top at the last 5 minutes of cooking.

To reheat any leftovers, I recommend rewarming it in the oven or toaster oven so the tortilla chips stay crispy. I tried reheating my first portion in the microwave and the tortilla chips became soggy. It was still really tasty, but it had lost that nice crunch.