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Recently, I was contacted and asked to pass on news about Velveeta's Casserole Challenge. Five bloggers are participating in the challenge. Click the logo above to meet all five and visit their sites. The winner will be decided by voting between October 30th and November 23rd. You can also enter their essay contest to win some great prizes. The challenge is to make a casserole in a 13"x9" pan for under $20.00.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I received a Le Creuset casserole pan and six coupons for free Velveeta (up to $9.00). The casserole pan is now in my refrigerator with leftovers, but the coupons will go to six of you.
My casserole is a work in progress, but I'll share the my results with you. The background information on this recipe lies in my past life as a restaurateur. My family had a couple of fast-food style Mexican restaurants in southern Alabama and northwestern Florida during the early 90s. One of our best selling items was called the Mucho Burrito. I took the basic ingredients of that burrito and am turning it into a casserole.
First, I made the queso. Cube one pound of Velveeta, add 1/2 cup of milk,
1/2 can of condensed tomato soup, and 1/2 cup of salsa.
Heat over low until cheese is melted.
Brown one pound of ground beef with one cup of onions. Add taco seasonings and water according to package directions. I did this the night before. This allowed me to degrease it more by removing the orange chunks of solidified grease. Heat with one can of your favorite refried beans.
Pour half of the bean and beef mixture into your casserole pan,
and top with diced tomatoes.
Cover with queso.
Add a layer of flour tortillas, and cover with the remaining meat. Now here is where I went wrong. I decided there wasn't room for another layer of tortillas. I was wrong. I covered the rest of the meat with the queso and put it in the oven. I should have put another layer of tortillas between the meat and the queso. The flavor was great, but it came out a little soupy. I want to try this again with another layer of tortillas. I'd also like to try it with tortilla chips, instead of tortillas. The chicken burrito was always very popular, too.
For a bonus, I'm including my Spanish rice recipe. It's a variation of what my mother would make when I was a child.
Saute the 1 1/2 cups of rice and 1/4 cup of onions in vegetable oil until the rice is translucent and slightly brown. Watch carefully as it burns easily.
Pour can of tomato sauce into measuring cup, and add water to make 3 cups of liquid. Add this, 2 teaspoons of chicken base, and peas. Bring to a full boil. Cover, and turn stove to low. Simmer for 25 minutes.
This is what you do when your casserole is too runny. Grab
another tortilla, heat to soften, and make it a burrito.
The advantage of the burrito is you can put your cold veggies inside before you wrap it.
I'll be trying some different variations of this. Let me know if you do, too.
Leave a comment if you'd like to win up to $9.00 of free cheese.
Mucho Burrito Casserole
1 lb of Velveeta cheese
1/2 c milk
1/2 c salsa
1/2 can condensed tomato soup
Add all four ingredients to a saucepan. Heat over low until cheese is melted and ingredients blended.
Meat & Bean Filling
1 lb ground beef
1 c chopped onions
1 pkg low-sodium taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
Brown ground beef & onions. Add taco seasonings and water according to package directions. Add refried beans, and mix.
1 pkg flour tortillas
sliced black olives
Preheat oven to 350. Pour half of meat & bean filling into a 13"x9" casserole. Add a layer of diced tomatoes. Ladle queso over the top, and cover with a layer of tortillas. Add remaining meat, another layer of tomatoes, and queso*. Place in oven for 25 minutes.
Serve with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and black olives.
*I'd add another layer of tortillas between the last layer of meat and queso next time.
1 1/2 cups rice
1/4 cup diced onions
2 teaspoons chicken base
1 can of tomato sauce, plus water to equal 3 cups
1 cup peas
Saute rice and onions in vegetable oil until rice is translucent and slightly brown. Add remaining ingredients, and bring to a full boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for 25 minutes.
UPDATED: I made it a sticky post.