Cheesy Mexican Rice Casserole

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If you asked me what my least favorite type of food would be, I’d probably say Mexican. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not picky when it comes to food. I’m all about expanding my palate, so I’ll eat almost anything. But Mexican food has never been something I crave, or have to eat on a regular basis. 

All that to say, I ran across a recipe for a Mexican dish the other day that actually caught my attention. I thought I’d give it a try, using organic and all-natural ingredients, and I was happy with the results. 

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-natural basmati brown rice
  • 1 tsp organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound all-natural, vegetarian fed, hormone-free ground beef
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1 15 oz can of organic black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can of organic tomato sauce 
  • 1 15 oz can of organic diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups all-natural, rBST-free cheddar cheese 

Seasonings:

  • 4 tsp Garlic Garlic seasoning from Tastefully Simple (or you can use 3 cloves of garlic, minced and 1 tsp garlic powder) 
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp dried cilantro
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Toppings:

  • organic sour cream
  • organic salsa
  • avocado 

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Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare rice according to package directions. 

2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add ground beef and break it into crumbles with a fork. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add diced onion and seasonings, and after stirring to combine, cook for another 10 minutes (or until onion is tender and beef is cooked). 

3. Once your rice is cooked, add it to the beef mixture, as well as your black beans (drained and rinsed) and tomato sauce. Mix together. 

4. Next, coat a large baking dish with all-natural cooking spray and pour in your rice mixture. Spread it evenly into the bottom of your dish. Pour your tomatoes (drained) onto the top of the rice and spread evenly. Top with cheddar cheese. 

5. Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray (to prevent the cheese from sticking to it) and cover your dish. Bake for 20 minutes, remove foil, and bake for another 6 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. 

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I topped my serving with sour cream, salsa, and avocado. If you are up for it, you could make guacamole to use as a topping. My husband is not an avocado fan, so I didn’t want to go through the trouble of making guac just for myself. But since I eat avocado straight from the shell, I didn’t mind it plain as a topping!

This dish was delish and we are still working on leftovers. (I made this several nights ago.) It’s one of those dishes that is just as good reheated, too!  

I adapted this recipe from hispanicallyspeakingnews.com

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