Thursday, December 29, 2011

Easy Southwest Casserole

Oh, Christmas?  Yeah, about that... I'm over it.  I was absolutely sick the whole time.  From Christmas Eve Eve straight up through my stuffed up face this morning.  While I absolutely adored spending time with family and friends, I am ready for a new year.

Yesterday was a weird day.  Second day back at work, the least sick I had been in several days, it started off fine.  Lunchtime.  Enter moodiness, indecision and a strong craving for Mexican food.  I got in my car for my lunch break and began aimlessly driving around town until I landed very close to my house at one of the best Mexican places around: La Vaquita II.  I ate this:

All of it.  Enchiladas Poblanas en Mole- one chicken, one cheese, and some raw onions to foul my breath up for the rest of the day.  It was amazeballs.  Picture this moment: stuffy nosed loner redhead sitting with her back to the rest of the happily chatting Spanish speakers eating in the restaurant, scarfing down a full plate while the fluorescent bulbs highlight my loner status as I stuff my face in front of the huge storefront window.    Sexy.

The thing about Mexican food, is I can never get enough.  Ever.  So naturally, it's what's for dinner.  Casserole is what happens when I think I don't have any groceries and I want to get rid of random leftovers.   It's also so easy that I barely had to pay dinner any attention so I could watch copious amounts of Deadliest Catch get some cleaning done.  You can vary the ingredients with whatever you have in your fridge.  Salsa was on sale for $0.74 last time I went to the grocery store, so this made for a super cheap meal.  If you have a few more ingredients a a couple more minutes, you can make this casserole that has a little more kick.  I am posting the recipe exactly as I made it, but please use whatever you have and don't make a special trip for these ingredients.  For crying out loud, I topped a casserole containing pork with vegan "cheese".  Totally delicious.

Easy Southwest Casserole
1 cup jasmine rice
2 cups water
generous pinch kosher salt
1 1/2 small jars medium salsa (you can sub canned tomatoes with green chilies in a pinch)
1/2 pound grilled pork tenderloin (or cooked meat of your choice/omit meat to make vegan)
1 can black beans, drained
3 good glugs Mexican hot sauce (I use Valentina or Cholula)
1 Tbsp garlic seasoning
1 cup vegan "cheese shreds" (or organic cheese)
Fat free greek yogurt and cilantro for serving

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook rice:  Bring rice and water to a boil. Add salt, reduce heat to low, and cover for 15 minutes.  
Dump one whole jar of salsa in with the rice.  Dump in can of beans.  Dice up your meat.  Dump it.  Stir.
Season to taste with garlic seasoning and fresh ground pepper if desired.  Glug in some hot sauce.  Glug, glug.  Isn't that such a satisfying sound?  Mmm hmm.
Spread your mixture in an even layer into a casserole dish.  Sprinkle "cheese" shreds over the top evenly.  If you have tortilla chips, by all means crush them over the top of the cheese.  Dollop your remaining salsa over the whole mess and pop it in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the casserole is heated through.  Serve topped with fat free greek yogurt (or sour cream) and torn fresh cilantro.   Go back for seconds.

Best when enjoyed in the company of someone you love and not under fluorescent lighting.

Ideas for variations- add or substitute the following:
Chopped grilled chicken
Tortilla chips
Pinto beans
canned black olives
canned or fresh jalapenos
Veg-all or mixture of frozen veggies/veggies in danger of dying an ugly death in your fridge
Chives or green onions
Salsa Verde

1 comment:

Lemon said...

This looks delicious. I very much enjoy these kind of Mexican inspired dishes.