Casserole for a party

10 Oct

Football season is now upon us! For lots of people this means game watching parties, drinks, and snacks. After all, what’s the point of spending a Sunday afternoon and evening in front of the TV if you don’t have something salty and cheesy to snack on, followed by something sugary and gooey? All washed down with some beer, of course!

I’ve found that there are several food items to bring to a party that will always please a crowd. Having grown up in Texas, these all tend to have a Tex-Mex flair to them. In fact, now that I think about it, most of my go-to recipes have a Tex-Mex flair.

First off, you could always bring some Trey Dip. Trust me, you won’t have any leftovers of this one. Not such a cheese fan? No problem, just make up a big bowl of guac and enjoy! If, however, you are hosting the party or for some reason agreed to bring a more dinner-like dish, I have just the thing for you. Try the Mexican casserole, or try this one:

Tex-Mex Bake
Servings: 8
prep time (or day before time): 20 – 30 minutes
Cook time (day of party): 30 – 40 minutes at 350o F

I know, there are a million versions of this type out there, and mine probably isn’t that much better than the rest of them. But it is easy and yummy, and you can even make it the day before a party, then heat it up when you get there. Additionally, Tex-Mex lends itself so nicely to being changed around, one of the key criteria for recipes I post here! So take the ingredients list as a template, and feel free to substitute in (or out) any meat, beans, or type of cheese you so desire. You can even substitute the chips for corn tortillas if you are making this the same day you will be eating it. If you are making it ahead of time, go with the tortillas. Corn tortillas only! Not flour! I’m serious here!

2 cups cooked rice
1 can Rotel
1 lb ground beef, diced chicken, or diced pork
1 finely chopped onion
4 cups crushed tortilla chips or 10-12 corn tortillas, torn into strips
1 can Ranch Style beans or black beans (Ranch style can be hard to find sometimes. We buy several cans whenever we stumble across it here in NC)
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese, or 1/2 lb Velvetta
Optional toppings – sliced green onions, sour cream

Hey, do normal recipes say procedure or directions? I think I write procedure because it’s a geeky science thing.

1. Get the rice cooking.
2. Cook meat with onions in a large skillet.
3. Combine the rice, meat and onions, and Rotel
4. In a greased/Pam sprayed 9X13 pan, layer as follows:
Cover bottom of dish with chips or tortillas
1/2 cheese
Can of beans, drained but not rinsed
Rice/meat/Rotel mixture next
top with remaining cheese
5. Bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese is melted. Garnish with green onions and sour cream.

Suggestions: If you want a vegetarian dish, I’d suggest chopping up several bell peppers and cooking them with the onions. That will add volume to the dish and a really great flavor. You could even go with a more traditional Mexican touch and top the whole dish with cold shredded iceberg lettuce and sour cream.

If you are preparing this ahead of time, I would suggest adding the Rotel just before baking. Letting too much liquid sit on the tortillas overnight will cause undo mushiness. And mushiness = grossness in my book.

So, now you know what I’ll be bringing to the football parties! What are your go-to party dishes?


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