Taco~Refried Bean Casserole

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Leftovers. Some people love them, others not so much! I always like to try to reinvent leftovers into something else. Like when I repurpose old sheets into weaving strips for rag rug weaving. I have always been a big proponent of not wasting anything, especially food.  I don’t like letting them sit in the fridge until whatever becomes a green, fuzzy science experiment.

In the freezer I had some leftover taco beef in one container, and refried beans in another. Instead of reaching for the hard taco shells to make tacos, I thought, what if I transformed these humble, but yummy ingredients into a casserole? The result would be way less messier than if I had tacos, where you try to take a bite of an overstuffed taco and the filling and toppings scatter all over your plate or roll off onto the floor, which would be fine if you had a dog I guess.

So this casserole idea is what I came up with. Pretty easy to put together with ingredients you most likely already have on hand. It’s ok to be creative!

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Ingredients *
Previously prepared ground beef in taco seasoning (I had about 1 cup left)
Refried beans (1 to 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 tomato, diced and divided (reserve half for garnish)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (reserve a few sprigs for garnish)
Taco Sauce
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese with jalapeno
3 small soft tortillas

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a small casserole dish with cooking spray, set aside.

Saute onions and peppers in a little olive oil until translucent. Add chopped tomatoes, cilantro and leftover ground taco meat. Mix well.

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Place a few tablespoons of taco sauce on bottom of casserole dish.

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Place one tortilla on top of sauce. Spread beef/vegetable mixture on top of tortilla.

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Place another tortilla on top, spread refried beans over tortilla.

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Top with remaining tortilla. Add another 2 or 3 tablespoons of taco sauce over top, spreading around to edges. Top with shredded cheese.

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3. Bake  (uncovered) at 350°F oven for approximately 30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with reserved tomatoes and cilantro.  Serve immediately with sour cream or avocado slices. Makes 2 servings.

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Buen Provecho!

*Measurements are approximate, this recipe is one where you can add as little or as much ingredients as suits you.

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