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!
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)
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese with jalapeno
3 small soft tortillas
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.
Place a few tablespoons of taco sauce on bottom of casserole dish.
Place one tortilla on top of sauce. Spread beef/vegetable mixture on top of tortilla.
Place another tortilla on top, spread refried beans over tortilla.
Top with remaining tortilla. Add another 2 or 3 tablespoons of taco sauce over top, spreading around to edges. Top with shredded cheese.
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.
*Measurements are approximate, this recipe is one where you can add as little or as much ingredients as suits you.