Jan 15, 2016

Friday Feasting: Mexican Casserole (vegetarian style)

Mexican Casserole, vegetarian style

Growing up, I decided to become vegetarian. At twelve.  And so, when I met and married my husband, he knew I was clueless on cooking meat. With my first pregnancy, I CRAVED chicken wings.  How funny that was! We were living in Charleston (Mt. Pleasant proper) and there was a little bistro pub down the road from our apartment, that we had to go to, two-three times a week.  The wings were 0.10 cents each. What a deal. And this was my foray back into "meat" eating. Chicken was integrated, somewhat, back into my life after that. But the plan was to raise our baby and future children, pretty much vegetarian. In twenty-six years of marriage, I've never cooked a hamburger. 

Not cooking meat is helpful for us, as we stick to the traditional Church teaching of "meatless" Fridays, in addition to other days of abstinence. We can go through quite a few vegetarian meals over the course of the year, just on Fridays alone.  Here is a recipe that just about everyone at our home enjoys!

This Mexican casserole is made with meat substitute, but you can certainly use ground beef or turkey.  And change up the cheese, if you prefer. Serve with corn and a side salad. Fruit Smoothies for dessert rounds out the meal for us.  Feeds 10. 

1 pkg (12 oz) Meatless Ground Crumbles (we like Boca Burger brand)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
16 oz salsa (or diced tomatoes, or 8 oz,  tomato sauce)
1 (16 oz) can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 oz) bag Tortilla Chips, crushed and divided.
2 c sour cream
16 oz colby-jack cheese, shredded
1 (2 oz) can black olives, drained

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook Crumbles until heated through. Add minced garlic, onion flakes, cumin and salt and stir to combine.  Stir in salsa, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in beans, and heat through.
3. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 crushed tortilla chips in dish, and then spoon crumble mixture over chips. Spread sour cream over Crumbles, and sprinkle olives and 1/2 cheese over the sour cream. Repeat with the other 1/2 crushed chips, Crumbles, sour cream, olive and top with cheese. Bake, covered, 20 minutes. Uncover, bake an additional 10 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Enjoy!!  :)

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