This dish has a lot of room for improvising. First, you start browned ground beef (or chicken, or turkey) and season the meat with a mexican spice blend. Rice is added, with tomatoes and tomato sauce-- then covered with cheese and baked. What a wonderful Mexican comfort food dish. It tastes even better the next day.
Adapted from foodiewife-kitchen.blogspot.com
cups of white or brown rice, prepared per instructions
tsp of olive oil
lb lean ground beef (I used 96/4)
small sweet yellow onion, diced
cloves of garlic, minced
bell pepper, chopped (red, orange or yellow)
tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
small can of tomato sauce (7.5 oz.)
small can of El Pato (Mexican tomato sauce)
small can mild green chilis
tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (divided)
cup each of shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese
FOR THE MEXICAN SEASONING:
Tbsp chili powder
Tbsp dried cumin
Tbsp garlic powder
Tbsp dried oregano
Store in an air tight container. Great spices for making tacos, too.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare rice per instructions. While the rice is cooking heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the ground beef, breaking it up into crumbles. Cook the beef for 3-4 minutes, until no longer pink Add the diced onion and bell pepper and 1 Tablespoon of the Mexican seasoning mix and red pepper flakes (if desired). Stir until well combined and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the beef is cooked through and the onion and bell pepper is tender. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant-- about 1 minutes. Add the drained and rinsed black beans, tomato sauces, diced tomatoes, diced pepper and a bit of cilantro (reserving some for garnishing) to the beef and onion mixture. Add the cooked rice, Mix the ingredients thoroughly, taste and re-season if needed. Coat a large baking dish with cooking spray and pour the rice mixture into the dish, spreading it evenly. Top with cheddar& Monterey Jack cheese. Spray a piece of tin foil with cooking spray (so the cheese won't stick) and cover the baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes then remove the tin foil. Bake for an additional 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing. Top with a dollop of sour cream and additional garnishes (guacamole and/or salsa) and the remaining chopped cilantro.