Las Cruces Casserole and Pinterest Challenges

So, my online music classes started.  They are a lot of fun.  I must admit, I was a little intimidated by them, but I’ve found they fit me like an old glove.  Is that a weird analogy?  Anyway, I was a little angry at myself, because I realized, I should have been doing music all along.  At least I’m doing it now, I suppose.

I’ve also been spending some time on Pinterest.  God, that site can be addicting.  I mainly look at nerd stuff on it, which is fun, but at the same time, even less productive.  I found some fun fitness ideas, and I decided to do a couple 30 Day Fitness Challenges.  Yes, I actually do things I find on Pinterest.  I don’t just pin.  Unless it’s Doctor Who stuff, in which case, if there was a way I could DO Who, I would.  I just have to creepily browse for now.  So for the next 30 days, I’ll be doing the plank challenge and the beach body challenge, in addition to my normal exercise regiment.  I’ll let you know in a month if I’m super buff/making every jealous of my pale bikini body while at the beach (and by beach, I mean some reservoir, because I don’t have beaches).

My favorite thing though, is making the recipes I find on Pinterest.  I know there are a lot of blogs and whatnot of people trying to make Pinterest recipes and they are complete failures, but I have not found this to be a problem for me.  They’ve very rarely failed.  Actually, I think only one failed, and I’m not sure which it was.  So, I’m not sure if it’s just the places these people find their recipes, or what, but I even will adapt gluten-filled recipes to gluten free for my allergy-ridden body, and they still turn out well.  Even bread-based recipes.

But today, I’m not sharing a Pinterest recipe I found.  No, this one is my own, though I will say, it’s inspired from a Mexican cooking show on PBS.  I’ve changed it to be my own.  It’s a great dish if you want to make a lot of food, have it not be terrible for you, taste great, and get rid of those veggies in your fridge you’re letting go bad.

Zach calls it the Las Cruces casserole.  So that’s what we will call it.

Yummy?  Yummy.
Yummy? Yummy.

Here’s what you’ll need:
2 cups white rice
2-3 bell peppers
1/4 red onion
Salsa
2-4 lbs ground beef
Taco seasoning (I prefer Bearitos)
12 oz cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
12 oz can of black beans
Olive oil (for sauteing the peppers)
Crushed red pepper, dried basil and oregano, to taste

***Notes: You can use any rice you want, but white rice is stickier, and you’ll be smashing it down as a base for the casserole.  You can also use any veggies you want, I just like the bell peppers for taste and texture.  And as for the ground beef, feel free to use any other meat you have – chicken, pork, whatever.  Just make sure it’s shredded or diced, and season it well.

How to make it:
First, cook the rice.  Then lightly grease a large casserole dish (I used a 9 1/2″ X 8″ glass pan) and spread the rice on the bottom, pressing down firmly so it sticks together.

White rice smushes and stickies the best.
White rice smushes and stickies the best.

Add a layer of salsa over it.  Cook the ground beef with the taco seasoning and add it to the dish, spreading it evenly over the salsa.

The Bearitos is my favorite, but use whatever makes your seasoned heart sing.
The Bearitos is my favorite, but use whatever makes your seasoned heart sing.
Ground bison would also be lovely in this dish.  What it vegetarian?  I think chopping up tempe would be delicious.
Ground bison would also be lovely in this dish. Want it vegetarian? I think chopping up tempe would be delicious.

Sautee the peppers and onions in olive oil until they are lightly cooked (but still firm).

Don't forget the oil!
Don’t forget the oil!

Add them to the dish.  Rinse the beans, and sprinkle over the dish.

As you may notice, these aren't black beans.  I didn't have black beans, so I used cannellini beans.  They were just OK.
As you may notice, these aren’t black beans. I didn’t have black beans, so I used cannellini beans. They were just OK.

Add cheese and top with seasonings.

Mmmm... cheese.
Mmmm… cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Gobble up, eat for lunch the next day, etc.

Add your favorite hot sauce or some more salsa, or enjoy as is.
Add your favorite hot sauce or some more salsa, or enjoy as is.

 

Until next time.

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