Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tasty Taco Bake


If you’re a mom, you know that sometimes making a meal a hit is all in the presentation.

Presentation, if you’re cooking for adults, means making a meal pretty on a plate.

Good presentation, for a kid, means presenting a recipe in a way that either camouflages what it is, or presents it in a way that’s acceptable to the child in question.

My daughter swears she doesn’t like tacos. (I know. It’s odd. I don’t understand it—she eats spinach and broccoli happily. No tacos?) But she does like the taco bake casserole.

“Is there sour cream in it?” she asks suspiciously.

“Why no! No, there isn’t.”

“What’s that white stuff?”

“Melted cheese, sweetie. It’s melted cheese. White cheddar. Yes.”

I know, of course, that it’s horrible to intentionally mislead your child. Especially a sweet-faced nine year old. But I have forgiven my mother for perpetrating the same indiscretion in the 1970s…involving, in my case, mushrooms. I’m a proud fan of mushrooms now and I owe it all to Mama.

I like the black beans and corn in this recipe. There’s a good deal of shredded cheese on the top, but you could use less and use a low-fat sour cream and feel pretty good about yourself, I think. I used ready-made taco seasoning, but you could make your own if you have a little more time.


Tasty Taco Bake

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1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 1/2 cups salsa
1 can black beans , drained
1 can corn
small bag of tortilla chips
2 T taco seasoning
2 medium sized flour tortillas
1 cup sour cream (I used light)
2 cups shredded cheese (I like a Monterrey Jack blend)

IMG_20110301_152354Brown beef and onions, cooking with the garlic. Drain and add black beans, corn, salsa, and taco seasoning to the meat. Cook over medium heat until heated through.

Press flour tortilla shells into the bottom of a greased, large Pyrex dish. Spoon the meat and salsa mixture over the tortillas. Top with sour cream, then a layer of cheese. Crumble tortilla chips over the top of the casserole and cook at 350 for 20 minutes, covered. Remove foil and cook an additional 5-10 minutes.


Sometimes when I cook it, the consistency is a little soupy when I take it from the oven, but it firms more as it cools a little. It’s a hit at our house, even with taco-haters. :)

Delicious and Suspicious (July 6 2010) Riley Adams
Pretty is as Pretty Dies –Elizabeth Spann Craig


  1. Tacos must be second only to pizza in the kid-friendly category, which is why this casserole is a fantastic idea for family harmony. I'm also pretty sure, when it comes to mealtime, the International Maternal Union gives mothers license to fib. Of course, it doesn't prevent kids from "eating around" the thing they apparently can't stand, but that's another matter (for binding arbitration. :))

    Have a mushroom-free day,
    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. Love this recipe, Elizabeth. I don't do casseroles as often as I'd like. Why not? No idea. Love black beans and corn combined, so I may just have to give this one a go.

  3. Love it Elizabeth you know my boys will love it and who can turn down tacos.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Cleo--I hope lying is covered! Ha! Of course, we writers lie for a living, so I guess it comes naturally to us. To her credit, she did not eat around the sour cheddar. But that's probably because it permeated the whole dish!

    Julie--I think I've gravitated to the comfort aspect of them...and maybe the quick clean-up part, too!

    Babs--Hope they'll love it!

  5. Too funny about the way we have to talk to kids, sometimes. I was blessed because my son loved everything (except cereal). He used to love leftovers for breakfast. I couldn't get him to eat cereal. Sour cream? You bet. Mushrooms, sure. Cereal, bleah! LOL


  6. Avery--That's so funny! Cereal? Well, I can kind of see that...I'm not a fan of cold cereal right when I wake up, although I happily eat it later in the day or for a snack.

  7. This sounds like a yummy recipe. Quick and easy too, can't beat that. Thanks.

    Thoughts in Progress

  8. I love your family-friendly recipes, Elizabeth. This will join the list of hits-to-be with my younger relatives. And me too!


  9. Mason--It's practically my calling card! :)

    MJ--Hope they'll like it, and that you will, too!

  10. I made this for dinner tonight and it was yummy. I actually made two layers with the tortillas. It was a hit for our family. Thanks for the recipe.

  11. Wow! Becky hopped right on it!

    Like Julie, I love corn and black beans together. I think this sounds great!

    ~ Krista

  12. Becky--Cool! I'm so glad it went well. Great idea for adding more layers!

    Krista--I'm trying to add black beans into a lot of different recipes because I keep reading how healthy them are...and my family likes them! :)