Thursday, January 24

Taco Casserole -- More Freezer Cooking

     So on the menu for last night was the frozen Pasta Bake. Well I, being who I am, forgot that it needed to be pulled out of the freezer the night before or morning of. I didn’t remember this until about 3 o’clock. J So I decided to use this time in the kitchen to put together the Twice Baked Potatoes for the freezer and also put together the Taco Casserole – one for dinner last night and one to put in the freezer.

     The girls and I had spent the afternoon playing Lego stories and then some time playing on the Wii (MarioKart, tennis, golf and then I introduced them to the boxing haha) while I had a chicken boiling on the stove…so it was time for them to go play together so I could spend some time in the kitchen.

      The chicken had cooked completely and cooled so I started out pulling that apart and dividing it into 4 small containers to put in the freezer along with a bag of the chicken breasts. Only 3 containers will make it into the freezer though since I’ll need one for the Taco Casserole.

     First thing to do is getting 2 cups of rice into my rice cooker with chicken broth (instead of water, it makes it tastier) and let that go…it’ll tell me when it’s done.  I like that since I’m otherwise horrible at cooking rice. J

     While the rice is cooking, I drained and rinsed (and then drained and rinsed again) two cans of cannellini beans. I set my skillet over medium heat and poured in two cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes. Then I added the beans and the chicken. Lastly, I added 2 teaspoons of my Caribbean Style Adobo seasoning (I found it at Savory & Spice…I’ll have to do a post about this later….that place is awesome!) and stirred it all up. You could also use a packet of taco seasoning like the original recipe calls for or throw your own taco spice mix into the pan. Let that simmer until your rice is done.

     While I was doing all this cooking in the kitchen, I was being treated to a fashion show. :)

     Okay, so here’s where things get a little “up in the air”. The original recipe calls for you to use two 9x13 pans but since I didn’t have those, I was ready to use a glass 9x13 dish (since I was going to go ahead and bake this up tonight for dinner) and a smaller tin pan; I think it is about 8x5. So I don’t recommend using two 9x13 pans…unless you have lots more rice and such. I probably could have put this all in the large glass dish, but I really wanted something to put in the freezer for later.

     Anyway, I sprayed both pans down with nonstick cooking spray. I put about a quarter of the rice in the small pan and spread the rest of the rice out in the large glass dish.
     Next, I put about a cup and a half of the tomato mixture over-top of the rice and spread it out a little more evenly. Then the remaining mixture got poured over the rice in the glass dish and spread out.

     Both dishes got a nice covering of shredded cheddar cheese.
     The glass dish went into the preheated oven at 350 degrees. I’d say let it cook only about 35 minutes. Mine went longer and some of the edges started drying out…which means some of the beans and rice was crunchy. So I think 35 minutes would be a good amount of time if you are baking it right after assembling it. Otherwise, cover your dish with some tin foil and label “Taco Casserole – Thaw and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour”.

     With dinner, I set out on the table chopped up lettuce, sour cream, and sliced black olives. I would have set out green olives if we had any. J And I’m gonna level with you – my kids didn’t go for this. At. All. Because, according to my oldest, it had tomatoes and beans and chicken. (Yeah, if you are going through the ingredients that is most of the dinner. Haha) But the hubby and I enjoyed it. It was good with the extra toppings too.
     When it comes time to cook up the second batch, I think this may be good as a burrito filler or even a topper on nachos. Sounds good, doesn’t it? J

Taco Casserole
Recipe adapted from one found on
4 c. cooked rice
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed OR
      2 cans black beans, drained & rinsed
2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 tsp California Style Adobo seasoning OR
      1 packet of taco seasoning
1 c. cook, shredded chicken
1 ½ c. shredded cheddar cheese
1)      Cook rice according to package directions. Spray two disposable pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2)      Heat a skillet over medium heat. In the skillet, combine the beans, tomatoes, chicken and seasoning. Heat to simmering and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.
3)      When the rice is finished cooking, spread the rice evenly between both pans.
4)      Divide the tomato mixture evenly between both pans.
5)      Sprinkle the cheese overtop of both pans.
6)      Cover the pans with tin foil and label – “Thaw and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour”.
7)      Pop ‘em in the freezer!

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