Healthified Tex-Mex Casserole

Do you ever get an insane craving for Tacos? I do. It may be due to my former love of Taco Bell, or my love of Chili’s “salsa con queso” from college. Whatever it is, tacos, nachos, and margaritas remind me of summer and the sun, and on this cold, wintry day in Boston, I could not stop thinking about Mexican dishes! Now that I strive to cook healthier versions of my favorite foods, I hoped I could find one to satisfy my Mexican craving. One of my weekly rituals includes sifting through my old or new Cooking Light magazines and choosing 2-3 recipes to base meals upon for the week. So, it was seemingly appropriate that I happened to stumble upon a recipe for “Mexican Casserole” with all that salsa on my brain today!

I substituted the tofu in the original recipe with ground turkey meat, and added red peppers and extra tomatoes because really, you can NEVER have too many vegetables! I also cooked the turkey meat as if I was preparing it for tacos, which gave it that extra “kick” it needed, and used “Baked” Tostito Scoops for the chips in the recipe. My roomies and I really enjoyed this healthy tex-mex casserole, and the best part is, this is a meal that will last for days. Looking to cut down on cooking meals during the work week? Make this!

Inspired by Cooking Light’s Mexican Casserole

2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 package taco seasoning
1 package ground turkey meat
baked tortilla chips
Cooking spray
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 cups chopped seeded plum tomato
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded light cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Coat large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat, and add 1 teaspoon oil. Add onion to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, jalapeño, and red pepper; cook 1 minute. Stir in chili powder, cumin, black pepper; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from pan and put to the side.

3. Re-spray pan and add turkey meat. Cook according to taco-seasoning package.

4.Arrange half of tortilla chips in an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; top evenly with taco meat.

3. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in skillet over medium heat. Add beans, mashing with the back of a wooden spoon until chunky and thick; cook 2 minutes or until heated, stirring constantly. Stir in vegetables, and tomatoes. Layer bean/vegetable mixture over turkey meat in dish. Top with remaining tortilla chips, and then sprinkle evenly with cheese Bake at 375 for 13-15 minutes.
Serve with a side of salsa, a salad, and extra ice water! Enjoy 🙂


2 Responses to “Healthified Tex-Mex Casserole”

  1. 1 Monique February 17, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Mere- I love this twist to the tradional ‘taco casserole’ that my mom and i love to make (and eat)!! we never add chips to the top… such a good idea!

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