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With ringing bells and Christmas carols, candlelight and Christmas lights, the jolliest season is here…along with the hustle and bustle and frantic racing…where is dinner coming from?
It may be the best season of the year, but between school, work, parties (kids, neighbors’ family, work, school…), kids’ activities, gift buying, gift wrapping, busy streets, and perhaps, snowy streets, getting dinner on the table is the last thing any one feels like doing, but hang up that phone. I’ve got an easy homemade recipe for dinner.
No need for takeout with this easy and tasty Mexican beef and rice layered casserole. I grabbed the ingredients while I was Black Friday shopping at Walmart. Then all I had to do was a little prep work, throw it together, and slide it in the oven. Make it ahead, double the batch, pop some in the freezer for next week, and my friends, yes you CAN this holiday.
Yes, you CAN breathe a sigh of relief.
Yes, you CAN feed your family well.
Yes, you CAN this holiday.
And yes you CAN use canned tomatoes. There is nothing as tasty as a fresh tomato in summer, but it’s a bit harder to find one of those in a cold Northeast winter. Instead, canned tomatoes are a winter staple in my house – and that’s for more than one reason – not only do they pack more flavor than most winter selections in the produce department, but they are affordable and make dinner quick and easy too. Many of our favorite hearty meals call for them.
This “hustling and bustling” season from Thanksgiving to New Year is my favorite season. Still, it is so full with juggling every day of the year responsibilities along with all the things the holidays add on that I find myself short on time for meals.
This is when I fall back on making easy casseroles that start with one base and can be made into different meals or double up batches of our favorite dish. Hunt’s diced tomatoes work in several of my favorite easy casseroles. I fry ground beef, while rice and/or pasta cooks, then add just the right cheeses and other additions to make a few casseroles at once – baked ziti, lasagna, and this layered casserole all use similar ingredients.
I recommend serving this casserole over mixed greens or adding a steamed veggie to the side to complete the meal. I’m on a kale kick (nothing easier than grabbing a bag of pre-cut kale in the produce department) so I’m making a salad for lunch with the leftovers and kale.
Mexican Beef and Rice Layered Casserole
- 1 pound ground meat
- 2 cups rice, uncooked
- 1 - 15 ounce can Hunt's diced tomatoes
- 1 - 15 ounce can Rosarita Traditional refried beans
- 1 - 10 ounce Mild RO*TEL
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 8 ounces shredded cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, or pepper jack)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Pull cream cheese out to soften.*
- Cook rice per instructions on container.
- While rice is cooking, fry ground beef and garlic.
- Mix cream cheese and 4 ounces cheese together, reserving last 4 ounces of cheese for top of casserole.
- Put cooked rice in bottom of 9x13 baking dish.
- Mix in diced tomatoes.
- Smooth out in bottom of dish.
- Dot rice with spoonfuls of cheese mixture then smooth out. Will be sticky.
- Spread fried ground meat over top.
- Dot refried beans over top of meat then smooth out. Will be sticky like the cheese.
- Spread RO*TEL over top of beans.
- Spread remaining cheese over top.
- Bake 30 minutes if making immediately or 45 minutes to 1 hour if heating another day.
- Sometimes I will put cream cheese in oven for a few minutes to soften.
Here’s where I found the ingredients for Mexican Beef and Rice Layered Casserole.
Want more recipes that say “Yes You Can” this holiday season? Check them out!More Easy Homemade Recipes
Pastel Azteca (Chicken Enchilada Casserole)