Healthy Taco Casserole

By 11:00 a.m. today – the day as I thought it would be was gone.  Everything I planned to do today was thrown out the window. My day disintegrated with too many e-mails, too long phone conversations, and too much laundry.

And the snow didn’t help either – it prevented me from running away.

When life frazzles around you, run to the kitchen!

I was recently approached by Red Gold Tomatoes to try their product and if I liked it – write about it.

Typically I don’t do this – unless I find a product that I just have to share with you…

This week a cute little package of tomato products showed up on my doorstep and well, I do consider myself a tomato snob…

In their e-mail, they shared…

Red Gold,  a family-owned company that grows some of the most sought-after tomatoes in the natural conditions of the Midwest.

And I warned them, I was a tomato snob.

For a few days, these cans of tomatoes sat on my kitchen table begging me to try them. I scanned my favorite recipes, cookbooks and to find a good recipe to try them on. came through when I found a recipe for a Healthy Taco Casserole. I had all the ingredients in my frig but I needed to convert it to gluten free since my daughter was joining us for dinner.

The result – delicious!

Full of fresh veggies – even kale. I’m still experimenting with kale these days and the more I use it, the more I like it. I didn’t hear anyone complain around the dinner table.

Easy – after all my ridiculous e-mails and phone calls today – I needed easy.

So here we go!

After browning the beef, remove and saute onions, olives, a pepper (I used a lonely yellow pepper that was hanging out in the bin), and chopped kale.

Add garlic.

And tomatoes! I may add – the Red Gold tomatoes were sweet and held their own shape from the can.

Add ground meat back into the veggie mix and begin to build your casserole by layering the meat mixture with tortillas (I used corn tortillas for my gluten-free child). I like to cut the tortillas into strips so the meat/veggie mixtures seeps through the layers.

and cheese!

Lots and lots of cheese!

While the casserole is baking – make the salsa. And trust me, this salsa makes the dish! It’s not that hard to make and besides, what else are you going to do while the casserole is baking?

Onions, olives, cherry tomatoes and parsley makes for a lovely salsa.

Top it off with a little sour cream and you have a winner.

You don’t even have to tell them that there’s kale in it…they’ll never know!

What I was making last year: Rosemary Focaccia!

Taco Casserole (Healthy)
A Kitchen Muse: 
Recipe type: Casserole
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
An easy Mexican casserole loaded with the goodness of veggies!
  • ½ lb lean ground beef
  • 1 (3.8 oz) can sliced California ripe olives, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-large onion, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 6 oz kale, rinsed, tough center ribs removed, and chopped
  • ¾ cup water, divided
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5) oz canned diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 (5 inch) corn tortillas
  • ¼ cup sliced California ripe olives (reserved from the 3.8 oz can)
  • ½ cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ small onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray a 8 x 8 square pan with PAM.
  3. Brown the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes.
  4. Drain the meat and set aside
  5. Rinse and drain the olives, then measure out ¼ cup and set aside.
  6. Wipe out the skillet that the meat was cooked in and add the olive oil.
  7. Heat the skillet over medium heat, and add the onion and bell pepper.
  8. Cook until the veggies start to soften, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Turn heat up to medium-high and then add the kale and ¼ cup water; cover the skillet and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  10. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  11. Stir in the remaining ½ cup water, olives (except the reserved ¼ cup), canned tomato, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and black pepper.
  12. Turn heat down to medium and cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  13. To assemble the casserole, spread about ½ cup of the meat/veggie mixture in the bottom of the prepared dish.
  14. Cut corn tortillas into strips and layer over the meat/veggie mixture.
  15. Spread ⅓ of the remaining meat/veggie mixture on top of the tortillas, and sprinkle ⅓ of the cheese onto the meat/veggie mixture.
  16. Place the 2nd layer of corn tortilla strips on top and repeat with the meat/veggie mixture and the cheese.
  17. Place the 3rd layer of corn tortillas strips on top and repeat with the last of the meat/veggie mixture and the cheese.
  18. Bake until the cheese on top is melted and starting to brown, about 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.
  19. Combine all ingredients for the Olive Salsa.
  20. Serve casserole with a dollop of sour cream and salsa.



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3 comments on “Healthy Taco Casserole

  1. Bobbie Carichner on said:

    I made your Taco Casserole for this evening’s supper, and it was delicious. There is a slight problem with the recipe. In step 13 you refer to the meat/vegie mixture, but you hadn’t said when to mix the meat into the vegies. This was not a huge problem, and the recipe is worth repeating. Next time I will add some heat to it.

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