Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Layered Turkey and Bean Casserole

Well, it looks like I’ve been away from the computer again. It’s that darn day job thing that’s killing my creative performance. I recently changed positions at work (technically, it was a promotion – hooray!), so my schedule also changed. I used to work ridiculously early (5:45 am – 2:15 pm) but now…let’s just say coming home at 6:30 pm requires some adjustment in the dinner department.

And so I’m now trying to work out how to make ahead as much as I can, without having to dedicate weekends (and I have to work every other weekend) to stocking the freezer with nourishing but mediocre casseroles. Instead, I’m trying to see what sauces or mise en place or other things I can prepare in the morning or the night before that can be tossed with their accompanying pastas or other ingredients or side dishes, hopefully getting things down to a 45-minutes-or-less supper.

I’m also playing around with the timed baked functions of my oven. That’s what I used to bake this Southwestern-themed layered casserole. There’s a layer of browned and seasoned ground turkey with tomatoes and green chiles, plus layers corn, refried beans (I used homemade re-cooked beans), and, of course, cheese. It’s easy to put together and can be made a day or two ahead and heated up on the day you need it.

This casserole is deliciously savory with really complex flavors for its relative logistical simplicity. Even though the weather is getting warmer, I might keep this hot dish on the menu. The leftovers reheat nicely so I can get a couple meals out of it. It might just save me from eating way too many frozen pizzas in the coming months while I figure out just how late I’m willing to have my suppertime be.

Layered Turkey and Refried Bean Casserole
Adapted from Cooking Light, October 2002

1 pound ground turkey
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
2 cups frozen (or fresh) corn, thawed
16 ounces refried beans
1 ½ cups Colby-Jack cheese

Taco-style toppings, such as salsa, chopped tomatoes, black olives, green onions, etc.

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large skillet, combine the ground turkey and onion. Cook, stirring often to crumble the turkey until the turkey is fully browned. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, salt and garlic. Cook about 1 minute more, stirring often.

2. Stir in the tomatoes and green chiles. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5-8 minutes.

3. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray, or grease it with oil. Spread the turkey mixture evenly into the bottom of the dish. Top the turkey mixture with the corn in an even layer. Carefully spread the refried beans over the corn. Top the beans with the cheese.

4. Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the casserole is heated through. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving. Garnish each serving with your choice of toppings.

Makes about 6 servings.

Another recipe like this one: Corn and Bean Skillet Pasta

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