Saturday, March 13, 2010


4 cups water
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 pkg (1 1/4-oz) taco seasoning mix, divided
4 cups uncooked instant rice
2 cans (8-oz each) no-salt added tomato sauce
1 lb lean ground beef
1 can (16-oz) fat-free refried beans
1 pkg (8-oz) reduced-fat shredded Mexican blend cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saucepan, combine the water, chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, salt, and pepper along with half the packet of taco seasoning mix. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat. Stir in the rice and allow to stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce.

Meanwhile, cook the ground beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until thoroughly browned, stirring to crumble. Drain and rinse with hot water. Return to the skillet and stirring in the remaining half of the taco seasoning mix.

Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread half the rice mixture into the bottom of the pan or dish. Spread the beans evenly over the rice mixture. Top rice with the beef mixture and sprinkle beef with half the package of cheese. Spread remaining rice mixture over the cheese; top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes until cheese melts and casserole is bubbly.

Serve with salsa, sour cream or other condiments, if desired.

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