Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole

We love baked rice casseroles like this one - they are so very versatile, cozy, and comforting for a cool evening - and easy! All things I look for when thinking about week night meals. I love the addition of spinach in this casserole - it's a great way to change up a classic Mexican rice dish, and up the veggie content! 

You can use really any mix of your favorite cheeses / chips with this casserole; I happened to have some open BBQ chips that needed to be used up, and thought hey why not! They ended up working great with the smoky / spicy flavor profile of the casserole. Cheesy chips or plain tortilla chips would be fantastic as well! Feel free to use any combination of cheddar / jack / mozzarella, etc. to use what you have on hand. Fire roasted or plain tomatoes in place of Rotel would all work!

Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole

nonstick cooking spray
1 pound ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced
1 TBS minced garlic (jarred)
1 1-oz packet taco seasoning
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (10-ounce) can Rotel diced tomatoes
1 cup red salsa
1 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
10 - 12-oz fresh spinach, trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cups cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella, Mexican-blend, or cheddar cheese
2 cups crushed chips or crackers (I used bbq chips)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray then set aside.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the ground beef along with the diced onion over medium, to medium-high heat, seasoning mixture with a little salt and pepper during cooking. Cook about 10 minutes, until beef is well browned and onion is tender. Stir in the minced garlic and stir another minute.
  3. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over meat mixture, and stir in the diced tomatoes, salsa, and black beans, and uncooked rice until combined. Carefully stir in the fresh spinach until it is incorporated. If you have room in the skillet, stir in the broth and 1 cup of cheddar cheese (if you don't room, move mixture to prepared skillet and gently stir in those remaining two ingredients until combined). 
  4. Bake 45-50 minutes, covered with foil, in the preheated oven.
  5. Remove from oven, stir to combine and if rice is fully cooked, sprinkled with crushed chips and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Return to oven, uncovered, and bake 10 more minutes to crisp up the topping and melt the cheese.
  6. Allow to rest a few minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from VMB on AllRecipes


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