Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole

Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole

You guys!!

I am pretty sure this is the very first recipe that I took creative liberties with – and it’s pretty damn good!

Way back in like 2000 or 2001, when I was first learning how to cook, the only cookbook I had was your standard Betty Crocker cookbook.  There was a recipe in there for a Mexican beef and bean casserole, but at the time I hated beans.  So I thought hey, maybe I could sub out the beans and use rice instead.  I wasn’t entirely sure how to make rice on my own, so I used a box of Rice-A-Roni Spanish Rice.  But other than that, I followed the recipe and was so excited about how it turned out.

Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole

Because it turned out really good!

Spicy beef, tender Spanish rice, gooey cheese – does it get any better than this?

This recipe makes great leftovers.  I always make a full batch of this so I can have leftovers for lunch at work for a couple of days.

Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole

1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
1 box Spanish flavor Rice-A-Roni, prepared according to package directions
1/2 cup salsa
8 oz can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 cup of shredded cheese of your choice
Cooking spray

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. In the same large skillet that you prepared the Spanish rice, add the browned and drained ground beef, salsa, tomato sauce, and chili powder. Stir to combine well.

2. Spray an 8×8 casserole dish with cooking spray and pour the beef and rice mixture into the dish. Spread evenly and flatten with the back of the spoon.

3. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and add the shredded cheese. Put back in the oven and bake for 5 minutes longer to melt the cheese. Remove and serve promptly!