[64] Tortilla Beef Cassarole

Cover of Cook Once, Eat Twice

Well, this is the third “recipe set” we’ve made or attempted to make from this cookbook, and the the second of the third set.

The basic idea behind the book is a solid one; make something that will definitely have extra on day one, then transition it into a new meal on day two. The idea is to use the ease of making extra while avoiding the “stigma” of leftovers. Unsurprisingly, this means the stuff that goes into “day two food” tends to be extremely easy to obtain and use. You’d think that would be a good thing.

Unfortunately, something is making the second day’s recipes fall somewhat flat. I’m not sure what. Now, admittedly, of the three sets we’ve made, only two have had a second day’s worth of food, so we can’t judge the second day’s recipe for the second set (that’s a failing of it’s own, for sure). However, this recipe and “the pork tacos”:http://www.metacookbook.com/archives/19-9-Pork-Tacos-with-Roasted-Green-Onions.html really didn’t come together as well as I’d like.

This one, though, is a lot better (but also a bit more work) than the pork tacos. It has some potential, and it was definitely good enough that I’m glad we made it; it might even might make the rotation. Well, in a kitchen that had a weekly/monthly rotation, it’d make the rotation. Ours just has cookbooks…

h2. Ingredients

The leftover roast chunks from “Italian-Style Pot Roast”:
6 6” corn tortillas, cut into shreds

1 16 oz jar salsa

1 1/2 c corn

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 c shredded “Mexican blend” cheese

h2. Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 11” x 7” pan. Mix everything but the cheese in a bowl, dump in the greased pan and bake for 20 minutes (everything’s already cooked, so mostly this is “until heated”). Sprinkle the cheese atop the yummy food and bake another 5 min to melt it.

Serve. Contemplate whether or not it needs more cheese. Add or not as your contemplations lead you.

h2. Cooking and Consumption Note

h3. Cooking

Uh, this is basically the easiest thing ever. It’s technically more work than the pork tacos, in that there’s a lot more to measure and chop up. Or, in my case, cheese to shred. (I had a bunch of cheese at home, so didn’t feel the need to buy a cheese blend.) However, since all you do is throw all that stuff in a bowl, then into a pan and bake, it’s not a challenge. In other words: Great for a tired weeknight.

I will say it’s pretty obvious this recipe is in NO WAY about being authentic to Mexican food of any sort. It’s really “Mexican-inspired” at best. This isn’t a complaint, actually. The nice thing about starting with a recipe that isn’t authentic, but “inspired” is that you can continue to change at will. In my case, it means I wish I’d thought of that as I was boxing up the pot roast leftovers from the day before. I’d have kept the beans (rather than opening a third can) for use here, instead of freezing them for “someday minestrone”. Sure black beans say “Mexican food” more than kidney and a lot more than white, but MEH. Meh, I say. “Easy and thrifty” says, “If you have a ton of beans from yesterday’s meal, just use them here. Drain ’em first, though.”

h3. Consumption

This was pretty tasty, in that way that anything covered in cheese is pretty tasty. “Delicious, melted cheese” was the dominant flavor, though.

The flavor of the corn came through some, as did the texture of the meat. The beans were not terribly noticable, which is another point for just using “yesterday’s” beans, if you have enough of them.

Use a good salsa. The major secondary flavor in this casserole is the salsa, and that’s no bad thing. We used one from Tomato Mountain Farm that I’d been expecting to just use on chips. It turned out well here.

Basically, if you don’t expect more than a solid, easy, fairly tasty meal, you’ll be quite pleased with this dinner. Especially on a night when you’re tired.