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Light Mexican casserole heavy on flavor
Some Kinda Good
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For a protein-packed casserole filling, lean ground beef simmers with jalapeno peppers, corn, tomatoes and black beans. - photo by REBEKAH FAULK LINGENGELSER/special

I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty healthy eater, and with the start of a new year, it feels good to make better choices and cook recipes on the lighter side. I’m not about deprivation — I love food way too much! However, developing recipes that allow me to indulge and enjoy the flavors I know and love without sacrificing taste or my waistline bring me great joy to share with others.

Mexican food, especially in quaint Southern towns, is an inevitable part of life. There’s just something so darn good about ordering a diet coke and eating chips and salsa, quesadillas and enchiladas covered in taco sauce! I never drive past local Mexican restaurants when the parking lot is not full.

From the time I was a little girl, I’ve loved taco night. I specifically remember the dish my mother served all the fixings in. It was a large white and plastic divided container that held individualized compartments for the ground beef, shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes and iceberg lettuce. My brother would get in trouble for pinching handfuls of the freshly shredded cheddar from the dish before it was time to sit down and eat.

The words Mexican food and casserole don’t typically add up to being light, but the recipe I’m sharing today is just that. Smart substitutions in recipes, such as whole wheat tortillas instead of flour or reduced or non-fat instead of full fat sour cream yield big results on the scale when chosen consistently over time. Made with lean ground beef and reduced-fat cheese, my Mexican Casserole is packed with protein from the black beans to help keep you full longer, and has a creamy filling. The casserole comes together quickly and makes for easy clean-up because it only requires one dish. You can even make it ahead and freeze for a rainy day. Serve it with guacamole and crispy tortilla chips for a Some Kinda Good and guilt-free indulgence. Light recipes don’t have to be bland!

For more fresh recipe ideas, like salmon cakes and slow-cooker Mexican chili, visit SomeKindaGood.com. Wishing you a happy, healthy new year! 


Mexican Casserole


Ingredients

● 1 lb. lean ground beef

● 1⁄2 cup onion, chopped

● 1⁄4 cup sliced jalapeno pepper, chopped

● Salt and pepper to taste

● 2 cups fresh tomato, chopped (or one 15 oz. can diced tomatoes)

● 1 can (15 oz.) corn, kernels drained

● 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained

● 1 package (1 1/4 oz.) taco seasoning mix

● 8 corn tortillas

● 3⁄4 cup non-fat sour cream

● 1⁄3 cup reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese blend

● 1⁄3 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste (less or more)


Brown ground beef and chopped onions in large skillet for 10 to 12 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring constantly. Season well with salt and pepper. Add corn, black beans, tomatoes, jalapenos and taco seasoning mix; mix well. 


Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Meanwhile spray a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cut each tortilla in half; place 8 halves in bottom of baking dish, overlapping slightly. Spoon half of beef mixture evenly over tortillas. Spoon sour cream over beef mixture; spread evenly. Top with remaining 8 tortilla halves and remaining beef mixture. (Cover tightly with foil and freeze for later or cook as directed below). Thaw overnight if frozen. 


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Cover; let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. 


Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, slice into 8 servings and enjoy. 



Georgia native Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a food enthusiast, writer and the cooking show host of SKG-TV on YouTube. A Season 14 finalist on "Food Network Star," she is the personality behind the blog, SomeKindaGood.com. Rebekah is a Georgia Southern University alumna and attended Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Savannah. Search Facebook for Some Kinda Good, tweet her @SKGFoodBlog or visit RebekahLingenfelser.com.

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