This Mexican casserole is an easy dinner that comes together quickly with only 5 ingredients. It’s kid-friendly and is a great meal for sneaking in extra veggies without your kids knowing. Mom win!
We’ve been in lazy mode this week. Since returning from our Florida trip, I haven’t felt like being super ambitious (our trip filled my ambitious quota for awhile), so we’ve done a lot of playing in the sand box, making smoothies, and reading stories.
Vacations are awesome, right? It’s so fun to get away from the normal routine and see new places, but it’s also exhausting, especially when you’re traveling with little kids. In some ways it’s hard to come home and get back to the normal responsibilities of work, cleaning, cooking meals, etc. But in other ways, it’s great to get back to normal life. So in an effort to look on the bright side of returning to the real world, here are five reasons I’m glad to be home from vacation.
- I don’t have to use my GPS every time I want to drive somewhere.
- I have my own room, and my kids each have their own rooms again. No more huddling in a dark hotel room watching Netflix with headphones.
- My bed. I love my bed.
- My kids practically have a whole brand new set of toys, or they feel that way after not playing with all theirs for a week. They have been so content to play by themselves with their long-lost friends (toys) this week.
- I can enjoy a good, healthy, home-cooked meal that actually involved fruits and vegetables. Does anyone else feel like it’s really hard to find healthy, budget-friendly food options on vacation? Even with taking a trip to the grocery store for good, healthy snack and breakfast foods while we were on vacation, I was so burned out on junk food by the time we got back.
Speaking of home-cooked meals, here is an oldie-but-goodie from my childhood. It’s super fast and easy, and when I made it to take pictures for this post, Little Man kept telling me “Mom, this is a really good dinner!” I pretty much feel like I won the lottery whenever he says things like that.
It’s not necessarily the most healthy meal on the planet by itself (hello canned chili), but it’s a great recipe for adding hidden vegetables (like I mentioned in my 6 sneaky ways to get kids to eat healthy food). Plus we usually garnish our casserole with tomatoes and avocado, which my boys both love, so that ups the nutrition, too. Add a green salad or a fruit salad and some rice (brown if you want to be super healthy), and dinner is served!
- 12 corn tortillas
- 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
- 1 can chili (15 oz.)
- 1 can black beans (15 oz.), rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack, or–my fave–a combination)
- optional–1/2 cup vegetable puree, butternut squash or sweet potato
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Brown ground beef. Drain well. Mix in chili and black beans, warming through.
- Grease the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch casserole dish. Layer ingredients (think lasagna), starting with tortillas. I use 3 tortillas per layer, ripping them to fit the shape of the dish (see picture).
Add a layer of the meat mixture, then top with cheese. Repeat 3 times, for a total of 4 layers.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. (If you’re in a rush, you can even microwave it for 5 minutes, but you don’t get the crispy top, which I think makes a big difference in the taste.)
- Serve with Mexican rice and your choice of garnishes (we often add tomato and avocado, but we’ve also added olives, sour cream, cilantro, or whatever other taco ingredients we have on hand). Enjoy!
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