This recipe comes from a small, unassuming, and rather generic looking spiral-bound cookbook, 101 Things to do with a Tortilla. I received this book as a gift a few years ago, and at first totally dismissed it. It uses a lot of canned ingredients, which usually isn’t my thing, and it has no photos. But somewhere along the line, I decided to give it a go, and was immediately impressed. The recipes are very easy, very fast, and very inexpensive. While I’m not usually into cooking from cans, which so often contain soggy and gray produce that barely resembles the fresh version of the same, sometimes it’s just so easy! And certain foods actually taste good from a can, such as tomatoes and beans.
For this recipe, I paired the canned goods and supermarket produce with ground beef from our favorite local beef farmers, Bass Farms, who use sustainable growing techniques and minimal chemicals. They have a little farm stand off the highway just outside of the Shawnee National Forest, nested amongst rolling hills and forests of tall, bright green trees with thick undergrowth. The stand sells beef as well as a variety of summer produce, including tomatoes and peaches, and flowers too. We try to get to their stand at least once a month during the summer.
This particular combination of beef, canned tomatoes and beans, plus some fresh produce, heavy seasoning, cheese, and tortillas, is especially delicious. The original version of this recipe was light on veggies and color, so I added in a red bell pepper and some corn. The tortilla pieces soak up the juices and cheese, becoming meltingly soft. All of the other ingredients meld together, and although the finished dish isn’t sliceable like lasagna, instead becoming more of a stew, you won’t mind at all. It tastes great. However, I suspect draining the beans, reducing the amount of liquid, would help the dish stand up rather than collapse on the plate. This certainly isn’t necessary though, as I lapped up every bit of the extra juices on my plate.
*Sorry I forgot to take photos of the prep for this dish.
Slow Cooker Burrito Bake
Heavily adapted from 101 Things to do with a Tortilla, by Stephanie Ashcraft & Donna Kelly
I made my own spice blend for this recipe, instead of using packaged taco seasoning. It seems silly to buy a little paper package of spices from the store when I have a pantry full of them. I used about 1 teaspoon each cumin, chili powder, salt, and garlic powder. This is merely an estimate though, as I just dumped in a bunch of each, without measuring.
1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning (see Note)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 16 oz. can black beans, with liquid
1 16 oz. can pinto beans, with liquid
2 10 oz. cans tomatoes and green chiles, drained
8 medium flour tortillas, torn or sliced with a pizza cutter into small pieces
4 cups grated cheddar cheese
1. Brown ground beef and drain. Stir in taco seasoning or your own spice mix.
2. Combine onions, peppers, and corn in a bowl.
3. In a 4 ½- to 6-quart slow cooker, layer one-third of each ingredient, in the order listed above, starting with the seasoned ground beef. Repeat layers twice more.
4. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low, or 3 to 4 hours on high.
Yield: 8 servings
My name is Hillary. This blog is about the everyday food I prepare in my kitchen, with tips and recipes for easy, wholesome, and diet friendly meals. I have been chanting "cheese please!" since I was a toddler, although lately I've cut back on dairy.