Beef and Bean Taco Casserole

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Did you ever wonder how we lived before Mexican food? Or Pizza? Being of the baby-boomer generation, and living in the midwest, I was raised on meat, potatoes and vegetables (corn, peas, beans (all kinds—and occasionally the horrible canned asparagus). It wasn’t until I was in high school in the early 1970s that my mom made her first pizza. It was a Chef Boyardee mix in a box, which, by the way, they still sell. Mom would put the raw hamburger on top the pizza crust and sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese on it, bake it, and grease and all, I thought I was in heaven. (I did learn later that you could brown your hamburger and drain it before putting it on the pizza–but that wasn’t my mom’s way).

Then as the years progressed and the Hispanic culture moved north, we began getting Mexican restaurants and another whole new world opened up to me and I loved it.

Once again, thanks to Facebook, I came across this recipe from comfortablefood.com, Easy Beef and Bean Taco Casserole. I made just a few changes and my husband and I both loved it. You can either eat it as an entree, or it could be an appetizer served with tortilla chips.

Ingredients

Onion–Amount is up to you, whether you like a lot of onion or not, I used half a small one.
Garlic–1 Tablespoon minced garlic (once again, it’s your taste that dictates the amount you use)
1 lb. ground beef
Taco seasoning, 2 Tablespoons ( I use Old El Paso in the 6 oz. value size)
1 6 oz. can Tomato sauce
1 can refried beans
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or more)
1 cup salsa (or more)
Corn chips or tortilla chips, crushed, one bag
1 small can sliced black olives
Tomatoes, chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Brown ground beef, onions and garlic in a skillet over medium heat until browned. Add taco seasoning and tomato sauce, stir.

In a separate bowl, mix refried beans, salsa and half of the cheese.

In a 2.5 quart baking dish (I used an old square Corningware dish), layer half of the crushed tortilla chips, the refried beans and then the rest of the tortilla chips. Top that with the hamburger mixture, the remaining cheese and the black olives. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Sprinkle with diced tomatoes and serve with sour cream and additional tortilla chips.

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