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Southwestern Casserole

Total Time

Prep: 25 min. Bake: 40 min.

Makes

2 casseroles (6 servings each)

I've been making this mild family-pleasing southwest casserole recipe for years. It tastes wonderful, fits nicely into our budget and, best of all, makes a second one to freeze and enjoy later. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

Directions

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat, crumbling beef, until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in next 8 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Drain macaroni; stir into beef mixture.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. Transfer macaroni mixture to 2 greased 2-qt. baking dishes. Top with cheese and jalapenos. Cover and bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until bubbly and heated through, about 10 minutes longer. Serve 1 casserole. Cool the second; cover and freeze up to 3 months.
  3. To use frozen casserole: Thaw in refrigerator 8 hours. Preheat oven to 375°. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake, increasing time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165°, 20-25 minutes.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • A Monterey, California, businessman named David Jacks made Monterey Jack cheese popular in the late 1800s by shipping it to San Francisco and other areas of the U.S.
  • Using lean ground beef instead of beef that’s 80% lean saves 45 calories per 4-ounce serving of beef. Lean ground beef is also 29% lower in saturated fat.
  • Check out 50 vintage casserole recipes that deserve a comeback.
  • Nutrition Facts

    1 cup: 321 calories, 15g fat (7g saturated fat), 64mg cholesterol, 673mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 4g fiber), 24g protein.