To me, casseroles are the best winter time comfort food! This taco-inspired casserole is easy, cheesy, and a great option for dinner any time. You can customize it with a huge variety of toppings, and serve it up family-style!
1–2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Rotel, drained
1 pound ground beef (can substitute ground turkey or plant-based protein)
1 packet taco seasoning mix (I like the spicy variety)
1 can refried beans
1 8-ounce bag shredded Mexican cheese blend
Any optional toppings you like—sour cream, sliced avocado, hot sauce, pico de gallo, sliced jalapeños, or shredded lettuce
1 bag tortilla chips
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
2. In a large skillet, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring, until softened, 3–4 minutes. Add the poblano and red bell peppers and sauté, stirring, for 1–2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring, 1–2 minutes more. Add the drained Rotel and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer.
3. While the veggies cook, in a separate large skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned (be careful not to overcook). Stir in the taco seasoning, along with 2 tablespoons (or more) of water, if needed to help combine. I don’t drain the fat, but you can if you like. Transfer the meat to the pan with the sautéed veggies and stir to combine.
4. Lightly grease a 9 x 6 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Open the can of refried beans and spread the beans into the bottom of the casserole dish. Layer the meat and veggie mixture on top of the refried beans, then top with the entire bag of shredded cheese.
5. Bake until everything is warm and the cheese is melted, 10–15 minutes.
6. Sprinkle the dish with any toppings you like, or serve the prepped toppings in individual bowls and let people add their own. Crush tortilla chips over the top of the dish and serve hot!