Taco casserole is a spicy Mexican dish which is made with taco chips or corn tortillas, meat, vegetables and several seasonings, spices, and sauces. Often taco seasoning mix and taco sauce are used as the flavoring agents of this casserole. However, other types of seasonings and sauces can also be used. The casserole can be baked both in oven and Crockpot, and is often topped with shredded cheese.
Taco refers to a Mexican dish made by rolling corn tortillas around filling composed of any kind of meat (beef, seafood, or chicken), cheese, and vegetables; however, the taco casserole is prepared not with stuffed tacos, but with crushed taco chips, which are arranged as the bottom most layer, top most layer, or combined with other ingredients to prepare a spicy and scrumptious casserole. The casserole can also be served after garnishing it with shredded lettuce and olives.
Commonly Used Ingredients and Preparation Overview of Taco Casseroles
The simplest taco casserole recipe suggests using taco chips or corn tortillas, ground meat, (browned and crumbled), sour cream, picante sauce, cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes, black olives, and shredded lettuce as the ingredients. Any kind of meat as per the preference of an individual can be used.
The picante sauce used in this taco casserole is prepared by cooking together tomato puree, white vinegar, finely chopped onions, chopped jalapeño peppers, salt, and water until the desired thickness is attained.
The casserole is prepared by layering the casserole saucier with crushed tortilla chips, crumbled meat, cream, sauce, shredded cheese. The layers are repeated again, and the casserole is covered and then baked. The casserole is served hot after topping it with chopped tomatoes, sliced black olives, and shredded lettuce.
Taco Casserole Recipe Variations
A few popular taco casserole variations have been discussed hereunder:
- Macaroni based casserole- boiled macaroni is combined with a cooked mix of browned meat, chopped onions, diced tomatoes, and tomato soup. The dish is seasoned with taco seasoning mix and then transferred to a casserole saucier. Crumbled corn tortillas or taco chips are sprinkled on the top along with cheese, and the casserole is baked. It is often served with sour cream and green onions. The taco seasoning mix used in this casserole is a blend of minced onions, chili powder, paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, dried marjoram, salt, pepper, cornstarch, minced garlic, and ground cumin.
- Taco sauce based taco casserole- the recipe for this casserole suggests layering the bottom of the casserole with some crushed tortilla chips; topping them with half portion of meat sauce made by combining together browned beef, onions, garlic, water, chiles, spicy taco sauce, taco seasoning mix, and olives; sprinkling cheese; and repeating all the layers again. The taco sauce used in this casserole is an amalgamation of tomatoes, onions, jalapeno peppers, green bell peppers, green chilies, lemon juice, cilantro, cayenne pepper, parsley, cumin, salt, and garlic powder.
- Crockpot based taco casserole- browned beef is combined with onion soup, tomatoes, taco seasoning mix, and water in a Crockpot or slow cooker, and then cooked for a number of hours after stirring in crushed tortilla chips. The casserole is served after spreading sour cream and sprinkling cheese on the top.