Cornbread Casserole

When I hear the word “casserole” in a recipe title, I am always a bit hesitant. It always draws up images of leftovers longing to be included in one final culinary adventure before they are either biffed or eaten forever. I usually only make a taco casserole I lifted off a Campbell Tomato Soup can years ago. Years ago, I saw a picture where someone had used a corn bread mix in a crock pot. I know others still have used them in casserole dishes. I looked at a recipe I found on Allrecipes  for about three seconds and decided to make my own with a few tips from the above link.

First, I discussed with my mum what we would put in it. She made the marvelous suggestion of corn. I then promptly forgot it while I was making the dish, but I vow it will make it into the next round!
Usually, when my husband or I try something new, we ask the other what they would change. I got a resounding “nothing” out of my hubby on this one.
I wanted to make it semi healthy- so here is what happened.

I cooked a cup of brown rice according to directions. I opened and rinsed a can of black beans and mixed the two together. To this mixture gastronomic delight I added about ½ cup salsa and 1/ 4 cup taco sauce to make sure it was moist. I used a mixture of mild & medium salsa, do what you like for taste. I spread this over the bottom of a 9×13 greased dish.

Next, I fried some onions and a few canned banana pepper slices in some olive oil and threw in the leftover ½ pound of taco meat I had in the fridge. Once everything was heated I spread this over the rice and bean mixture. I dished a little more salsa on top and threw on a handful of cheese for fun.
The kicker here is the one thing I borrowed from the recipe link above- I mixed about a cup of cheese into a boxed cornbread mix. It was phenomenal! I will add more cheese next time (the original recipe said a bag of a Kraft mix from the store). Spread this mixture on top. I baked 425F for ten minutes, then dropped the temp down to 400F for another ten. I’d say you could do the whole thing for an even 375 to 00F for about 20 to 25 minutes. It’s done when a toothpick in the cornbread comes out clean. I waited until mine had a golden tinge to the top.

The casserole had a tinge of spice without overdoing it, and the sweetness of the cornbread brought it together!
While I was so busy stuffing my face, I forgot to take a picture of the casserole. What follows is when I was packing it away for tomorrow. Since the picture of the leftovers looks so awesome, I figure that the actual picture of the casserole would have been too epic to post here. I have to say that this is one of the best recipes I have ever made, let alone pulled out of (insert term for dark place here), especially for a first try. I followed my gut.

Corn Bread Casserole

(Forget tooting the horn, I think I blew it up)
My hubby preferred it without, but I thought that a dab of fat free sour cream finished the casserole perfectly. We had it with a salad.
Change it to the level of spiciness you like for a tasty and somewhat healthy casserole!

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