• Leigh

Zucchini and Tex-Mex Casserole


I had no idea what to call this dish. It's a combination of multiple things and includes a cheesy zucchini bottom layer topped with a savory blend of ground beef and Tex-Mex spices. The casserole is easy, full of lots of great vegetables and protein, and it will serve a crowd. The spices are mild to accommodate those who don't care for spicy foods. If you like heat, you may want to serve hot peppers on the side. The dish makes a fantastic, tasty way to serve an informal meal to company. Feel free to garnish the casserole with chopped cilantro, sour cream, green onions, cheese, avocados, sweet peppers or jalapeños ..whatever you'd like. It's really, really good, so make it when you're hungry! Oh, and on the side? How about a green salad and cornbread?

Zucchini and Tex-Mex Casserole -- Serves 6+

4 cups of shredded zucchini

1/2 teaspoon of salt

2 large eggs

1/4 cup of milk

2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1 small package (8 1/2 ounces) of Jiffy cornbread mix (or similar)

1-1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef (93 percent)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of chili powder

1/2 teaspoon of adobo (optional)

1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1 7-ounce can of chopped green chiles, undrained

1/4 cup of chopped black olives, drained

Combine the grated zucchini and salt and let them sit in a colander over a dish for at least 30 minutes, pressing the zucchini periodically with the back of a spoon to extract as much moisture as possible. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and coat a large baking dish (3-4 quarts or a 9 x 13-inch pan) with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, eggs, milk, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, and the muffin mix and stir to blend them well. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth it out evenly. Bake the zucchini mixture for 20-30 minutes or until set. While the zucchini base bakes, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and spray it with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray. Saute the beef and onion for 10-15 minutes or until the onion softens and the beef is cooked. Add the garlic powder, cumin, oregano, pepper, salt, chili powder, and adobo and stir everything well. Stir in the tomatoes, chiles, and black olives. Partially cover the mixture, turn down the heat to a simmer, and let the mixture cook for 10-15 minutes to blend the flavors. When the zucchini base is done, pour the beef and sauce mixture over it evenly. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese evenly. Return the baking dish to the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and let it sit, if possible, for 10 minutes before serving it (it helps it firm up). Sprinkle the top of the casserole with cilantro.

#casserole #TexMex #groundbeef #zucchini

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