Thursday, September 18, 2008

Easy Taco Bake

Inspired by Cathy's (mmm-yoso) Friday's $5 meals for two, I thought I'd share one of my go-to "cheap" meals. I usually have all the ingredients on hand, maybe with the exception of ground beef on some occasions. This recipe has 3 things going for it, cheap, can be a 1-pot recipe, and heats up well as a leftover, if there are any. This recipe easily feeds 2 people, possibly 3 with some sides.

If you want to make this as a 1-pot recipe, you'll need a Dutch oven or a pot that is oven safe up to 400 degrees F. If you rather use a baking dish, spray a 13x9-inch (~3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray before putting the meat mixture in.

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef (your choice of fat content; you can also substitute in ground turkey or chicken)
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomato (Del Monte Mexican Recipe recommended)
1 package of taco seasoning (Taco Bell recommended)
1 (6.5 oz) package cornbread mix (Betty Crocker Cornbread & Muffin mix recommended)




Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a Dutch oven or a heavy pot on medium heat, cook the onions and garlic until translucent, about 6 minutes. (If not making as a 1-pot recipe, then use any pan to cook the meat mixture.) Don't let the garlic burn. Add meat and cook until brown.

Add stewed tomatoes with juice. I typically like to puree the stewed tomatoes because I don't like the big chunks of tomatoes in the dish. You can coarsely chop them, too.

Add the taco seasoning and mix well. Cook until heated through. If using a baking dish, spray the dish with cooking spray, then transfer the meat mixture into the baking dish.


Prepare the cornbread mix according to package. Drop batter by spoonfuls over the meat mixture. Spread to cover. Don't worry if there are some bare spots since the mix will puff up and spread.
Put in oven and bake for 16-18 minutes. Just a note that if you are using a Dutch oven for baking, check the cornbread around 12 minutes since it tends to cook much faster. You might also need to turn the oven down to about 375 degrees. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

And here's the final product.

And here it is plated.

Of course you can bake the cornbread by itself and then serve it with the meat but the less pots I have to wash, the better! Now if you like a kick in your taco, add some taco sauce or even some chili pepper when cooking up the meat.

Sometimes I will put honey butter on top of the cornbread as soon as it comes out of the oven. I love honey butter on cornbread! Honey butter is easy to make. I mix 1 pound butter with 1/3 cup honey with a hand mixer until the honey is just incorporated into the butter. This will keep for a long time in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Have a wonderful weekend. Now go and eat well.

5 comments:

KirkK said...

Soon enough we'll have enough of these for a cookbook!

Cathy said...

I am honored...and inspired. You made something I hadn't thought of.

Barefoot Plumies said...

Hey Kirk, how about "Bloggers' way of eating cheap but good!"

Hey Cathy! If you try this, let me know how you like it. I was thinking stew or some other kind of meaty dish that goes well with cornbread might work too.

Chubbypanda said...

That's a really cute idea. I might do a smaller version of this in ramekins for Cat and myself. You could probably freeze them in their raw state and bake them as ready-make meals.

Barefoot Plumies said...

Hi CP! Baking in ramekins is an excellent idea! I'm sure it'll hold up to freezing too. Maybe I'll try a double batch next time and freeze half to test it. Thanks for the great ideas.