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Quick meals help ahead of holidays


Running through stores filled with Christmas decorations reminds me the holidays are fast approaching.

If you’re like me, cooking for large feasts often takes away from other meals around the holiday.

That’s why I’m always on the lookout for dinner ideas that can be prepared quickly or even ahead of time and thrown in the freezer. This taco casserole from a new cookbook by Christy Jordan fits the bill.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner and Christmas close behind, it’s a good recipe to have on hand to keep company well fed.


Note: Recipe is easily doubled to be made in a 9-by-13-inch pan.

  • ¼ cup butter (½ stick)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 packet (1.25 ounces) taco seasoning mix
  • 2 cups instant mashed potato flakes
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can (15 ounces) refried beans
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce
  • Favorite taco toppings, such as shredded cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped fresh tomatoes, diced onions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the milk and 2 tablespoons of the taco seasoning. Remove from the heat and stir in the mashed potato flakes. Press the mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides of an ungreased, 10-inch ovenproof pie plate.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef, sprinkle it with the salt and pepper. Cook, using a wooden spoon to break it into small, crumbled pieces, until fully browned, about 10 minutes. Carefully drain off and discard the grease.

Add the refried beans, barbecue sauce, ¼ cup water and the remaining taco seasoning to the skillet and cook, stirring until the mixture is bubbly, 10 minutes.

Turn the beef mixture out into the prepared crust. Bake, uncovered, until the casserole is bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes.

Cut the casserole into wedges and serve with whatever taco toppings you enjoy.

Makes: 4 servings.

From Christy Jordan’s “Come Home to Supper”

Contact M. Clare Haefner at chaefner@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7551.