Southwest Veggie + Taco Rice Casserole

This simple, healthy casserole is filled with lots of vegetables, black beans, and a delicious taco rice. It’s perfect for dinner and makes enough for lunch leftovers too. Mmm!

Southwest Veggie + Taco Rice Casserole | thepajamachef.com

Once upon a time, when we were first married, our go-to dinner was tacos, spaghetti, or some sort of seasoned chicken dish. There’s nothing wrong with any of those dinners, but unless you are using assorted boxed or packaged ingredients they aren’t that easy. Well, if you don’t buy that stuff on a regular basis, that is. [For the record, I do buy that stuff sometimes. I just don’t keep it at home regularly. My pantry is too full of seventeen kinds of grains, pastas, mustards, and sauces. Seventeen EACH that is. :)]

Southwest Veggie + Taco Rice Casserole | thepajamachef.com

 

Now, my go-to dinner is much simpler. Black beans and rice. Directions: Open freezer, remove black beans that I make by the pound in the oven. Defrost in the sink while making some rice on the stove. Heat black beans up on the stove with some homemade taco seasoning. Serve together, with assorted toppings like avocado, cilantro, green onions, hot sauce, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, etc. It’s rare that I have all those toppings on hand at once, but when I do… it’s parrrtytime! [Yes, I realize that if black beans and rice with toppings is my definition of partytime, I’m probably not very exciting. Ha.]

Southwest Veggie + Taco Rice Casserole | thepajamachef.com

This casserole is the kicked up version of black beans and rice, except everything is all mixed up together and baked til it’s ooey gooey. MMM! If you like regular black beans and rice, you’ll LOVE this version. It’s from the Budget Bytes cookbook so you know it has to be good. Probably what makes it so freakin’ awesome is that the rice isn’t just normal… it’s taco rice! If your family isn’t comfortable with meatless meals yet, I think this would be a great way to introduce the concept. There’s tons of flavor in one lil casserole dish! We loved this meal and hope you do too! :)

one year ago: Oreo Ice Cream Pie
three years ago: Spaghetti and “Meat” Balls
four years ago: Caramelized Onion Dip

Southwest Veggie + Taco Rice Casserole

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 50 minutes
  • Print

from the Budget Bytes cookbook

Ingredients:

for taco rice

  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice

for casserole

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium jalapeno, diced [deseeded if desired]
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced and quartered – or 1 cup mushrooms, another bell pepper, or an extra cup of corn
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 – 15 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups prepared taco rice [from above]
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Directions:

In a saucepan, whisk together chili powder, cumin, garlic, oregano, tomato paste, and 3 cups water. Whisk together then stir in rice. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until rice is fully cooked. Then fluff with a fork and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 inch dish with cooking spray.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Then, add rest of the veggies: jalapeno, bell pepper, zucchini, and chili powder. Stir to combine and cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until soft and all liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and stir in corn, tomatoes, and black beans. Add the taco rice [you will have extra rice left] and the cheese and stir well. Transfer to prepared pan, then bake for 20 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

Serve with green onions and cilantro.

Note:

Recipe can also be doubled [casserole portion–do not make extra rice] and baked in a 9×13 pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until bubbly.

 

 

#10DaysofTailgate: Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

A chunky vegetarian chili loaded up with beans, veggies, and pumpkin for some velvety smooth sauce. This soup makes a ton and tastes better the second day!

Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili | thepajamachef.com #10DaysofTailgate

TEAR! This is my last recipe for #10DaysofTailgate. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway… there are lots of great prizes, including one from Bob’s Red Mill. You’re probably pretty familiar with Bob already, but you can check ‘em out on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram too. :) They sent me a bag of their 13 Bean Soup Mix and boy! was it good. Thanks, Bob! It had some of my favorite beans–black beans, lentils, pinto beans–along with some fun additions like black eyed peas and lima beans.

#10DaysofTailgate Sponsors

I have a few things to admit with this recipe, guys. First, I didn’t really make it vegetarian–I used chicken broth. Oops! But you can use vegetable broth if you want… I just wanted to call it a vegetarian chili. Second, it’s not nearly as pumpkiny as I would have liked. But that’s okay–the pumpkin adds a velvety smoothness to the saucy part of the chili… that may not actually be traditional chili because it has wild rice in it. Yum. But I wanted to call it a pumpkin chili so I did. Third, it’s addictive and may cause even non-bean lovers to swoon with delight because it’s chunky, tomato-y, pumpkin-y, and delicious!

Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili | thepajamachef.com #10DaysofTailgate

Is that okay with you? Good! Go grab half the contents of your pantry, fridge, and spice cabinet and make this chili NOW. You’ll be so glad you did! It’s extra delicious with lots of melty cheese on top. Thanks, Camilla, for hosting #10DaysofTailgate! Hope y’all have enjoyed it as much as I have!

Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili | thepajamachef.com #10DaysofTailgate

four years ago: Chunky Crock Pot Applesauce

Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 3 hours + overnight soak
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups 13 bean soup mix
  • 1 – 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 – 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes in tomato juice, undrained
  • 1 – 8 ounce can tomato sauce, no salt added
  • 5 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • pinch cinnamon
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup wild rice, uncooked
  • cheese, for topping

Directions:

The night before you wish to cook, wash and sort beans to remove any small pebbles. Soak in a large bowl full of cold water. When ready to cook, drain and rinse beans.

Add all ingredients except rice and cheese to pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, then cook uncovered for 90 minutes. After that time, add wild rice to the pot and let simmer until beans and rice are soft.

Serve with cheese on top!

Here’s what the rest of the crew brought to the table…

Starters
BBQ Sausage & Cheese Plate by The Spiffy Cookie
Vegified Hot “Wings” by Curious Cuisiniere
Fried Polenta Cakes with Grilled Tomato and Mozzarella Salad by Love and Confections
Smoky Karma Stovetop Beans by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Dips
Chile con Queso by Sew You Think You Can Cook

Mains
Kicking Karma Veggie Fajita Pizza by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Not Ketchup Cherry Chipotle Steak Tacos by Making Miracles
BBQ Chickpea Sliders with Apple Slaw by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili by The Pajama Chef
Beef Kabobs by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Disclosure: I received a complementary bag of 13 Bean Soup Mix from Bob’s Red Mill as part of my participation in #10DaysofTailgate. I was not compensated in any way–for my time, to create a recipe, or to publish positive comments. I was not required to use these products as part of my recipe. My opinions are my own.

Mystery Dish: BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing

Today I have the BEST SALAD EVER to share with you!! I am so psyched, I can hardly wait to tell you about it [even though it is not original at all. But that’s okay.] But first, this recipe qualifies for not just one, but two challenges. Woohoo! First of all, I created this recipe for Mystery Dish. But since it includes a fantastic homemade ranch dressing, it also helps fulfill one of my 30 before 30 goals. Score!

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing | thepajamachef.com #mysterydish #salad #summer

This month for Mystery Dish, Chez Catey Lou is our host. Cate is so sweet and gave us such a creative list to work with! We had to use at least two ingredients from this list: raspberries, peanut butter chips, edamame, lemon, yeast, whole wheat pastry flour, bacon, buttermilk, basil, and zucchini. There were a thousand ways I thought about going [I probably say that every month…sorry] but my craving for a salad won out in the end. I used a few of Cate’s ingredients [lemon, buttermilk, and basil] to make an awesome Jalapeno Ranch Dressing to dress up a BBQ Chicken Salad.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing | thepajamachef.com #mysterydish #salad #summer

I have long searched for a good homemade ranch dressing. I’ve made this recipe once before and let me tell you..it’s a keeper! It’s creamy, spicy, and best of all… clean! No weird mystery ingredients in the powder, thankyouverymuch. The key to this recipe is the jalapeno. It just elevates this creamy, herby dressing with a bit of spice. Oh so good!

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing | thepajamachef.com #mysterydish #salad #summer

You know what else is good? This salad! I know a zillion restaurants have variations of BBQ Chicken Salad and this was mine. I just used seven ingredients so it’s pretty basic: lettuce, chicken, BBQ sauce, corn, tomatoes, black beans, and ranch dressing. You could also add avocados, onions, bacon, or anything else that strikes your fancy.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing | thepajamachef.com #mysterydish #salad #summer

I kept it simple though so the flavors could really shine. You will really want to make it again and again. One bite of this and Ben was swooning. Seriously! This is a man’s salad, and definitely fancy enough for a restaurant. Hope you enjoy it as much we do!

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing | thepajamachef.com #mysterydish #salad #summer

one year ago: Strawberry Muffins
two years ago: Sweet-Tart Quinoa Salad
three years ago: BAST sandwich

BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked chicken [leftovers from a roasted chicken work great]
  • 1 cup bbq sauce [I used Sweet Baby Ray’s]
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups fresh corn, cut from 3 ears of corn
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • Jalapeno Ranch Dressing, recipe below

Directions:

Stir together chicken and bbq sauce in a skillet set over medium-low heat. Heat for 5-7 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, toss together romaine lettuce and Jalapeno Ranch Dressing in desired amounts. Divide lettuce between four plates, then top each with a quarter of all ingredients: chicken, tomato, black beans, and corn. Toss together and enjoy!

Time: 10 minutes.
Yield: 4 meal-size salads or 8 side salads.

Jalapeno Ranch Dressing [slightly adapted from The Lively Kitchen]

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk [for this I use real buttermilk, a substitute could be kinda weird]
  • 4 green onions, chopped, with white bottoms removed
  • 1/2 of a chopped, deseeded jalapeno [~2 tablespoons]
  • 3 tablespoons  fresh parsley, chopped [or 1 teaspoon dried parsley]
  • 1/3 cup fresh Thai basil, chopped [or cilantro, basil, etc.]
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

DIrections:

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. An immersion blender works great!

Dressing thickens in the fridge so add some extra buttermilk before serving leftovers as desired.

Time: 5 minutes.
Yield: 2 cups.

Please check out the other awesome recipes from this month’s Mystery Dish!

May Mystery Dish Collage

1. Raspberry Lemon Sweet Roll Cake with Buttermilk Glaze – Baking a Moment
2. Twice Baked Zucchini Boat – Chelsea’s Messy Apron
3. Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Raspberry Mint Compote – Blahnik Baker
4. Lemon-Raspberry Bundt Cake – I Dig Pinterest
5. Peanut Butter Chip Cookies – The Dessert Chronicles
6. Mini Coconut Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting – I Want Crazy
7. Zucchini Noodles with Meat Mushroom Tomato Sauce – Joyfully Healthy Eats
8. Baked Wonton Cups Filled with Edamame Corn Salad – The Well Floured Kitchen
9. Easy 30 Minute Orange Rolls – Yummy Healthy Easy
10. BBQ Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Basil Ranch Dressing – The Pajama Chef
11. Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes – Culinary Couture
12. Zucchini Muffins with Lemon Glaze – The Weary Chef
13. Lemon Bundt Cake – Chez CateyLou

Quinoa Black Bean Burritos with Southwest Sauce

We eat a lot of black beans around here–as a simple side with tacos, on salads, with rice. For some reason though, it’s rare that the black beans themselves are the star of the meal. And why not? They are so good and so filling! These Quinoa Black Bean Burritos with Southwest Sauce are the perfect example of that.

Quinoa Black Bean Burritos with Southwest Sauce | thepajamachef.com

I honestly wasn’t expecting much of this meal, but it was so phenomenal that I just had to share. Quinoa and black beans are a natural combination, and when flavored with garlic and taco seasoning, are pretty amazing. I also added some cheese because duh. Cheese. It’s all melty and wonderful. You could certainly add the cheese separately to the burrito, but I kinda liked the gooey factor when it was stirred in with everything else.

Quinoa Black Bean Burritos with Southwest Sauce | thepajamachef.com

As good as the burrito filling is, adding some guacamole and a quick Southwest Sauce makes this burrito. For sure. The sauce’s intriguing ingredients–salsa, mayo, lime juice, maple syrup, and spices–sound a bit off, but trust me. It totally works! This sauce is tangy, sweet, and has a tiny kick–but no real heat. You could spice this up if you wanted though! These Quinoa Black Bean Burritos make a wonderfully easy vegetarian weeknight dinner, and the leftovers last for days. Serve it with a side salad and chips and salsa for a complete meal. My kind of recipe! You can bet this will be part of our regular rotation from now on. Enjoy!

a year ago… Summery Squash & Chicken Lasagna
two years ago… Watermelon Coolers
three years ago… OTT: Brown Sugar Bacon Twists 

Quinoa Black Bean Burritos with Southwest Sauce [adapted from Food.com]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed [I used 1/2 cup each red and white quinoa]
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans [or a 15 ounce can], drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons taco seasoning
  • flour tortillas
  • chopped avocados or guacamole [I made a simple guac–1 mashed avocado, lemon juice, cilantro, salt, pepper]

for Southwest Sauce

  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise [I think sour cream or plain yogurt could be substituted too]
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

Directions:

Place quinoa and broth in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook at a simmer until all liquid has been absorbed–about 12 to 15 minutes. Then, add black beans, garlic, cheese, and taco seasoning and stir until cheese has melted. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes or until heated through.

Meanwhile, prepare Southwest Sauce. Whisk together salsa, mayonnaise, maple syrup, cumin, lime juice, and chili powder. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. If salsa is chunky, you may want to smooth sauce by pureeing in a blender or food processor.

Serve by spooning quinoa black bean mixture in a large flour tortilla. Top with avocados or guacamole, then roll shut. Drizzle Southwest Sauce on top immediately before serving.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: 6-8 servings.

Linked up with Foodie Friday and Weekend Potluck.

{Green} Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

Oops. After sharing that awesome guacamole salsa last week I never came back with these yummy vegetarian enchiladas! I was too busy finishing what I hope to be the FINAL draft of my thesis! Woohoo. But here they are now. GREEN enchiladas! How fun, methinks.

{Green} Bean & Cheese Enchiladas | The Pajama Chef

These enchiladas are pretty simple, but full of flavor. Refried beans–a healthy version–plus a dab of cream cheese for creaminess makes up the filling for the soft tortillas. Then these tortillas are basically bathed in that fresh guacamole salsa and topped with more cheese. Yum and yum and yum, right? Ben and I found them to be ridiculously addictive and filling… they were gone in three days, tops.

{Green} Bean & Cheese Enchiladas | The Pajama Chef

I know these enchiladas are far from traditional–no real enchilada sauce and flour tortillas instead of corn… but I hope you don’t mind too much, because they just taste so darn good. Plus they are pretty. Can’t beat pretty food! Enjoy! :)

{Green} Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch Guacamole Salsa
  • 2 1/2 cups refried beans – I used this awesome healthified version from Rachel Cooks
  • 4 ounces cream cheese – I used Neufchâtel
  • 8 soft tortillas
  • 4 ounces shredded cheese – I used half Extra Sharp Cheddar, half Monterey Jack

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread 1 cup Guacamole Salsa in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together refried beans and cream cheese [microwave the beans first so the cream cheese melts]. Then divide the beans between the tortillas, roll up, and line in pan.

Top with another 1 1/2 cups Guacamole Salsa [or more if desired], then cover with shredded cheese.

Bake for 22-25 minutes or until heated through and cheese has melted.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings.