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Cheesy Spanish Rice and Beef Casserole

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This Cheesy Spanish Rice and Beef Casserole is an easy, budget-friendly meal that will last a few nights. Combining the flavors of Spanish rice, ground beef, bell peppers, and melted cheese, this dish is sure to be a hit with the whole family.

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Ingredients

  • 1 box Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (plus more for topping)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Spanish Rice

  1. Cook Rice: Prepare the Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice according to the instructions on the box. Set aside once cooked.

Step 2: Cook the Beef and Vegetables

  1. Brown Beef: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef until fully cooked. Drain any excess fat.
  2. Add Vegetables: Add the chopped onion, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper to the skillet. Sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Step 3: Combine Ingredients

  1. Add Rotel and Spices: Stir in the can of Rotel, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until everything is well combined.
  2. Mix with Rice: Add the prepared Spanish rice to the beef and vegetable mixture. Stir in 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese until well combined.

Step 4: Bake the Casserole

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Transfer to Baking Dish: Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish.
  3. Top with Cheese: Sprinkle additional shredded cheddar cheese evenly over the top of the casserole.
  4. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Step 5: Serve

  1. Cool and Serve: Allow the casserole to cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Ground Beef: For a lighter option, you can substitute ground beef with ground turkey or chicken.
  • Vegetable Options: Feel free to add other vegetables such as corn or black beans for extra nutrition and flavor.
  • Spice Level: Adjust the spice level by using mild or hot Rotel and adding more or less cumin, depending on your preference.

Variations

Mexican Rice and Chicken Casserole

Substitute ground beef with cooked, shredded chicken and use Mexican-style rice instead of Spanish rice.

Vegetarian Rice and Bean Casserole

Omit the ground beef and add 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed) for a vegetarian version.

Taco Rice Casserole

Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to the beef and vegetable mixture for a taco-flavored twist. Top with crushed tortilla chips before baking.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I make this casserole ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the casserole up to the point of baking, cover it with aluminum foil, and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, add an extra 10 minutes to the baking time if baking from cold.

How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until heated through.

Can I freeze this casserole?

Yes, you can freeze the baked casserole. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

What can I serve with this casserole?

This casserole pairs well with a side salad, steamed vegetables, or a dollop of sour cream and guacamole.

How do I prevent the casserole from becoming dry?

Ensure you cover the casserole with foil during baking if you notice the top browning too quickly. Also, avoid overcooking to keep it moist.

This Cheesy Spanish Rice and Beef Casserole is a simple, budget-friendly meal that’s perfect for feeding a family over several nights. With its flavorful mix of beef, vegetables, and cheesy goodness, it’s sure to become a favorite. Enjoy making and sharing this delicious casserole with your loved ones!