Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mexican Hash Brown Casserole






We had Mexican Hash Brown Casserole earlier this week, and it's taken me awhile to post. I had high hopes for this dish. The potato bag alone looked soooo tasty. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't fabulous. It needed some crunch to it or something. As Darrin pointed out while we were eating it, the flavor of the peppers overtook the dish.  I would definitely add another packet of taco seasoning next time.  Check below the recipe to see what other alterations I might make... if we make this again.

Mexican Hash Brown Casserole

Adapted from Six Sisters

Ingredients: 

1 lb ground beef (I used ground turkey- it was on sale)
1 onion, diced
1 med. green pepper, chopped
1 med. red pepper, chopped
1 (14 oz) can stewed tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can diced chilies
1 package taco seasoning (I used low sodium)
4 oz cream cheese (I used 1/3 fat) 
1 (16 oz) package frozen hash browns (mine were the cubes, not the shredded variety)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Garnishments (stuff you would normally top tacos with, plus tortilla chips)

Directions:

Over medium heat, brown the ground beef, along with HALF the green peppers, red peppers, and onions.

While that's cooking, combine the hash browns with the remaining peppers and onion, along with 1 cup of cheese and 1 Tbsp taco seasoning in a bowl.

When the meat mixture has finished cooking, stir in the remaining taco seasoning, the stewed tomatoes, and diced chilies.  Simmer over medium for a few minutes, then stir in the cream cheese.

Layer half the hash brown mixture in the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with half the meat mixture and half cup cheese.  Repeat layers.  Cook on low 4-6 hours.

Directions for freezing: 

Prepare the hash brown mixture and the meat mixture as directed above.  Place the hash brown mixture in Bag A and the meat mixture, when cooled, in Bag B. Freeze (I was able to fit Bag B inside Bag A before I put them in the freezer). You could also freeze the remaining cheese if you wanted to keep everything together (I always have some in the fridge, so I just pulled from there for my layers).

To cook, thaw bags in fridge. Then, layer in slow cooker as directed above. Cook on low 4-6 hours.

Alterations for next time: 

The original site I got this from said to garnish with sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, salsa, tortilla chips, etc, and I think this definitely needs that. We didn't garnish when I made it, and I was definitely missing the crunch factor lettuce and chips would have added. I was worried that since the stewed tomatoes weren't drained, that the potatoes would be sitting in a pool of liquid when I got home from work, but surprisingly, it wasn't.  As I mentioned above, I would definitely add another packet of taco seasoning. 

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