This recipe comes from waaay back. Back in Marks, MS, in a tiny little house that had been a garage at one point. Window unit A/C, space heaters, bugs galore, and a flooded living room whenever it rained too hard – this was our first year living together. But we had a decent kitchen, and with only one restaurant (two, if you count McDonald’s) open for dinner, we set about learning to cook.
One thing we cooked often was deer meat. (I grew up in Dallas, and we called it venison. Mississippi’s more straightforward.) We had a never-ending supply, thanks to Kaytie’s dad and a deep freezer. We’d grill or roast the tenderloins and grind the rest. I had an old-fashioned hand-crank meat grinder, and I’d mix about half deer meat and half beef, to get some fat in there.
Of course, then we had pounds of ground deer meat. Tacos and chili, sure, but after a while, we had to get a little creative. One of the best dishes was Mexican Casserole. (Probably not the most PC name – I’ll take suggestions for a new one...) It tastes great when you make it, and the leftovers are good, too. You can just reheat it, or you can scramble it in with eggs for breakfast. (Red beans & rice leftovers make a great omelette, too !)
(makes 5-6 servings)
1 cup rice
1 ½ cups chicken stock (or water)
1 can Rotel tomatoes & chilies
½ onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded & minced
1 lb ground meat
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic salt
½ tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne
½ tsp chipotle powder (optional)
2-3 oz cream cheese
8 oz Velveeta (optional)
plenty of grated cheese
First, make the rice. Put the rice, chicken stock, and Rotel in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to med-low, and simmer 25-30 minutes, until all the water is soaked up.
Over medium heat, saute the onion in a little olive oil until it’s translucent. Add the jalapeno, and cook about 2 minutes more.
Add the meat and the spices. Cook, stirring, until the meat is browned.
Mix the beef, rice, cream cheese, and Velveeta together and put all of it in a casserole dish. Top with grated cheese – the more, the better.
Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is all melted.
**You can make this casserole and freeze it. Just follow the recipe, but leave off the grated cheese, and put the casserole in the freezer instead of the oven. Let it thaw before you cook it, and cook for 20-25 minutes instead.