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A Taste Of Childhood

Beef Casserole Olé

So many memories of my Grandma include her in the kitchen. Always waiting for the oven timer to go off, or the pot to boil, surely cooking something amazing. My Nana loves to cook, too – especially Italian! Learning from two of the best, and studying Home Economics, my mom naturally inherited a knack for cooking and a wonderful collection of family recipes. Since college, she has been passing along some of my childhood favorites. And for years, I have been shoving them in an unorganized (gasp!) recipe book, kept in a cabinet above the refrigerator – clearly not convenient for meal planning.

Problem solved.

I purchased this adorable, vintage recipe box, a classic set of recipe card dividers, and neatly (phew!) put together my personal collection. Display-worthy, I placed it in a more accessible location on the baker’s rack. Now, I am not so quick to Pinterest-default with so many special recipes right at my fingertips.

Every Friday is “Casserole Friday” in our house. With just Brad and me, it makes for simple weekend leftovers, limiting additional cooking and leaving more time for relaxing. Recently, I made a childhood favorite my mom passed down. If you love Mexican-inspired cuisine as much as me you will want to add Beef Casserole Olé to your own recipe collection!


Beef Casserole Olé


3 c. cooked rice*

1 lb. lean ground beef

½ c. red onion (chopped)

½ c. green pepper (chopped)

1 clove garlic (minced)

2 cans tomato sauce (8 oz. each)

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. salt

1 can pinto beans (15 oz.)

1 c. corn chips (crushed)**

1 c. shredded Mexican cheese

*I opt for brown rice, but feel free to use white rice.

**I prefer Garden of Eatin’ White Chips sold at Wegmans and plenty of other grocery retailers.


  1. Cook rice according to directions.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  3. Lightly coat a 2-quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef. If using lean beef, there should not be much excess fat to drain.

  5. Stir in chopped onion, green pepper, and minced garlic.

  6. Continue to sauté until vegetables are tender.

  7. Add tomato sauce, chili powder, and salt to skillet, and mix well.

  8. In the casserole dish, beginning with the meat sauce, layer the cooked rice, then pinto beans, ending again with the meat sauce.

  9. Sprinkle corn chips over the top and bake for 15 minutes.

  10. Sprinkle with cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes.


Serve and enjoy a little taste of my childhood! The secret ingredient is love.

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