I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing when I make a recipe that is so good that I want to keep eating past the point of full. On one hand, if it’s that good I can eat the leftovers for days in a row without ever getting tired of it. On the other hand it’s SO hard not to go back for seconds or thirds when I know I don’t need them. What a problem to have, right? ;) Well, this Beef Burrito Casserole is definitely one of those recipes. So simple, yet startlingly good.
This casserole is another version of my favorite combo: beans, rice, salsa, and cheese. What makes it a little extraordinary is the secret layer of cream cheese in the middle. I didn’t use a lot, but just a few dollops give every couple of bites an extra tangy and creamy flavor. Best idea EVER.
As per my style, I made my Beef Burrito Casserole very basic, but there are tons of options for customization or upgrades. Just think about the toppings bar at Chipotle or your favorite burrito place. Anything you like in your burrito or on your nachos can be incorporated into this casserole. You can use any type of cooked meat you have on hand (rotisserie chicken, pulled pork) or even go meatless. You can add in corn kernels, jalapeños, a drizzle of taco sauce, black olives, or maybe some hatch chiles. I happened to have some guacamole in my fridge today, so I added a dollop to my leftovers and almost died and went to heaven. Sour cream, crushed tortilla strips, or even some shredded ice berg wouldn’t even be a bad idea (okay fine, they’d be a GREAT idea).
It’s excellent as written below, but have a little fun with it! The leftovers reheat well, so you can eat well all week. And, if for some reason you don’t devour it all within a few days, you can freeze a couple portions for later. ;)
Beef Burrito Casserole
Beef Burrito Casserole
This Beef Burrito Casserole is totally customizable and can include all your favorite burrito or nacho toppings. Leftovers reheat great for lunch!
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
- 1/2 lb ground beef $1.99
- 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
- Pinch of salt $0.02
- 4 cups cooked rice* $0.75
- 15 oz can black beans $0.89
- 16 oz jar salsa $1.00
- 4 green onions, divided $0.44
- 1/2 Tbsp chili powder $0.15
- 4 oz cream cheese $1.00
- 1 cup shredded cheddar** $0.75
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add the cooking oil, beef, garlic, and a pinch of salt to a skillet. Cook the beef over medium heat until fully browned. Drain the excess fat, if necessary.
Rinse and drain the canned beans in a colander. Slice the green onions. Add the beans, half of the green onions, cooked rice, browned beef, salsa, and chili powder to a large bowl. Stir to combine.
Coat a 3 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray. Spread half of the rice and beef mixture into the bottom of the casserole dish. Add small dollops of the cream cheese evenly across the surface, then cover with the remaining rice and beef mixture.
Cover the dish with foil to prevent the rice from drying out while baking, and bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven. After 25 minutes, remove the foil and top with the shredded cheddar cheese. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Top with the remaining sliced green onions just before serving.
*This is a great use for leftover cooked rice. Chilling the cooked rice before using it in the casserole helps keep it from becoming sticky or gummy while incorporating it in with the other ingredients.
**When the bags of shredded cheese go on sale at the store, I stock up and toss them in the freezer until I'm ready to use them!
Step by Step Photos
Begin by preheating the oven to 350ºF. Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil, 1/2 lb. ground beef, 1 clove of garlic (minced), and a pinch of salt to a skillet. Cook over medium heat until the beef is fully browned. Drain the excess fat, if needed (this depends on the percent fat in your beef. Usually 90% lean or higher doesn’t need draining.)
Rinse and drain a 15oz. can of black beans. Slice four green onions. Add 4 cups cooked rice (it’s in the bottom of the bowl), the cooked beef, drained beens, a 16oz. jar of salsa, half of the green onions, and 1/2 Tbsp chili powder (mild) to a large bowl. This recipe works best with day-old, or cooked rice that has been chilled. Just like with fried rice, chilling it after cooking it helps the rice grains stay separate and non-sticky when you mix them in with the other ingredients.
Stir the ingredients until they’re evenly combined.
Coat the inside of a 3 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray. Add half of the rice and beef mixture to the bottom of the dish. Add the cream cheese, in small dollops, evenly over the surface of the rice mixture.
Then add the rest of the rice and beef mixture to the top. Cover the dish with foil to keep the rice moist while it bakes. Bake the covered casserole for 25 minutes in the preheated oven.
After 25 minutes of baking, add 1 cups shredded cheddar to the top and bake for 5-10 minutes more, or until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle the remaining sliced green onions over top just before serving.
Gah! I can’t wait until I’m hungry again! 😂