I feel like a cheesy DJ when I say this…This one goes out to my hard working friends who want to make an easy dinner tonight. Seriously, this is a throw down. You will have many of the ingredients in your pantry already. It also qualifies as a vegetarian dish. And, if you are careful about the corn tortillas and salsa that you purchase, it can also be gluten free.
And, this is a good one. This might even be better on day 2 zapped in the microwave. This isn’t “the world’s best…” anything. It is just a solid, nutritious, filling and delicious dinner that is easy to make.
I adapted this recipe from a recipe in the Gourmet Our Way cookbook which is a cookbook put out by the Cascia Hill Preparatory School in Tulsa Oklahoma. It is a home-run of a community cookbook. My friend Courtney gave me this book and I will be forever grateful. I have so many sticky notes stuck in it that it looks ridiculous. It is easy to collect too many community cookbooks, or any kind of cookbook. I am definitely guilty of that. Often I go through one and see 4 or 5 things I want to try. That is not a good ratio considering how little space I have, and that my dining room is turning into a cooking research center. I have tagged no fewer than 20 so far in this book and I suspect I will end up trying far more than that. If you can get your hands on a copy of this, do it. They are reasonable, realistic, doable and delicious recipes.
2 cups chopped onions
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1-14½ ounce can diced tomatoes
¾ cup picante sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2-15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed
12-6 inch corn tortillas
1 small can tomato sauce
2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
Garnish: avocados, sour cream
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil, sauté the onions and the bell peppers. After about four minutes, add the garlic and continue to sauté for about a minute longer. Add the tomatoes, cumin, and picante sauce and stir to combine. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the drained and rinsed beans and stir until incorporated. Remove the mixture from the heat.
In a 9″ X 13″ casserole dish, layer as follows: (don’t go by the photos alone or you will miss the 2nd tortilla step)
1/3 of bean mixture
6 tortillas, overlap is OK
½ of cheese
1/3 of bean mixture
1/3 of bean mixture
Pour the tomato sauce on top of the casserole, especially around the edges.
Cover the dish with foil and bake in the 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the casserole and put the foil back over the dish. Let the casserole stand, covered, for 10 minutes. By this time, the cheese should have melted thoroughly. Cut into squares and serve.
The original recipe suggests garnishes such as lettuce, diced tomatoes, olives and green onions. I kept it very simple and served it with sour cream and halved avocados covered in lime juice. But you might enjoy going all out with it. I also strongly considered adding one more can of beans and at least a half a can more tomatoes to the recipe. This would just beef up the filling a little. But it was absolutely fine with 2 cans. I also think you could put shredded chicken in it and it would be superb. But you might need to add more tomatoes for that, as well.
One more thought: I have nothing against Pace picante sauce. It has its place in the world, but much like RoTel (which I also adore…no judgment here), when you use it, it puts an indelible mark on a dish. You know when a dish uses Pace or RoTel. I used a fresh salsa for this which I bought recently made by local chef Victoria Hooker. It was perfect because it added vegetables and heat to the dish without taking over. If you don’t want to make fresh salsa, just step out a little at the grocery store and grab something that is a little more pico de gallo in nature and a little less Pace. Just for this one. Trust me.