Frito Pie

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1.25 ounce packet taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 16 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 9.25 ounce bag Fritos Corn Chips
  • 2-3 cups Mexican-style shredded cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat oven to 350°F and spray a 7×11-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Heat a large skillet, over medium heat, and add the olive oil and butter. Add the chopped onion and cook 3-4 minutes or until translucent and tender. Add the minced garlic, stir and cook 30 seconds until the garlic has blossomed and is fragrant. Transfer the onion and garlic to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
  • Place the ground chuck in the skillet and cook until browned. Drain the fat from the beef in a mesh colander and return the beef to the skillet. Add the onion/garlic mixture, salt, pepper taco seasoning, Worcestershire Sauce, cider vinegar, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.
  • Mix well and bring the mixture to a low boil over medium heat.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the beans, mix well. Simmer, stirring often, for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture has thickened and most of the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste, with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. *Keep in mind, Fritos are very salty and so is cheese, so use salt lightly.
  • To prepare the casserole:
  • Place 2 cups corn chips in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Top with 1 cup shredded cheese, taco meat, 1 cup cheese, and another 2 cups corn chips.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes or until the casserole is heated throughout.
  • Serve with chopped tomatoes, lettuce, black olives, chopped scallions, chopped cilantro and/or your other favorite taco toppings.

Beef and Noodles

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck roast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups beef stock, divided use
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 guajillo chili pepper, dried – optional
  • 2 cups water
  • 16 ounces egg noodles
  • 1/2 cup butter, divided use
  • Parsley
  • ½ cup sliced/grated carrots

Instructions

  • Season both sides of chuck roast with salt & pepper, rubbing it in gently.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet until popping.
  • Add roast.
  • Brown for 3 minutes, turn, and brown the other side.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Oil the inside of your slow cooker.
  • Add the onion, celery, and garlic.
  • Transfer the roast to the slow cooker.
  • Pour 1 cup of the beef broth into the cooker.
  • Add the guajillo pepper if you are using it and the Worcestershire sauce
  • Cover crock pot and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.
  • Remove the celery and shred the meat with two forks about 30 minutes before cooking time is over.
  • Replace the cover to the slow cooker.
  • About 10 minutes before you are ready to serve dinner bring 2 cups of water and the remaining beef broth to a boil in a large pot.
  • Add the 1/4 cup butter and the egg noodles.
  • Cook until tender.
  • Drain and stir in the remaining butter.
  • Serve the beef over the noodles.
  • Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Instant Pot

  • Turn the instant pot on high and add the oil.
  • Cube the beef and season it as in the recipe. When the oil is hot add half of the beef cubes to the pot and sear on each side.
  • Remove the beef from the pot to a large plate. Repeat the process with the rest of the seasoned beef cubes and then remove them to the plate.
  • Add about 1/4 Cup of the beef broth to the instant pot and use a wooden spatula to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Turn the Instant Pot off.
  • Add the beef, onion, garlic, celery, and guijillo pepper to the instant pot. Place the lid on the pot and set the valve to seal.
  • Cook on manual high pressure for 45 minutes. When the timer is up, allow the instant pot to natural pressure release – don’t open the seal!!- for 10 minutes. Once 10 minutes is up, open the seal to manually release any pressure that is left.Cook the noodles as directed in the recipe.

Stove Top Instructions

  • Season the meat as in the recipe then brown it in the oil in a Dutch oven.
  • Add the broth, onion, celery, guijillo chile, and garlic. Simmer, covered, on low heat for about 1-1/2 hours on top of the stove.
  • Cook the noodles as directed in the recipe.

Notes

You can thicken the gravy by pouring it into a saucepan and stirring in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch that has been blended with 1/4 cup cold water. Simmer until thick.

More Tips 

  • Browning the meat gives it a more robust flavor and adds some texture. You can skip that step if you must but I don’t recommend it. Without the browning step the recipe is pretty average. Once you brown that beef though – WOW.
  • I add part of the beef broth to the water I cook the egg noodles in because it gives them that “second day” flavor. You know, things like this are always better on the second day because they’ve had time for the flavors to blend? Well this speeds that process up.
  • Use 10 ounces frozen seasoning mix instead of onions and celery to save time.

Cowboy Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 32 ounces Tater Tots
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup onions and peppers mix, from the frozen section
  • 10 ounces Ro*Tel tomatoes
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 10.5 ounces cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 2 cups Cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup sour cream

Instructions

  • Place Tater Tots in a greased pan and put them in a 425F oven for about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • Add the ground beef and onions & peppers mix to a skillet. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
  • Add the Ro*Tel and simmer for 5 minutes to let the extra liquid evaporate.
  • Remove from heat and stir in sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, corn, and ½ cup of cheese.
  • Stir until blended.
  • Spoon into the bottom of a greased 13×9 inch baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with 3/4 cup of the remaining cheese.
  • Top with the Tater Tots, arranging them in a single layer.
  • Cover with the remaining cheese.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil.
  • You can stop at this point and put the casserole in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Bake at 425F for 20 minutes. Remove aluminum foil.
  • Bake 10 more minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  • Serve hot.

Notes

  • You can make cowboy casserole in your slow cooker. Just spray the inside with non-stick spray, layer the ingredients like you would for the casserole dish, cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  • Put this together this up to 3 days ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to bake and serve.
  • You can also freeze the baked casserole, tightly covered, for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in your refrigerator and bake as directed.
  • Make this even more budget friendly by stretching it with a can of Ranch style, pinto or black beans. Just add with the corn. Drain the black or pinto beans but leave the sauce on the Ranch style if you’re using those.
  • No Tater Tots? Use mashed potatoes, au gratin potatoes, or cornbread batter over the top!
  • Make this is small, foil tart pans or mini-loaf pans and freeze for individual sized servings. Perfect for those times when everyone in the entire family is going in different directions.