We have one night a week that we have nothing to do.
It’s a lifestyle we’re just accustomed to, we accept it as our reality, and frankly, we enjoy it.
Some people are like, aren’t you tired of driving all over the place and never being home?
And to them I say, can you cleanly pee in a McDonalds cup in your car while barreling down a highway late to practice?
It’s called survival skills, Nancy, get yourself some.
It also means that if we want to avoid living on drive-through food, a lot of our meals have to be easy, quick, and even better, pre-prepared so we can eat them at 9pm and then pass out.
We’re in the casserole season of our lives.
I know casseroles are largely a national thing, but winter casseroles in the Midwest aren’t so much a choice, but rather, a lifestyle.
It’s cold, we have limited access to fresh produce, and I’ll be damned if you don’t get married here and receive any less than nine Pyrex 9×13’s.
Taco casserole is a family favorite.
And here’s the best news, I went to Aldi the other day, and I made this whole entire dish, from start to finish, for $20.06, and I have leftovers in the fridge.
They’ll be gone in a day when my bottomless pit teen boys wake up and eat it cold from the fridge at 7am because they’re mannerless ogres who haven’t developed a lagging metabolism or acid reflux, yet, but still, leftovers!
Ground beef, salsa, refried beans, cumin, chili powder, BBQ sauce, tons of cheese, and the base is made from crescent roll dough. This meal could not get more “Ohio” if it tried.
Also, this was my first time buying meat from Aldi, usually I’m a produce, dairy, and canned goods girl, but you know what, not bad!
I like a real thick, deep crust, so I use two containers of crescent rolls, and after spraying a 9×13 baking dish with some non-stick spray, I just smoosh it on in there.
It’s like one of those relaxing little zen garden things with the rake, only carbs.
And then you pre-bake.
See that nice golden crust, you want that. You want that, bad.
If you don’t pre-bake this crust, your casserole is going to be wet, mushy, and uncooked in the center.
So go ahead and cook this up according to the package instructions.
You’ll also need to prep your meat.
We are a sweet meat family.
What that means is that our taco meat is sweet and spicy.
BBQ Sauce, chili powder and cumin makes for the best taco meat ever, fight me.
Now we layer.
Tip, refried beans can be hard to spread out of the can, pop them in a bowl and warm them in in the microwave a minute or 2 and they’ll go on really buttery.
Layer on that sweet and spicy meat.
Now it’s time for salsa, and here’s where things start to get a little messy, but just go with it.
Obviously, if you are against your food touching, this is going to be rough for you as we move forward.
But if you’re like me and always open to a food party in your tummy,dump on the salsa and then layer on that sour cream… which I conveniently do NOT have a photo of.
I had 90’s alt rock blaring on Spotify at the time, a Hole’s Violet came on, it was a whole thing.
What do you do when something is ugly? You cover it in cheese.
Pop it in the oven.
(Or don’t. If you are prepping this for later, now’s the time to cover it in foil and store it in the fridge.)
Remember, all of this stuff is all essentially cooked, so what you are going for here is melty, gooey cheese and bubbly sauce.
While that is happening, prep some stuff to pile on top.
Tomatoes, lettuce, avocados, jalapenos, black beans, all good things.
Look at her.
She’s so pretty!
This dish breaks down for my family of five to $4 a person, and honestly, you just can’t beat that for a meal this delicious and filling.
Taco Bell? Never met her.
Cheap & Tasty Taco Casserole
This dish is cheap, easy, and tastes amazing. It can be thrown together for a quick meal, or prepped ahead of time to make dinner a breeze.
- 2.5 lbs Ground Beef
- (2) 8 oz. Tubes of Crescent Rolls
- 24 oz. Salsa
- 16 oz. Sour Cream
- 16 oz. Refried Beans
- 12 oz. Shredded Cheese
- 1/4 cup BBQ Sauce
- 1 tbsp Chili Powder
- 1 tbsp Ground Cumin
- 15.5 oz. Black Beans (optional)
- Sliced Tomatoes (optional)
- Sliced Avocado (optional)
- Shredded Lettuce ((optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, or per dough package directions
- Coat 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray, and spread out the dough to cover the bottom of the dish.
- Bake dough 15 minutes, until slightly golden and brown, or per package directions.
- Remove and set aside to slightly cool.
- Brown and drain ground beef.
- Add cumin, chili powder, and BBQ Sauce.
- Stir to mix, set aside.
- On pre-baked crust, spread the refried beans evenly, covering the entire crust.
- Next layer the seasoned ground beef.
- Next layer the salsa.
- Next spread sour cream across the top.
- Cover in shredded cheese.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and layers are hot and bubbly.
- Remove, slice, and serve topped with lettuce, tomato, and black beans.
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