The Doris Project (TDP) Week 8: Taco Bake

06bTacoBakePlatebfLOThere are a LOT of ways to play this… this week’s Doris Project post is a riff on Campbell Soup’s Beef Taco Bake casserole; and you can make it exactly as the nice folk at Campbell’s suggest via the clipping I selected from mom’s bag o’ recipe goodies.

Or, you could switch out ground turkey for the beef, and to spice things up, turn that turkey into longaniza sausage; then make your own, kinda spicy, condensed tomato soup, and (no matter which way you go) toast your tortilla strips first.

•1 pound ground beef
•1 can (10-3/4 oz) condensed tomato soup
•1 cup salsa
•1/2 cup milk
•8 corn tortillas (6-in), cut into 1-inch pieces
•1 – 1-1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
For Toasting the Tortilla Strips:
•2 tbsp olive oil
•Coarse sea salt

•1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
•1 can diced green chiles

Tomato Soup Substitute:
•3 tbsp butter
•3 tbsp flour
•1 cup tomato juice or spicy veggie juice
•1/4 tsp onion powder
•1/4 tsp garlic powder
•1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/8 tsp celery seed

03bTurkeySausagebfLOTurkey Longaniza:
•1 lb ground turkey
•2 tbsp packed brown sugar
•2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
•2 tbsp soy sauce
•1 tbsp minced garlic
•1/2 tsp red chili flakes
•1 tsp turmeric
•1 tsp paprika
•1 tsp salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper

02aTortillaStripsbfLOHeat the oven to 450° and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Cut the tortillas into strips, then toss with the olive oil and sea salt in the baking pan. Bake for five to ten minutes, checking often after five minutes, until lightly browned and nicely toasted. Remove from the oven and set aside.

01cAddFlourbfLONote: You may as well make two or three batches of these tortilla strips, they’re a fine munchie, nice in a salad or soup, and you’ll more than likely want to sprinkle some over the top of your baked and served casserole anyway. Just a thought.

If you’ve decided to make your own condensed tomato soup (which is really easy and will take only a few minutes), melt the butter over low heat, then whisk in the flour, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth, has deepened in color, and is a bit bubbly.

01eTomatoSoupConcbfLOWith the heat still on low, whisk in the seasonings and one or two tablespoons of the tomato or spicy veggie juice.

Whisk in a bit more of the juice until smooth, then add the rest all at once. Continue to heat on low, stirring, until thickened. That’s all the condensed soup you’ll need for this casserole.

03cTurkeySausageCookedbfLOIf you WANT to use this for tomato soup, go ahead and stir in another cup or so of milk or water and heat through. You may want to add a pinch of salt as well, I left it out because of the seasonings in the sausage and the salt I added to the tortilla strips.

Speaking of the sausage; combine the brown sugar, garlic, seasonings, Worcestershire and soy sauces together in a large bowl, then add the turkey and stir (or mix with your hands) until well blended.

04bTacoBakeAddTortillasCheesebfLOWarm a large pan or skillet over medium high heat, then add the turkey sausage and cook, stirring to break up, until well browned and cooked through.

Heat the oven to 400°.

Add the condensed soup (or substitute), black beans, green chiles, milk, and salsa to the turkey sausage in the pan and stir to mix well.

06aTacoBakebfLOAdd 1/2 cup of the cheese and toasted tortilla strips, stir to combine, then turn into a shallow 2-1/2 quart baking dish (if you choose not to add the black beans, you can go down to a 2 quart casserole).

Top with another 1/2 to 1 cup of cheese, then cover and bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the casserole nicely bubbling.

Let rest for five minutes or so before serving with shredded lettuce, more of those crispity tortilla strips, diced tomato, sour cream, guacamole, black olives, hot sauce, whatever you like.

06cTacoBakePlatebfLOI should note that, even with making my own condensed soup substitute, toasting the tortilla strips, and turning the ground turkey into a chorizo-like sausage, this casserole came together in under two hours, and that was including time for me to sneak a few more pages in the current mystery novel, so, go ahead and feel free to make this as Doris clipped it, or experiment a little and try it my way (or yours), cause, baby, this is all good.

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