January 23, 2014

Healthy loaded taco bake!

As part of my new job, I get government holidays now (WAHOO!!!). This means I had all MLK Day at home to be productive.

The result was a happy dog, a cleaner, more organized house and LOTS of pre-made meals!

(For some reason I couldn't get my photos to line up correctly for this, so bear with me...)

This loaded taco bake was one of them. I'll be honest, I completely made this up. I am thrilled with the result though! It is LOADED with veggies, sweet potatoes, quinoa and black beans. It does have some un-healthy parts (cheese and sauce), but to me the healthy goodies outweigh the not-so-good items.

You will need:

  • One cup un-cooked quinoa (I used organic red)
  • One can reduced sodium chicken broth (for cooking the quinoa)
  • One pound ground turkey (or ground beef)
  • Two sweet potatoes (here in Idaho they are called yams at the grocery store)
  • One green bell pepper
  • One red bell pepper
  • One medium onion
  • One can black beans rinsed and drained (I used the kind with jalapenos)
  • One can corn, drained
  • One package reduced fat shredded cheese
  • One package taco seasoning
  • One package chipotle seasoning
  • Coconut oil or other cooking spray

I made this dish as I prepped meals for the week. 

I started this process by cutting up veggies and sweet potatoes into bite size pieces and roasting them at 400* (note I cooked more than needed for the taco bake to use in lunches too.)

For the potatoes I tossed them with coconut oil and seasoning salt and pepper. I spread them on a aluminum foil lined cookie sheet for 40 minutes, tossing them half way through.
Wash and peel your sweet potatoes/yams
Toss in about 2 tbs of oil of your choice (I used coconut) and some seasonings
Spread evenly on cookie sheet to bake. (Cover in aluminum foil for easy clean up!)

Veggies were also roasted on a foil lined cookie sheet, I did not season them. They only need to cook about 15-20 minutes, tossing half way through.
Healthy foods are the prettiest!
My oven getting busy.
While I was in a chopping mood I cut up peppers for snack packs too
I also used the extra potatoes for lunch packs!

While my veggies were roasting I cooked the quinoa in the chicken broth (you can find how to cook quinoa online).

I also browned the turkey meat. Once cooked I drained the meat and added the taco seasoning according to the package  instructions.
Once everything is cooked you are ready to assemble!

Add cooked quinoa, turkey, about 2 cups of the roasted veggies and 2 cups of the roasted potatoes, and the corn and black beans to a large bowl. Mix well.
If you're lazy like me, just rinse the bowl you tossed your taters in and re-use it for this step.

Grease a 9x13" casserole dish. I used my coconut oil spray.
My attempt to be a little healthier, and slightly Paleo...

Spread half of the mixture in the dish.
Look at all those goodies!

Next we need to make the sauce. On the stove heat the can of cream of chicken soup in a sauce pan, using half a can's worth if water to thin it. Mix in half of a chipotle seasoning packet. You could probably use taco seasoning if you can't find the chipotle mix (about a tablespoon and a half's worth)
I found this at WINCO. You can probably sub taco seasoning or other Mexican seasoning of your choice.
Once smooth, slowly whisk in shredded cheese. I used half of the package.
Mmmmm I LOVE cheese!
Whisk in cheese till you have a smooth cheese sauce
Once cheese is melted and mixture is smooth, poor 2/3 of the cheese sauce over the quinoa-meat mixture in the casserole dish. I used a spoon to spread it evenly.

Add the rest of the quinoa mixture to the dish and spread. Pour the rest of the sauce over it and top with the remaining cheese.

At this point I put a lid on it and put it in the fridge for a later night. But you can pop it in the oven at this point.

To bake:

Preheat oven to 350*. Cover casserole with tin foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake another 20 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly.

Then dish and enjoy!!!

We ate it just like a casserole with some veggies, but you could also use it as taco or burrito filling :)
James even liked this superfood dish! Although he did say he didn't like the sweet potatoes in it, I thought they were the best part!

Also during my day of meal-prep I cooked some chicken sausages for lunch packs. The sausages are AMAZING with the sweet potatoes, so I will need to come up with a dish to high-light that combo soon!

Oh AND I made orange chicken for dinner that night, that recipe to come too... Wow I was busy!


Whew - that seems like a lot. But it was done reasonably quick and I haven't had to think about lunches all week!

If you try this recipe let me know your thoughts!

TTFN Friends!

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