My youngest son & me

My youngest son & me

About me

My name is Tanja (Sater) Miller and I'm excited about sharing my journey of converting my favorite recipes to gluten free! I am not a fancy cook - I prefer just a casual, fun meal. I am married with grown children (and have small grandchildren) & 3 dogs. I work full time as a registered nurse & I am a geek. Yes, I love Star Trek, Star Wars, Fringe, Firefly, Farscape and most of the other Scify shows. You will probably see a little of my geek side come out once in a while! Please join me on my journey of cooking, baking & converting every day recipes into yummy gluten free meals that everyone can enjoy (not just those with a gluten allergy!) Don't be shy about checking out my recipes....I have the gluten free version along with the regular recipe that I adapted from!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Taco Casserole

I know most people freak out when they see a "gluten free" recipe and think....yuck it is going to taste like cardboard. Not so! I am going through my recipe box & cookbooks and searching for recipes that never had gluten in them anyway or revamping them to make them taste great and be gluten free for everyone to enjoy even if you don't have a gluten allergy!

 For instance, this recipe for Taco Casserole....the original recipe called for Crescent rolls for the bottom. I have been making this for years with rice instead. At the time it wasn't because I needed it to be gluten free, it was because quite frankly....I had 3 hungry kids to feed for dinner and I didn't have the crescent rolls but I had rice. So....I used rice. It worked. Then it became a favorite. I always have rice on hand and it is CHEAP. I can buy a WHOLE BOX of rice for one package of crescent rolls. So there you go. IT IS NOW GLUTEN FREE. That wasn't difficult. (Now if you are eating gluten free to be healthy....just skip over this recipe!) This is also a GREAT recipe to use if you had a taco night and have leftover rice, hamburger, salsa, tortilla chips or broken hard taco shells that need to be used up. Can you tell I have done this before? Just serve with a salad....dinner complete!

Honestly, I thought that after my kids grew up and moved out that I wouldn't want to eat foods like this and that I would only eat veggies and lean meat & very little carbs. Who was I kidding? I try to eat that way during the work week but by the time Saturday rolls around....sometimes I crave stuff from the past. Maybe it is because I miss my kids and this kind of food reminds me of having them with friends over for dinner. The laughter, the chaos....yeah....sometimes I miss it! :)

This recipe is also very versatile. My daughter was a vegetarian for many years. You can substitute soy crumbles or use beans for the protein instead of hamburger. Also chicken, leftover steak, is all good in this. Use whatever you have on hand. You can use canned tomatoes in place of salsa or use Fritos or Tortilla chips instead of Doritos. Yes, I have done all of the substitutions and they all taste great. Seriously... what doesn't taste good smothered in cheese and chips? Exactly! :)

I was told once that the difference between a good cook and a great cook is... a good cook can follow a recipe....the great cook can improvise to make something with what they have on hand!

Taco Casserole Recipe:

  • 1 pound ground hamburger (I try to use 93% lean but you can just drain the fat off after cooking if don't use a lean hamburger). And like I said can use soy crumbles or chicken, steak, pork or whatever meat you have on hand. 
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix (I used Trader Joe brand). If you have a gluten allergy then read your labels! Many taco seasoning mixes contain wheat flour!
  • 2 cups cooked rice (I used Uncle Ben's minute rice because that is what I had on hand) but you can certainly use long cooking rice, brown rice or leftover rice from another meal. 
  • 2 cups salsa (or use one can of Rotel tomatoes) 
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used the Mexican 4 cheese blend)
  • A couple handfuls of crushed up Doritos (I used Taco flavor Doritos because they don't have wheat flour/gluten in them) but you can certainly use tortilla chips, fritos, etc. If you have a gluten allergy then you will need to read your labels! Don't assume it doesn't have gluten!
  • 1 can black beans, drained, optional (I didn't use them in this batch because I didn't have any on hand and was too lazy to run to the store. I was just using up leftovers in the refrigerator and using what I had on hand)
Cook up your hamburger and drain grease. Add your taco seasoning, salsa (or canned tomatoes). Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray or grease it with oil or butter. Spoon your rice onto the bottom of the pan. Top with the hamburger/salsa mixture. (Top with black beans if you are going to add them) Sprinkle on the cheese and then the crushed chips. Bake 350 degrees until cheese is melted and everything is warm, about 15-20 minutes (longer if it was in the refrigerator and is cold). You can serve with sour cream or whatever toppings you desire. 

This is a great recipe if you need something fairly quick (kind of like a gluten free version of homemade Hamburger Helper!) You can also make this in advance (unbaked) and put in the refrigerator and take it out later in the week to bake it for a quick dinner/lunch. You can easily make half a batch and bake in 8x8 pan or round casserole dish.

Oh...I almost forgot....It tastes really good in the morning with fried eggs! Yummy!

Gluten Free Casually

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to make this this weekend!! with ground chicken meat and a healthier version of Doritos (which are also gluten free) and I'll use Nellie and Billie Jean's homemade salsa, YUM!!!!