Layered Fiesta Casserole

Sometimes I jump on here to look up a recipe I need, and am shocked not to find it, since it’s an oft made favorite.  We’re having this for dinner tonight and I was surprised I hadn’t posted it yet.  The original is from Kraft food & Family Fall 2005.  I love it because it’s fast, easy, versatile (leave out some peppers, throw in some black beans, add some Mexican rice) and freezes fabulously (and makes a great dinner to take to a friend!).  Tonight I’m making three of these, and sticking 2 in the freezer for later.

1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 jar (16 oz) salsa
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen corn, thawed
12 corn tortillas (6 inch)
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar, divided

Preheat oven to 375.  Brown meat with peppers, stirring frequently; drain.  Stir in salsa, tomatoes and corn.  Bring to boil.

Spoon 1 cup meat mixture in bottom of 9X13″ baking dish,  Top with 6 tortillas, overlappin gas necessary.  Spoon half of remaining meat mixture over tortillas, top with 3/4 cup of cheese.  Top with remaining 6 tortillas and meat mixture.  Cover with foil.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until heated through.  Remove from oven, uncover.  Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese.  Let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

**NOTES FOR FREEZING:

1) This works well in a 9″ round cake pan, which we usually have more of than 9X13s, and makes freezing easier.

2) layer your dish with foil, then saran wrap BEFORE you start to layer the food, and make sure there are “tails” of saran and foil coming over both edges.  Layer everything, cover with the saran and foil, and freeze BEFORE baking.

3) When the casserole is frozen through, take it out of the pan and then use your food saver (or zip loc) and label before freezing.

4) The extra 3/4 cup of cheese that you put on at the end of the recipe?  Stick the shredded cheese in a snack size zip lock bag and place it on top of the frozen casserole before you food saver (or zip loc) the food closed.

5) On baking day: peel off the saran and foil and place the frozen casserole in the pan you’ll be cooking it in to defrost, you won’t be able to get it off later without making a huge mess, and follow cooking directions above.

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