This is one of those recipes that, when mentioned, causes instant salivation for me. It’s a recipe I grew up with that I hope to pass on to my daughter someday (if she ever gets over her pickiness and actually tries it). When I think of this recipe, I remember sitting around the dinner table with my parents, each of us silently praying to have the last piece.
Bean Stuff. It’s a great name, don’t you think? It’s got “beans and stuff” in it. I’ve seen similar recipes over the years, recipes titled “Taco Pie” or “Tortilla Pie”, but those just aren’t the same. It’s probably the memories that make it taste so good (and the tortillas and cheese), but I hope you’ll enjoy it just as much as I do.
It’s super simple to make and easily adaptable to your needs (low-fat or vegetarian). There are only 4 ingredients. You can make it ahead of time and cook it in the microwave. It’s a great Friday night dinner (easy, delicious, and just a little sinful).
Yield: Technically it serves 4. For my family, 2 servings are preferred and there are (sometimes) leftovers.
8-10 soft taco size flour tortillas
1 can of chili with beans (meat or no meat, it’s up to you!)
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
10-12 oz of shredded cheddar cheese*
Mix the chili and tomato sauce in a 4-cup measuring cup or medium bowl. Spoon a tablespoon or two of the mixture in the bottom of a 9x9 inch glass baking dish. Place a tortilla on top of the sauce. Add another tablespoon or two of sauce and spread it around the tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese. Repeat layers until you’re out of tortillas or your pan is full.
This recipe tastes best if it can sit for several hours before you cook it. Make it the night before you’re going to eat it, or the morning of. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Remove plastic wrap before cooking. Place 3 toothpicks in a triangular shape in the top of the casserole. Cover with wax paper (the toothpicks are so the wax paper will not stick to the cheese in cooking). Microwave for 5 minutes, then let sit for 2-3. Repeat two more times, so your bean stuff will have cooked for 15 minutes. Depending on the strength of your microwave, you may need to cook it a bit more.
You can bake it in a 350° oven if you prefer (can you believe they didn't always have microwaves??) Bake for 30-40 minutes. (Full disclosure: I've never made it this way. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't overcook.)
A Note about Cheese: this recipe works well with low fat cheese as well as full-fat. However, low-fat cheese doesn’t melt very well, so the top won’t look as “pretty” as with regular cheese. Sometimes I use low-fat, sometimes I mix it with regular. It’s up to you! Do not use fat-free cheese unless you like to eat bricks, because that’s what will happen when you cook it.
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