GINNA PARSONS: Birthday meal features tasty Mexican dish

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Last Thursday, I celebrated my 48th birthday, and as always, my special day fell on Cinco de Mayo. In keeping with tradition in my family, we ate Mexican-inspired fare.
The day before my birthday, I shared lunch at a local Mexican restaurant with co-workers who also have May birthdays. I ordered my usual – chicken fajitas.
Naturally, when Thursday rolled around, I didn’t want fajitas or tacos or anything that was wrapped in a flour tortilla. So I started searching for a casserole that could be prepared a little bit in advance and then popped in the oven a half hour before dinnertime.
I typed ‘Mexican casserole recipe’ into my search engine and immediately a hundred entries came up. I chose one that had a tantalizing picture and a good rating, and then I started reading the reviews.
What appears below is the original recipe, which I’ve tweaked considerably after reading others’ suggestions. And I must admit, it turned out quite well.
My husband and I finished up the leftovers over the weekend and he commented that it was even better after it had been in the fridge for a couple of days.
I served this with tortilla chips and guacamole and a simple green salad.

Mexican Casserole
1 (19-ounce) package ground turkey breast
1 packet taco seasoning
2 cups salsa
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups baked tortilla chips, broken (not crushed), and divided
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1
12 cups reduced-fat sour cream
34 cup chopped green onion
1 small can diced green chilies
1 cup chopped Roma tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground turkey until no longer pink. Stir in taco seasoning and salsa, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in beans, and heat through.
Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 11⁄2 cups broken tortilla chips in dish and top with 1 cup shredded cheese; spoon beef mixture over cheese. Spread sour cream over beef. Sprinkle green onions, diced chilies and fresh tomato over the sour cream. Top with remaining 11⁄2 cups broken tortilla chips and remaining cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Serves 8.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/ garden editor.