I don't make a lot of casseroles because they tend to be higher in calories, fat, and sodium. But, they are delicious! I came across a recipe for a southwest casserole and decided to create one of my own. Because of all the flavors going on (onions, jalapeno, bell pepper and spices), you may not need to add additional salt...always taste your dishes before you add it! I included black beans to add some fiber, making sure I rinsed them to get rid of any excess sodium (do the same with the corn). I also used part-skim mozzarella cheese (I can't really taste a difference and it is the same price as full-fat). Enjoy!
1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey (you won't be draining the meat)
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 of a large red or orange bell pepper, diced
1 seeded jalapeno, diced
16 oz. tomato sauce
10 oz. canned diced tomatoes with green chiles
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1 cup canned corn, drained & rinsed
1 cup canned black beans, drained & rinsed
1/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups dried elbow noodles, cooked according to package directions
1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese
Sliced green onions, for garnish
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
In a large skillet, brown ground beef or turkey with onions, bell pepper and jalapeno.
When the meat is cooked and the vegetables are soft, add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes with chiles, oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add the corn and black beans and simmer for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the mozzarella or jack cheese until melted. Gently stir in the cooked pasta. Pour into prepared casserole dish and top with cheddar or Mexican cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until browned and bubbly. Garnish with green onions, if desired.