If you’re like my husband, his idea of cooking is to open a can of prepared chili con carne. In fact, he went out and bought at least FIVE of the 40 oz.cans of this inedible stuff, because he isn’t really a chef. The group always has chili, and I was out of town and, therefore, couldn’t make the home-made version.
The poker players didn’t much care for the canned stuff, so I was left with several 40 oz. cans of this stuff to get rid of. And no way was I going to eat it in its unadulterated version. Therefore, I scanned several cookbooks but came up with my very own recipe for a Taco Casserole, based on several different versions. This filled two large casserole dishes, and would easily feed at least 8 hungry men, who could dish it up and slop it down, as men are prone to do while playing poker late on a weekend.
Taco Casserole that Feeds a Poker Gang
2 lbs. of ground chuck or, if you prefer, a better quality of hamburger…say ground round.
1 onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 green pepper, chopped
6 ribs of celery, chopped
16 oz. (or slightly more) of diced tomatoes
The 40 oz. can of chili con carne..The Big One
Buy a couple pacakges of different types of corn chips (these can be flavored ones, plain, whatever)
1 cup of Parmesan cheese
2 cups of Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Brown the beef. You will probably need to separate the recipe into 2 frying pans, as this is going to make a lot and go into 2 casserole dishes, when done. Line the bottom of a greased 2-quart casserole with corn chips….about 1/4 inch of crushed ones. (I used a mixture of different kinds.) Having combined the ingredients, pour the meat mixture slowly over the crumbled corn chips at the bottom of first one and then the other casserole dish. Add 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese to each of the two casserole dishes, sprinkled over the meat mixture, which has been sprinkled over the crumbled corn chips. Top each casserole with 1 cup of the shredded Cheddar Cheese, placed on top of the rest of the corn chips. I probably used at least one entire 10 or 12 oz. bag of corn chips, but, since I was mixing various kinds, it might have been more. There was about 1/4 inch of crushed ones on the bottom and fewer on top. Put in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake until it is bubbly, the cheese on top melts, and you check to make sure that the interior of the dishes are hot. Remove from oven, place a serving spoon in the dish, have some beverages ready for the hungry poker players, and, as an accompaniment, possibly provide a tossed salad or some bread. If you have one of those home breakmakers, as I do, that is a big hit to go with it. Garlic bread purchased at the store would also make a nice accompaniment.
The recipe tastes like tacos, but without the bother of actually making tacos, and makes for an easier-to-eat poker party dish! Nobody will go away hungry.