“Taco Tico — Yahyahyah!”
Well, this makes my mouth water just thinking about it! Every time I make it, the kids chant “Taco Tico YAHYAHYAH!! Taco Tico YAHYAHYAH!!” over and over. I think it’s cute and funny for about one minute.
If they are happy, I am happy – until my ears are ringing and then I start looking for a MUTE button. ((I haven’t found that button yet…))
There are several things I LOVE about this recipe. First, no one cries while eating it. Second, no one cries while eating it… OKAY, you get my drift? No really, It tastes so good and if you are serving people sensitive to “spicy”, just use a mild salsa and reduce the chili powder. Another thing that makes this great, is that it hides the ‘microplaned’carrots perfectly… that’s why I call it a healthy ninja recipe, get it…ninja, healthy- ninja. Sorry, I am a mom of boys, what can I say? My favorite part of the dish, besides the taste, is the crunch you get from the edges of the dish when you bite into the rice…YUM.
- 1&1/2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 medium sweet yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 large cloves of garlic finely diced, or made into a paste*
- 2 medium ((unpeeled)) carrots
- 1/2 packet of ranch dressing dry mix (or more according to your taste)
- 1 T cumin
- 2 T hatch green chili powder
- 2 t hatch red chili powder
- 1 t sweet paprika
- 1 t Mexican style seasoned salt
- 2-3 t salt-free Southwest-style seasoning (like Mrs. Dash)
- 1-8 oz block of light cream cheese
- 2 c freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 box frozen "Asian style" sticky white rice**
- 1 10 oz jar of your favorite salsa (I prefer Herdez medium)
- Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef. Remove beef from pan, allow all of the drippings to drain off the beef, wipe out any extra fat from the pan with a dry paper towel.
- Add onion to skillet and allow to soften (takes about 5 min). Add garlic and stir for 1 min. Using a microplane, grate the carrots into the beef mixture. Add all of the seasonings, salsa, 1/2 c shredded cheese and cream cheese to the beef. Cover the skillet in order to allow the cream cheese to soften.
- While the cheese is softening, place frozen rice pouch in the microwave and cook according to package instructions, less one minute of cooking time.
- Stir the beef mixture until thoroughly combined.
- In a prepared casserole dish, (approx. 9"x13") press sticky rice across the bottom, top with the cheese beef mixture and sprinkle 1&1/2c of shredded cheese on top.
- Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes.
- Top individual servings with a dollop of sour cream, fresh cilantro and remaining shredded cheese.
- *To make a paste from garlic cloves, peel the cloves and place on a cutting board. Place the SIDE of your knife on top of the cloves. Using the heel of your palm, pound the side of the knife in order to crush the cloves. Add 1/4t of kosher salt to the mashed cloves and use the side of your knife to smear the cloves across the board through the salt, repeating this motion until you have the desired paste consistency. Scrap up the paste -- with the NON-cutting side of your knife -- and add the it to the skillet.
- **The specific type of rice I prefer is pictured above.