mexican beef bake with cilantro-lime cream


4   ounces dried multigrain or regular rotini or elbow macaroni (1 1/3 cups)
12   ounces extra-lean ground beef
2   cloves garlic, minced
1  15  ounce can black beans or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1  14 1/2 ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
3/4  cup bottled picante sauce or salsa
1   teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/2  teaspoon ground cumin
1/2  teaspoon chili powder
1/2  cup shredded reduced-fat Colby and Monterey Jack cheese (2 ounces)
1/3  cup light dairy sour cream
3   tablespoons sliced green onions
2   teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2  teaspoon finely shredded lime peel


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Return pasta to hot saucepan; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook meat and garlic until meat is brown, stirring to break up meat as it cooks. Drain off fat.
3. Stir the cooked meat into pasta in saucepan. Stir in beans, undrained tomatoes, picante sauce, oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Transfer mixture to a 1-1/2- to 2-quart casserole or baking dish.
4. Bake, covered, about 30 minutes or until heated through. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 3 minutes more or until cheese is melted.
5. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, 2 tablespoons of the green onions, the cilantro, and lime peel. To serve, top each serving with a spoonful of the sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining green onions.

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