Turkey Mexi-Casserole

The word casserole, to me, conjures up visions of weird, cheesy and unrecognizable goop in a rectangular dish.  My parents were fantastic cooks of fresh and exotic foods, but they did have a few casseroles in their rotation while I was growing up.  I still make a couple of my favorite ones (yes, I still have a favorite casserole  that involves chips, chicken and cheese), but I definitely put a mental block on the few recipes I didn’t like growing up.  I decided to dig into the archives of my mind to see about reworking one of the casseroles I remember fondly, and I was pleasantly surprised by how it came out.  This Mexican Casserole is no-fail because the bottom is basically any type of ground turkey chili you like, topped with a thin layer of cornbread, and then baked to perfection.  I made my ground turkey very lean, and I like to make the cornbread a little healthier too.  The kids are fans and I find I can sneak onions and red bell peppers into this recipe quite easily. Casserole Ingredients:

  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 package very lean ground turkey (about 1 pound)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 cup onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 can black beans or kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can corn (drained and split in half)
  • 4 ounces red pasta sauce
  • 6 ounces salsa
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • cayenne or Mexican spices (optional)
  • 1 box Jiffy cornbread
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat cheese, optional
Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a 2 quart dish with Pam.  Spray a large pan with Pam and heat garlic for 2 minutes.  Add onion and bell pepper and stir 2 minutes more.  Add ground turkey and brown.  Add beans, half the corn, sauce, salsa, cumin, salt and pepper/spices and stir.  Pour into greased dish.  Prepare cornbread by stirring mix, egg, yogurt, milk, the remaining corn, and cheese, if using.  Pour on top of meat and spread evenly with the back of a spoon.  Bake for 30 minutes.
Here’s before the cornbread is spooned on top.
 Here it is after…
Here’s what it looks like after the spoon got into it.


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