Sometimes, when dinnertime rolls around, you want a quick dinner you don’t have to think about. You want to make dinner cheap and easy. Other than pasta (again) or pizza (let’s keep that down to one night a week, shall we?), what’s on the menu that you can whip up in a jiffy?
Well, have I got a contender for you:
That’s right: Tex Mess. It’s the “sloppy joes” of Tex Mex.
It’s gloriously unrefined and delicious and only takes 30 minutes if you make it vegetarian or use pre-cooked meats like shredded rotisserie or canned chicken. It’s filling and delicious, and it’s actually pretty healthy (did you know that beans and rice make a complete protein? Tomatoes have lots of known benefits, onion is a tasty veggie, corn is a whole grain, and cheese– well, cheese gets a pass because cheese is awesome).
And it’s flexible! There are lots of ways to serve it, and it’s easy to adapt for your family’s needs. This recipe makes a 9×13 pan full, and depending on how you do serve it, it can last you for several meals (do dinner one night and lunch for a day or two after), depending on family size.
Ready for this easy-peasy nonsense?
Let’s do it!
- 1 C Dry White Rice
- 2 C Water (or beef or chicken broth for added flavor)
- 1 Med Onion (if desired)
- 1 lb Meat (ground beef, chicken breast, shredded pork, etc.; I frequently use shredded rotisserie chicken or canned chicken for ease. Omit for a vegetarian dish.)
- 1 (~15oz) can Diced Tomatoes (Rotel style, if you like)
- 1 (~15oz) can Black Beans (drained, not rinsed)
- 1 (~15oz) can Corn (drained; I use sweet yellow)
- 2-3 C Shredded Cheese, divided (I use a Mexi Blend, but cheddar will also do in a pinch)
- 1 Packet Taco Seasoning (approx 2 TBSP; more, if desired)
- In a medium saucepan, cook rice: bring water (or broth) to a boil, add 1/4 tsp. salt if desired, then add rice, cover, reduce to low, and simmer till cooked (about 20 minutes).
- While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 350*F, then chop and sautée onions if desired. Ground beef can be cooked with onion at this stage. Onion can be added raw or omitted as desired.
- In a 9×13 oven-safe dish, combine cooked rice, onion (if using), cooked meat (if using), diced tomato, black beans, corn, half the shredded cheese, and taco seasoning. Stir well. Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, till warm through and cheese is melty (all ingredients are cooked, you are only heating through).
- Serve hot and goopy!
If you want to eat it straight, you’ll get no judgment from me, but here’s where variation makes this dish stretch, and the whole family can make it how they like it. Here are some options:
- Base: nacho/taco salad style (over/scooped with tortilla chips), burrito style (wrapped in a tortilla), or taco style (in a taco shell).
- Toppings: salsa, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, lettuce, queso, cheese, olives, onion, etc.
I usually set the table with tortillas and chips, salsa, sour cream, and cheese, with the occasional guac or queso as a special treat, then set the pan of Tex Mess in the middle. Everybody can fix theirs how they like it with minimal effort.
Feel free to play with the recipe! My family loves this, as Hubby says it’s a lot like his mom’s Mexican Rice he loved growing up and my kids like that they can make theirs their own way. But if you need something different, change it! Leave out the meat for a vegetarian dish, then leave out the cheese and it’s vegan. Add more seasoning or less for your family’s palate. Want some extra spice? Go for it! The recipe is very forgiving, and you really can’t go wrong! You could even forget it in the oven until the cheese has browned and you’re still good. You do you.
Have you tried my Tex Mess? Let me know! I’d love to know how you make it yours!
As always, Thanks for reading!