Cheesy Taco Rice

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Note: The taco seasoning used in this recipe is my own blend, find the recipe here.

It seems as though anytime I’m involved in some sort of gathering involving a group of people, I end up volunteering to bring something to eat. I love cooking for a crowd, but it does provide a couple of challenges that need to be overcome. Unless the gathering is in your home, it needs to be portable and most important, kept warm for serving.

This is an ideal situation for using a large crock -pot. The food can be cooked ahead of time, transported to the location and plugged in to finish and then served hot. A large crock-pot can also hold the bucket full of food needed to feed a room full of people.

For this recipe, I mix six cups of cooked rice with three pounds of ground beef, two pounds of Queso Blanco Velveeta, salsa, taco seasoning and vegetables and cook it in a crock-pot. The end result is a cheesy Mexican inspired dish that provides a serving for 12 to 15 normal people. A little more might be needed if the party you’re hosting happens to be for the local sumo wrestling club.

Over the last year I have gotten a lot of miles out of my crock-pot. I’ve been living in the Fort Wayne/Churubusco area for three years and now that I'm settled it seems like at least once a week I have somewhere to take food I have prepared.

When I first started taking food places I wasn’t documenting it. I was just throwing things together, but more and more people began asking me for the recipes. In response, I have started to photograph and publish the dishes and I’ve started to develop a nice little collection of crock-pot treasures that provide between 15 and 20 servings.

This recipe is part of that collection and it was devoured in about 20 minutes. I was happy that it went fast but I was glad I saved some for myself before going to the event, otherwise I wouldn't have gotten any. Glad I did because it's tasty!

Eat well, cook often ...

Serves 12 to 15; 2 hours, 30 minutes
3 lbs Ground beef
2 C Red pepper, diced
2 C Red onion, diced
2 Tbs Garlic, minced
2 lbs Queso Blanco Velveeta, diced
1 jar Salsa (24 oz)
6 C Rice, cooked
3 Tbs Taco seasoning
1C Tortilla strips for garnish

Brown beef
In a skillet over medium heat cook ground beef, breaking up large chunks and stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and place in slow cooker. Reserve a tablespoon of the drippings.

Cook vegetables
Return skillet to medium-high heat, sauté onion and red pepper in reserved drippings until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Place mixture in the slow cooker.

Combine and cook
Add cheese, rice, salsa and seasoning to slow cooker, thoroughly mix together all ingredients. Cover and cook on high for two hours or until mixture is heated through and cheese is bubbly. Scoop into a bowl, garnish with tortilla strips and serve.

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