Mexican Quinoa Casserole

Happy Wednesday! If you follow me on Instagram {stephaniechalk08}, you saw a sneak peak of our Mexican Fiesta on Friday. Thomas and I are still talking about it because it was delicious and easy!
Mexican Quinoa Casserole:

-8 Ounces of Ground Beef
-3/4 Cup of White Quinoa
-1 15-Ounce Can of Diced Tomatoes
-1 Cup of Black Beans
-1 Green Bell Pepper
-1 Red Onion
-1 Bunch of Cilantro 
-4 Ounces of Monterey Jack Cheese
-1 Jalapeno Pepper
-1/2 Cup of Mexican Crema
-2 teaspoons of Olive Oil
-1/2 Cup of Water
-2 Teaspoons of Mexican Casserole Spice Blend (Ground Cumin, Smoked Paprika, Chile Powder, Garlic Powder and Cayenne Pepper)

1. Preheat the oven to 450 Degrees.
2. Slowly bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Once it is boiling, add the Quinoa and cook for approximately 12-14 minutes or until tender. Drain thoroughly and set aside. 
3. While the Quinoa is cooking, rinse and drain the black beans, dice the bell pepper, thinly slice the jalapeno pepper into rounds, dice the onion, and pick the cilantro leaves off the steams.
4. In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium - high heat until hot. Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook the meat for 3-5 minutes or until browned. 
5. Reduce the heat to medium and add the bell pepper, onion and spice blend to the pan of browned beef. Stir occasionally for 2-4 minutes or until the vegetables are slightly soft. 
6. Add the diced tomatoes, black beans and 1/2 cup of water. Stir occasionally for 2-4 minutes and then remove from heat.  
7. Add the cooked Quinoa and Mexican Crema to the beef and vegetable mixture. Mix thoroughly. Then transfer into an oven-safe baking dish. Top with Monterey Jack Cheese.
8. Bake the casserole for 14-16 minutes or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let it stand for 2 minutes before serving. 
9. Garnish with cilantro and jalapeno (as much or as little as you would like based on on how spicy you would like it).
Happy Hour with our sweet pups! Please ignore that Tenley is sticking her tongue out at me. :)

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Thank you for following along! Your comments make me smile. Xo, Stephanie