Light and Easy Tex-Mex Bake has come to be one of my favorite flavor combinations. This low-fat dish doesn’t disappoint when it comes to flavor and satisfaction. It is filling, quick and easy to prepare, freezes well, and makes awesome leftover; as a matter of fact, I think it tastes even better the next day! The servings are really large, so even though I calculated the nutrition information based on 4 servings, I usually get about 6 servings out of it. The flavors and spices in this dish can easily be altered to suit your taste, so by all means, change up the spices called for with your favorite tex-mex spices.
Light and Easy Tex-Mex Bake
- 1 large skillet
- 1 small bowl
- 8 ounces whole wheat thin mostaccioli pasta (or penne, or ziti)
- 1 pound lean ground turkey breast
- 1 package frozen corn, thawed and drained (or about 2-3 ears fresh corn)
- ⅔ cup salsa
- 1 container fat free cottage cheese (16 ounce)
- 1 whole egg
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced (or 2 teaspoon dried)
- ½ teaspoon white pepper (black pepper is fine, too if you don’t have white on hand)
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ½ cup shredded low fat Monterey Jack cheese
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions (omitting the salt called for) ;rinse, drain and set aside.
- Spray a large skillet with cooking spray, add the ground turkey, and cook over high heat until no longer pink (about 5 minutes). Stir in the corn and salsa, and remove from the heat. (you can also try stirring in a packet of taco seasoning mix for even more flavor)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the cottage cheese, egg, cilantro, pepper, and cumin in a small bowl.
- Spoon half of the turkey mixture into the bottom of a sprayed baking dish. Top the turkey with the pasta, then spoon the cottage mixture over the pasta and top everything with the remaining half of the turkey mixture. Sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake 25 – 30 minutes.
Preparing our Light and Easy Tex-Mex Bake requires a few essential tips and tricks to ensure the best results. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, these insights will help you master the recipe and avoid common mistakes. Let’s dive into the world of Tex-Mex cooking and create a culinary masterpiece together!
Offering Tips and Tricks:
- Properly Season the Protein: To infuse the Tex-Mex Bake with maximum flavor, make sure to season the chicken (or your chosen protein) generously with salt, pepper, and Tex-Mex spices before cooking. This step ensures that every bite is packed with deliciousness.
- Layering for Even Distribution: When assembling the Tex-Mex Bake, layer the ingredients evenly to ensure that each bite offers a harmonious blend of flavors. Start with a layer of tortillas, followed by the seasoned protein, beans, corn, and cheese. Repeat the layers until all the ingredients are used, ending with a generous sprinkle of cheese on top.
- Cover with Foil: To prevent the cheese from over-browning while baking, cover the Tex-Mex Bake loosely with aluminum foil for the first half of the baking time. This step allows the ingredients to cook and meld together while maintaining a gooey and melty cheese topping.
- Rest Before Serving: Once the Light and Easy Tex-Mex Bake is out of the oven, resist the temptation to dive right in. Allow the dish to rest for a few minutes before serving. This resting time allows the flavors to settle and the layers to set, making it easier to portion and serve.
Serving & Storing Your Light and Easy Tex-Mex Bake
Now that you have mastered the art of cooking our Light and Easy Tex-Mex Bake, let’s explore the exciting world of serving suggestions. This versatile dish offers endless possibilities for pairing with sides, garnishes, and beverages. Get ready to elevate your dining experience with these creative ideas that will complement the flavors of the Tex-Mex Bake perfectly.
To complete your Tex-Mex Bake experience, let’s delve into the realm of sides, garnishes, and beverages. These additions will enhance the flavors, textures, and overall enjoyment of the dish. Here are some carefully curated recommendations to elevate your meal and create a well-rounded culinary affair.
- Fresh and Crunchy: Serve your Tex-Mex Bake with a side of crisp lettuce leaves, diced tomatoes, and sliced avocado. The coolness and crunchiness of these ingredients will provide a refreshing contrast to the warm and cheesy bake.
- Zesty Salsa and Guacamole: Add a vibrant touch to your Tex-Mex Bake by serving it with homemade salsa and guacamole. The tangy and spicy flavors of these condiments will complement the dish beautifully.
- Creamy Sour Cream: A dollop of creamy sour cream on top of each serving adds a luscious and tangy element to the Tex-Mex Bake. It helps balance the spices and provides a smooth and cooling contrast.
- Corn Tortillas or Tortilla Chips: Transform your Light and Easy Tex-Mex Bake into a fun and interactive meal by serving it with warm corn tortillas or crispy tortilla chips. Guests can create their own mini tacos or use the chips for scooping up the delicious layers of flavors.
- Refreshing Beverages: Pair your Tex-Mex Bake with a refreshing beverage such as a classic margarita, a fruity agua fresca, or a chilled Mexican beer. These drinks will complement the vibrant flavors of the dish and enhance your dining experience.
- How to Store Leftovers: If you have any leftovers, let them cool to room temperature before transferring them to an airtight container. Refrigerate the Tex-Mex Bake for up to three days. To reheat, place individual portions in the microwave or oven until heated through.
Can I make Light and Easy Tex-Mex Bake ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the Tex-Mex Bake ahead of time. Prepare the dish as directed and refrigerate it before baking. When you’re ready to serve, simply bake it according to the recipe instructions. Keep in mind that the tortillas may soften slightly during refrigeration, but the flavors will still be delicious.
Can I use a different protein instead of chicken?
Absolutely! While the recipe calls for chicken breasts, you can easily substitute it with other proteins such as ground beef, shredded pork, or even tofu for a vegetarian option. Adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the protein you choose.
Can I freeze the Light and Easy Tex-Mex Bake?
Yes, you can freeze the Tex-Mex Bake for future enjoyment. After baking and cooling the dish, portion it into individual servings and place them in freezer-safe containers or zip-top bags. Label and date the containers, then store them in the freezer for up to three months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat in the oven or microwave until heated through.
Can I adjust the spiciness of the dish?
Absolutely! The level of spiciness can be adjusted to your preference. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can use a mild salsa or reduce the amount of Tex-Mex seasoning. On the other hand, if you enjoy a spicier kick, you can opt for a hotter salsa or add additional jalapeños or hot sauce to the dish.
How should I store any leftovers of Light and Easy Tex-Mex Bake?
If you have any leftovers, allow them to cool to room temperature before transferring them to an airtight container. Refrigerate the Tex-Mex Bake and consume it within three days. To reheat, you can either microwave individual portions or reheat the entire dish in the oven until heated through.
Dive into the world of Tex-Mex cuisine with our tantalizing Light and Easy Tex-Mex Bake. Uncover the secrets to success with our cooking tips, get inspired with creative serving suggestions, and find solutions to common queries in our FAQs. Join our community by sharing the recipe and subscribing to our blog for more mouthwatering recipes and culinary insights.