Mexican Rice Casserole

I love Mexican food, so even after eating lots of it last week in honor of Cinco de Mayo, my cravings were not satisfied. This Mexican Rice Casserole is very filling with lots of rice, beef, tomatoes and cheese. I was pretty happy with it as is, but then I put a dollop of Wholly Guacamole on top and that really brought it up a notch. Personally, I think guacamole has that effect on most dishes. If you’re looking for a hearty meal with Mexican flair for only 7 Green, 6 Blue or 2 Purple myWW SmartPoints, this one’s for you.

***For some unknown reason the original post for this recipe was messing up my category labels (appetizers, casseroles, desserts, etc) so I had to take it down and re-post it.  I’m simply mentioning this to avoid any confusion of the “didn’t she already post this?” or “hey, it’s not the week after Cinco de Mayo!” variety. This concludes the Emily Bites special bulletin.***


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Mexican Rice Casserole

Yield: 9 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice (not instant)
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb 95% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (divided)
  • 1 cup reduced fat 2% shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced thickly

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook rice according to the instructions on the package.
  2. In a large sauté pan, bring the olive oil to medium heat. Add the ground beef and brown while breaking it up. After 3-4 minutes of browning, add the onion and all of the seasonings. Stir until combined and then continue to cook until the beef is browned and the onions are cooked. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the cooked rice, black beans, tomato sauce and add 2-3 T of the cilantro and stir until thoroughly combined.
  3. Lightly mist a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and pour the rice mixture in, spreading it evenly. Spread the tomato slices evenly across the top and follow with the cheese.
  4. Spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover the dish with it, spray side down. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for an additional 5-7 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with remaining cilantro.

MyWW SmartPoints per (1/9th of the recipe) serving: (SP calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)

Green: 7 SmartPoints/ Blue: 6 SmartPoints/ Purple: 2 SmartPoints

WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS PLUS:
7 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)

NUTRITION INFORMATION:
301 calories, 39 g carbs, 4 g sugars, 7 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 20 g protein, 5 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com)