Cheesy Cajun Beef and Potato Bake
There’s almost nothing I love more than a cheesy, spicy comfort food casserole. I was in the mood for just such a dish when I came up with this Cheesy Cajun Beef and Potato Bake. I knew I wanted to use potatoes and after remembering how easy and delicious my Cheeseburger Hash Brown Cups were, I decided shredded hash brown potatoes would be an awesome base. I absolutely love all things Cajun or blackened, so even though this isn’t really a Cajun dish, I wanted to use the seasoning. To top it all off I made a rich, creamy and spicy Pepper Jack cheese sauce to pour over the top. It may seem like kind of a mish-mosh, but the results were delicious and my husband loved it just as much as I did, if not more.
I was able to make the cheese sauce and cook the beef and vegetables while the potatoes were in the oven, so this dinner took about an hour to make, start to finish, including baking time. It’s perfect for a weeknight (or weekend) dinner – just serve with a side of roasted veggies or a salad! To view your WW PersonalPoints for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, click here!
Cheesy Cajun Beef and Potato Bake
- 20 oz bag of refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes, such as Simple Potatoes or Reser’s (use defrosted zero point hash browns if following the myWW Purple plan)
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1/3 cup diced bell pepper, I used red but green or any other color would be fine
- 1 lb uncooked 95% lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon Cajun or blackened seasoning
- 3 tablespoons light butter, sliced (I used Land O’Lakes)
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 ½ cups skim milk
- 8 oz 50% reduced fat Pepper Jack cheese, shredded (I used Cabot)
- Pre-heat the oven to 375. Lightly mist a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Place the shredded potatoes in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the salt and pepper and stir together until ingredients are well mixed. Transfer the potatoes to the baking dish and press them down across the surface of the dish and partially up the sides to form a “crust” along the bottom of the pan. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
- While the potatoes are baking, bring the butter over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan until melted. Add the flour a little at a time, whisking it into the butter until combined. Add the milk a little bit at a time, whisking it into the flour mixture until smooth and well combined. Turn the heat up to medium for a few minutes until the milk is warmed. Add the shredded cheese to the mixture and whisk the mixture together. Continue to heat for another 3-5 minutes, whisking periodically, until the cheese is melted into the sauce. Set aside to thicken while completing step 4.
- Pour the remaining teaspoon of oil into a skillet and bring over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook for a few minutes until both are softened. Add the ground beef and continue to cook, breaking the beef up into small pieces with a cooking spoon until the beef is cooked through. Add the Cajun or blackened seasoning and stir together until well combined.
- When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven (edges will be starting to brown). Pour the meat mixture into the potato crust and spread across the surface. Pour the cheese sauce over top of the meat and return the dish to the oven to bake for another 15-20 minutes.
8 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
What an interesting combo of ingredients — I can’t wait to try this! I just want to thank you for your AMAZING website. Your recipes have been a staple in our house for the past six months or so, and we NEVER get sick of pizza logs or your awesome ‘cupcake’ recipes — keep ’em comin! 🙂
Comfort and balanced dish, looks fabulous!
How big is a serving?
1/8th of the pan – serving info is always directly under the recipe title in the recipe section of the post 🙂
Made this tonight for me and my husband. We are long time Emily Bites fans (since 2013!) and are from Louisiana, so when I saw this recipe with Cajun seasoning, I knew we had to try it. SO GOOD. The mixture of the potatoes, spicy cheese, and cajun beef just really works. Pretty easy to make too! We ate ours with pan sauteed veggies! One of my favorite Emily Bites recipes (and I’ve made a LOT of them)! Also, for our Cajun seasoning, we used Tony’s, which is the absolute best!
You knocked this one out of the park, lady! I never found reduced pepper Jack, so I used 1/2 regular pepper jack and 1/2 reduced cheddar. I also used Trader Joe’s hot pepper olive oil. I think next time, I’ll add chopped jalapeño with the bell and onion and just make a cheddar sauce. So versatile and VERY satisfying. Thanks again!
I solved the reduced pepper jack problem! I use reduced regular pepper jack and add dehydrated jalapeños that I found at Penzey’s plus a little crushed red pepper. Perfect!
So this one looks so good I didn’t show it to my husband — my meal plan was already set and I knew he’d want to change it! This is definitely on the list for next week though, I can’t wait!
I’m planning on making this tonight:) Is it okay to use frozen shredded potatoes? Should I bring them to room temp first?
Sorry I didn’t see this last night, Nikki. I hope it worked out! I haven’t tried it with frozen shredded potatoes…are they partially cooked before freezing? I know the refrigerated ones are par cooked, so if the frozen ones aren’t you may want to cook them a bit longer before adding the meat, etc.
I appreciate your work & recipe. Sure, I will try it on this valentine day for someone 🙂
Another winner! Thank you!
My new problem is that I can’t decide which Emily Bites recipes to include on my meal plan. What a nice problem to have!!!
I really liked this recipe!! I don’t really like ground beef, but I like the spiciness in this recipe. The cheese sauce was great!
I made this tonight, and it was really yummy. Thanks for giving the WW points. It’s a big help.
Made this for dinner tonight and it’s awesome. Will be a new staple in the dinner rotation!
I made this last night and LOVED it. Even my extremely picky eater of a hubby loved it and asked for me to add it to the regular rotation. All around winner! Thanks
What is the serving size?
The serving info is located directly underneath the recipe title in the recipe section of the post. This recipe makes 8 servings, so just cut it into 8 pieces and serve!
Made this tonight. It was good but (maybe bc i used frozen potatoes) I couldnt cut it into nice pieces like shown above it kinda all fell together. =[
Oh no! Yeah, I’m not sure, but it definitely could have been the frozen potatoes. I hope you try it again with the refrigerated kind! Glad it still tasted good 🙂
I just started Weight Watchers a few weeks ago and your site has the BEST recipes.
We tried this dish for dinner, it was so good The Hubs is going to add an egg and make it breakfast tomorrow! Thanks!!
I’m so glad you are loving my site! Great idea to add an egg for breakfast. Thanks for the sweet comment 🙂
I made this last night and it was a huge hit! I will definitely be trying more of your recipes! Thanks so much for an amazing website. I love it!
Thank you for this recipe. My picky husband even liked it.
Thank you for also including the points+ values for your recipes!
When you say an1/8 of a serving. How much is that? Is it a cup?
I made this last night & had some issues- will definitely try again but alter a few things. I am wondering if the portions are accurate. I measured out 20 oz. of potatoes & it didn’t fill the 9×13 dish as shown in the picture. Also the dish was extremely salty (I was having an off night in my cooking & could have been a mistake in my measuring) but either way I think I’ll reduce the salt- reduced fat cheese is salty in itself. I also plan to add jalapeños next time to the vegis & meat spice it up more. Like another commenter, the serving size is not listed below the recipe- the only information is the WW pts & nutritional facts. It was only after I read the comments did I see the serving size in the comments.
The serving information is always listed directly underneath the recipe title in the recipe section of the posts. For casseroles I usually just tell you how many pieces to cut it into. I’m sorry to hear you had issues. Did you use a 20 oz bag of refrigerated hash brown potatoes? That covered the dish fine for me and I have had a lot of readers make this without an issue so I’m not sure how to help you with that! You can certainly adjust the salt to your tastes. Jalapenos sound like a tasty addition! 🙂
I tried this dish tonight and it was absolutely fantastic! It’s hard to believe something that tastes this rich is only 9 Weight Watchers Points!
Made this wonderful dish tonight, and It was a huge hit with my family!
I used unsweetened almond milk (our skim was outdated), also used frozen hash browns and did cook them longer. The combination of the crispy potatoes, spicey beef and smooth cheese sauce was Awesome!
Thank you! Am loving your recipes.
Sorry to bother you but I can’t find out what is “zero point defrosted hashbrowns” as listed in the recipe. Could you please clarify
I can’t wait to try this recipe as listed. I didn’t have any Cajun seasoning so I mixed it up a bit and used some mild Mexican seasoning and paprika. It was a huge hit with not only the husband but the super picky kids as well. My 12 years response was “this is fire yo”
I have made this before, but I don’t make it very often as I find the cheese impossible to find. It might be a good idea to update the recipe with something more accessible like a reduced fat mexican blend or maybe even lowfat pepper jack slices.
This casserole is AMAZING!! I made it just like the recipe and it turned out great!
This was SO good, omg. I couldn’t find reduced fat pepper jack so I used a “fiesta blend” from Walmart. I don’t buy cow’s milk either so used unsweetened almond milk, turned out great. So good and will definitely be a repeat recipe!
Holy cow this one was tasty! I am kind of doing a Julie and Julia situation here with your recipes. I have been meal preppingwith only your recipes for 3 weeks now and I have not have ONE thing we didn’t like! Thank you for making my life so easy!!!
Pure comfort food! Minimal changes – added some sliced garlic and sautéed with the onion and pepper. Used low fat cheddar – couldn’t find the low fat pepper Jack and I’m not crazy for it anyway. For the seasoning I used Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning. Absolutely terrific…another one of your recipes we’ll have on repeat. Thank you!