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Taco-Chili Cornbread Casserole

Taco-Chili Cornbread Casserole

 

Cornbread holds a very permanent place in my heart. A very warm comforting spot that goes perfect with soups, chili, or just a nice side to any heart and saucey dish. That’s why I think my Taco-Chili Cornbread Casserole is the perfect combo. It’s hearty, saucey, just a little spicey and oh so comforting. It’ll send you straight to the couch for naptime if you’re not careful.

You’ve been warned…

I know that there are hundreds upon hundreds of different variations of cornbread casserole like this. I’ve seen them all over Pinterest and all other social media platforms. I didn’t do any research going into mine, however. I wanted this to be nice and simple so I started with a cornbread recipe that sparked my interest that I found on Pinterest. Check that out right here:

Sweet Cornbread by Life in the Lofthouse

This recipe is fantastic and I’ve been wanting to make the cornbread by itself. It’s perfect for the topping on my Taco Chili Cornbread Casserole.

diced veggies for taco chili cornbread casserole

The filling is simple enough. I started out with a pot of chili in mind, but with a more taco-like sauce and seasoning. Onions, green pepper, sweet peppers and jalapenos gave an awesome base to start with, along with some garlic. I’ve really been liking ground turkey lately in lieu of ground beef. I like how it’s flavor comes out when you use it in applications that you normally use beef in. It’s almost like a whole new dish.

taco chili filling

Wife With the Save

Also, I was going to skip the cheese, but I didn’t. After some much-needed advice from my wife, I decided to put cheese in it, and mix it right into the turkey mixture. This thickened the sauce up, made it almost creamy, and made the dish heartier all-around.

shot of the casserole dish ready for the oven

The combination of the diced tomatoes, the tomato sauce, and the liquid added with the taco seasoning gave a good amount of sauce and a nice consistency, even after shredded cheese was added. You definitely want a good amount of sauce/liquid in the dish. It bakes for quite a while and you don’t want the chili mixture to dry out. Also, have some extra liquid when serving it goes perfect with the cornbread topping.

Beans, Beans

Finally, throw in some beans of your preference and you’ve got your chili filling. It’s not truly chili, but it sure as heck looks like it. So yeah…..chili!

cornbread topping is baked

This recipe, like most of the others on my blog, is fully customizable. I’m sure most cornbread recipes can be used here for the topping, but I HIGHLY recommend using this one. It was PERFECT. The topping can be easily customized for your own preferences too. Switch up the peppers, add different beans or more corn, whatever you can come up with. You won’t know if it’s good or not until you try it!

Enjoy this one on a cold rainy day, friends. It’s a real comforter!

taco-chili cornbread casserole

Recipe

I recommend have the cornbread batter ready to go for when you add your filling to the pan. Doing this while help reduce the baking time.

Cornbread

Ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milkk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup salted butter, melted
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (or less depending on preference
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
Steps
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix eggs, milk, vanilla and melted butter. Stir well to combine.
  2. Add in the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Incorporate, but to do not over mix.
  3. Set aside while oven pre-heats and while you make the taco-chili filling.

Taco Chili Filling

Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground turkey or beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 1/2 medium green pepper, diced small
  • 3 small sweet peppers, diced small
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • 1/4 cup taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomato, liquid included
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 1 14 oz can of beans of choice (I used black)
  • 3/4-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese plus more for garnish
Steps
  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat with enough oil to coat the bottom until just smoking. Add in the onion, green pepper, sweet peppers, jalapeno and a pinch of saute. Cooking, stirring frequently for 5-8 minutes, or until veggies have softened.
  2. Add in the garlic and ground meat. Cook while stirring and breaking up meat until just cooked through and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Stir in the taco seasoning and cook while stirring until it coats the mixture in the pan and it all drys up. Add in the water and stir well. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Simmer until liquid is saucey and sticks to the mixture in the pan.
  4. Add in the can of diced tomatoes with their liquid and the tomato sauce. Stir well and bring to a simmer again. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until everything comes together and thickens slightly. Off the heat, and add in the cheese to preference of desired thickness.
  5. Put taco-chili mixture into a greased 13×9 baking pan. Pour cornbread mixture evenly over the top and place in pre-heated oven.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Start checking for doneness at 45 minutes. Check by lightly touch the top of the cornbread and seeing if it wiggles. Sometimes, the top will look done and still have some un-cooked batter inside. To be extra careful, when you’re pretty sure it’s done, cut into the cornbread with knife in the middle of the dish.
  7. Allow dish to sit for 5-10 minutes to cool and to come together a little before serving. Serve hot with extra cheese.
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