Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Cheesy Cajun Beef and Potato Bake


I made this for Jenna and me last week.  Since it was just the two of us, I halved the recipe and made it in a 9 x 9 pan.  This was very good.  See my changes in bold.
Cheesy Cajun Beef and Potato Bake
adapted from http://www.emilybites.com

20 oz bag of refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes Beth used frozen, thawed
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
1 lb uncooked lean ground beef
1 tablespoon Cajun or blackened seasoning
3 tablespoons butter, sliced
3 tablespoons flour
1 ½ cups skim milk
8 oz Pepper Jack cheese, shredded Beth used slices and just tore them up

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 .

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.

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