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Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole

Comfort in Every Bite: Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole

healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

Savor the comforting flavors of Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole, a hearty dish that’s perfect for cozy family dinners or potluck gatherings. This recipe combines savory ground beef, crispy bacon, fluffy rice, and creamy cheese, all infused with the zesty goodness of ranch seasoning. With its simple ingredients and easy preparation, this casserole is sure to become a favorite in your meal rotation. Get ready to enjoy a deliciously satisfying meal that will have everyone coming back for seconds!

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup instant rice
  • 10.5 oz condensed cheddar soup
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 oz ranch dressing mix
  • 3 cups shredded Mexican or Nacho cheese blend
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped green onions

Instructions:

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. Cook Bacon: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the chopped bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside, leaving the bacon drippings in the skillet.
  3. Brown Ground Beef: In the same skillet with the bacon drippings, add the lean ground beef and minced garlic. Cook until the beef is browned and cooked through. Drain any excess fat.
  4. Prepare Rice: In a small bowl, prepare the instant rice according to package instructions.
  5. Combine Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked ground beef, cooked bacon, cooked rice, condensed cheddar soup, milk, ranch dressing mix, shredded cheese, and chopped green onions. Mix until well combined.
  6. Transfer to Baking Dish: Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it out evenly.
  7. Bake: Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly and heated through.
  8. Serve: Once baked, remove the foil and let the casserole cool for a few minutes. Serve hot and enjoy the cheesy, ranch-infused goodness!

Cook’s Notes and Variations:

  • Bacon Crispiness: If you prefer your bacon extra crispy, you can cook it separately and crumble it over the casserole just before serving.
  • Rice Alternatives: If you don’t have instant rice on hand, you can use cooked long-grain white rice or brown rice instead. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Cheese Options: Feel free to experiment with different types of cheese for added flavor. Pepper jack, sharp cheddar, or Colby jack cheese would all work well in this casserole.
  • Make It Ahead: This casserole can be assembled ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator overnight. Simply cover it tightly with plastic wrap or foil and bake it when ready.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use fresh garlic instead of minced garlic? A: Yes, you can substitute fresh minced garlic for the minced garlic in this recipe. Use about 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced.

Q: Can I freeze leftovers? A: Yes, this casserole freezes well. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer individual portions to freezer-safe containers or wrap tightly with aluminum foil. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake in the oven until heated through.

Q: Is there a low-carb version of this recipe? A: Yes, you can make a low-carb version of this casserole by substituting cauliflower rice for the instant rice and using a low-carb condensed cheddar soup. Additionally, you can reduce the amount of onions and use a lower-carb cheese blend to further decrease the carb content.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

  • Keto Version: Substitute cauliflower rice for the instant rice and use a low-carb condensed cheddar soup. Check the labels on the ranch dressing mix to ensure it is keto-friendly, or make your own keto ranch seasoning. Use a keto-friendly cheese blend or opt for shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
  • Low-Carb Version: Reduce the amount of onions and use a lower-carb cheese blend such as mozzarella and Parmesan. You can also add extra vegetables such as diced bell peppers or spinach to bulk up the casserole without adding extra carbs.

Cheesy Ranch Ground Beef and Rice Casserole is a satisfying and flavorful dish that’s sure to please the whole family. With its creamy texture, savory flavors, and hearty ingredients, it’s the perfect comfort food for any occasion. Whether you’re cooking for a weeknight dinner or a special gathering, this casserole is guaranteed to be a hit. So gather your ingredients and give this delicious recipe a try—it’s bound to become a new favorite in your kitchen!

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