Coming at you with another recipe involving cheese. I know, I know, you’re all surprised (but admit it, you’re excited too.) Remember how I mentioned that there are certain recipes my family members and I are famous for? This is another one of mine; it’s so popular that my stepdad makes sure the fridge is stocked with the necessary ingredients as soon as I come home so there’s nothing keeping me from making it.
There’s no magic ingredient or anything extraordinary about this recipe, except for the fact that is just tastes good. It’s cheesy, and a little spicy, plus a little fresh and crunchy for fun. Straightforward, simple, and delicious.
Start with the refried beans– I only use vegetarian, but that’s because of my sincere distaste for lard. Go forth with the fat, if you choose. Spread those bad boys nice and evenly across the pan, and then gently sprinkle with taco seasoning. Remember this! The taco seasoning is the key to this entire dish.
Now for the cheese, shredded, to be specific. You can shred your own, which is always a good choice, but bagged is totally fine if you’re lazy like I am. This particular cheese layer is crucial to the overall success of your dip. Make sure no spot is left un-cheesed. Yes, it’s excessive. No, I don’t regret it, and neither will you.
I go with salsa next, mostly because it’s got the most liquid and if I put it near the top, all the juice will sink down and make everything soggy. I like to do a mild or medium chunky salsa, for flavor and texture. It’s a little tough to spread it evenly over the cheese, but you’ll figure it out. Then, more taco seasoning.
Obviously, you need more cheese. It seals in the salsa, kind of like a protective layer.
Lettuce next. I like mine in thin, short pieces, so that it can be evenly distributed. I choose to do this towards the top because wilted lettuce makes me sad, and this dish is supposed to be happy.
And for the last layer- you got it- more cheese! This is like the first one; no spot un-cheesed. It’s going to keep in all the deliciousness while this thing bakes, so make it good. And top it off with another sprinkle of taco seasoning.
You can put in literally any ingredient. I’ve seen olives, guacamole, fresh tomatoes, whatever your heart desires. Over the years, we’ve narrowed down our favorite ingredients so this is basically my family’s version. I’ve also been known to throw in some ground beef (just above the bean layer) to make it an actual meal. I don’t recommend putting sour cream in it, but maybe on top, just because baked sour cream is slightly nauseating, in my opinion. You can also toss a little hot sauce over the cheese as soon as it comes out of the oven, for a little kick.
One pkg taco seasoning
10-12 oz. shredded cheese
A few tablespoons of salsa
1 can refried beans
2 cups chopped lettuce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a 9×13 glass, oven-safe pan, spread refried beans evenly over the bottom.
Sprinkle taco seasoning.
Layer with cheese, covering the entire layer.
Spread salsa as evenly as possible over cheese and sprinkle with taco seasoning.
Layer with cheese (not as much as the first layer).
Finely chop two cups of lettuce and gently distribute.
Cover with a lot of cheese, and then sprinkle with taco seasoning.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until top layer of cheese is completely melted and slightly browned.