Freezer Meal Recipes / Dinner / Slow Cooker Southwestern Casserole

Slow Cooker Southwestern Casserole

Combining the flavors of cilantro, beef and rice, with the simplicity of a slow cooker meal, makes this Southwestern Casserole a staple for busy families.
8 Servings Meet The Cook Print
Slow Cooker Southwestern Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, Mild - Shredded
  • 1 ½ cups cook Ground Beef
  • 1 ¼ cups dice Onion
  • 1 ½ cups dice Bell Pepper, Green
  • ½ cups Corn, Frozen
  • 15 ounces drain and rinse Kidney (Dark Red) Beans, Canned
  • 14 ½ ounces Diced Tomatoes, Canned
  • 8 ounces Tomato Sauce
  • ¼ cups Water
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chop Cilantro, Fresh
  • 1 cup Instant Rice, Brown

Freezer Containers

  • 2 Gallon Freezer Bags
  • 2 Pint Freezer Bags

Supplies

  • Labels

Nutritional Information

  • Not available.

Make It Now Cooking Directions

These directions are for cooking this recipe to serve immediately and NOT to freeze for later.

  1. Place all ingredients in slow cooker, except shredded cheddar cheese. Stir to combine ingredients.
  2. Cook on low 6-8 hours or until heated through and rice is tender.
  3. Top with cheese before serving.

Freeze For Later Cooking Directions

These directions help you cook or prepare this meal PRIOR to being frozen for serving later (see Serving Day Directions when you are ready to prepare it to eat).

Why would I want to freeze this?

  1. Place cheddar cheese in a pint size freezer storage bag.
  2. Mix all remaining ingredients and divide among indicated number of gallon size freezer bag, placing smaller bag of cheese inside larger bag before sealing. Label and freeze.

Make From Frozen Serving Day Directions

These directions help you cook or reheat this meal AFTER it's been frozen for when you are ready to eat it.

  1. Pour contents of gallon freezer bag into crockpot. Cook on low 6-8 hours or until heated through and rice is tender.
  2. Top with cheese before serving.

28 Comments

Join the discussion
  1. This looks goods, and I’d like to try it, sans the meat, and perhaps with an extra can of beans, as a vegetarian version. Do you think regular long-cooking brown rice would work, or does it have to be instant for some reason? Thanks!

    1. Sally – I think a vegetarian version would work great with this recipe – like you said adding an extra can of beans or two. I haven’t experimented with regular long cooking – you may need to adjust the cooking time to ensure the rice is tender enough. Let us know how it turns out!

      1. Turned out great! I subbed one can of drained and rinsed black beans for the meat (in addition to the can of kidney beans in the recipe). Used one cup of long grain brown rice (not instant). Needed to add an additional 2 cups of liquid to the 1/4 cup in the recipe (I used veggie stock) to get the rice cooked. Cooked on High for 4 1/2 hours, then low for 1 hour. Perfect results! Will definitely make this again – with a bit more heat, maybe a minced jalapeno pepper, a bit more chili powder, and some pepper. Great recipe.

  2. If you cook this 6-8 hours in the crockpot and then freeze, why does it have to be cooked 6-8 hours again in the crockpot? Can you just thaw and heat on the stove top or microwave?

    1. That should have read to freeze if already cooked OR to make without cooking, follow the freezer directions. It has been updated now. Thank you.

    1. Sheri – there may be a cook time difference between the quinoa and the rice..but if you try it let us know! I prefer quinoa as well!

    1. My only concern would be the amount of liquid to rice to make sure the rice gets cooked through if you don’t use instant. I would add a cup of broth to the mixture and see if that works. Let us know how it turns out!

  3. Definitely needed more heat for our bunch; I added chile powder and more cumin. Also adjusted the water and froze cooked brown rice in a separate bag, then stirred it in before serving. Just an alternative if you don’t have or don’t want to use the instant.

    1. Yes Kristin – I think it easily could be adapted to cook in the oven. My suggestion would be to full cook the rice, then combine everything in a baking dish. Bake 350F for 40-15 minutes until heated through.

  4. This sounds great! Do you think I could swap out the beef for chicken thighs? And would I have to cook the chicken prior to tossing in the pot, or let it cook for 8hrs in the pot? Thanks!

  5. We love this recipe as burrito stuffing. Rather than several ingredients to layer into burrito wrap, we just pile this in with sour cream and guac. Kids love it! Also, I’ve cooked this on the stove when I forgot to move it from fridge to slow cooker. Turned out great!

  6. Made this yesterday just as the recipe reads except the cilantro, my grocery store didn’t have any. Cooked it on low for 8 hours. 8 or 10 hours is the setting on my crockpot and it was complete mush. Tasted it just in case it just “looked” mushy. Ended up throwing it all away and ate out. Not sure what I did wrong. Oh well, just frustrating wasting time and money.

    1. Sorry to hear this, Mollie. If you have more specific questions in the future we’re always available and happy to chat in the bottom right-hand corner.

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