Sausage, Black Bean, and Tortilla Chip Casserole

I'm celebrating a small thing over here.

I'm celebrating the fact that on Saturday night my husband and I went out for the first time since baby Avery was born, and we survived.  Better yet, so did she.  Best yet, so did my in-laws and everyone else in our wake that night.

At five weeks in, you can imagine this big night out was anticipated just a lil bit.  And while our hearts were set on a night of adult conversation and alcohol to the face a fancy meal to celebrate our dear friend Tiffany's 30th birthday (Hi, Tiff!  Saturday was super fun!), we naturally had some nerves.

Would she take to the bottle for my husband's parents?  Would she scream her face off during her sometimes-fussy time of the evening?  Would we get text messages begging us to come home at the risk of being disowned?  Would they ever want to watch her again?  So there I was, running through her long list of likes, dislikes, sometimes likes, you can trys, and one thing I could recommends, and something told me...maybe it was the sympathetic looks on their seasoned faces...that this wasn't their first time at the rodeo.

So...yeah.  The night started off as per usual with my predictable inability to give up control.  But that's not celebration worthy.  No, no.

The truth is, I'm celebrating the return of a smidge of normalcy.

I'm celebrating catching up with good friends over a relaxed meal, and spending quality non-baby time with my husband again.  I'm celebrating getting dressed up and feeling pretty again.  I'm celebrating the return of alcohol again with a Manhattan.  A stiff one.  And most of all, I'm celebrating coming home to a healthy and happy baby who reminds me that things will never again be "normal" the way I knew them to be, and that's fine by me.

And guess what? We were NOT those people showing all 275 Iphone pictures of the baby spitting up or talking only about parenthood now that we've been part of the club for five weeks.  Go us.

So here we are.  Celebrating with food.  Shocker.

This sausage, black bean, and tortilla chip casserole is my idea of a celebration meal because you get to eat tortilla chips for dinner.  Did you read me?  Chips!  TORTIL -- okay you get it.

To pull this one together, I browned some turkey sausage and then sauteed together black beans, tomatoes, corn, and onion to create a delicious and healthy casserole filling.  Then I layered it all in between low-fat tortilla chips for crunch, 2% milk Cheddar cheese for glue, and baby spinach for bright green veggie vitamins.  The result was a hearty and really tasty layered Mexican casserole that was as fun to eat as it is healthy. 

This meal makes my mouth say Ole.  Consider it for your next mini life celebration!

Sausage, Black Bean, and Tortilla Chip Casserole
Adapted from
Serves 4-6
1 lb sweet or hot turkey sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, drained well
1 c frozen corn kernels
2 tbs lime juice
1 6-oz bag baby spinach
2 c tortilla chips, crushed (I used Trader Joe's reduced guilt chips)
1 c reduced-fat cheddar cheese, grated or shredded
2 c salsa
1 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat.  Add the turkey sausage and cook, stirring to crumble, until cooked through, about 7 minutes.  Remove from heat, and set aside.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat, and coat again with cooking spray.  Add the onion, and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add in the beans, tomatoes, corn, lime juice, and salt/pepper.  Cook an additional 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add in the reserved sausage, and warm through.

Meanwhile, coat a small saucepan or skillet with cooking spray and set over medium heat.  Cook the spinach until it wilts down, adding it in batches until if necessary.  Remove from heat.

Coat the bottom of an 8x8 casserole or baking dish with cooking spray, and add half of the crushed tortilla chips to the bottom in a single layer.

Spoon the sausage/veggie mixture on top of the chips, and sprinkle with 2/3 of the cheese.  Arrange the spinach evenly over the cheese.

Follow with half of the salsa, and then finish with the rest of the tortilla chips.  Top with the remaining salsa and then cheese.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown.


Sarah said...

Hahaha, I'm glad you enjoyed your night out! After 5 weeks, you certainly deserve it.

Joanne said...

Woohoo!!! Congrats! That is a HUGE accomplishment and honestly..I know some moms of much older kids who still have yet to leave their kids with a sitter, even when that sitter is a family member. Crazy.

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