Finding a meal your family loves is wonderful. You toss is into your regular rotation, and you keep hitting play until someone yells, “STOP”! When that happens, take the exact same ingredients, and give them a little twist.

We’re super suckers for tacos. We love’em with eggs for breakfast, beans and cheeses for lunch, with a mishmash of leftovers as filling for dinner, and on and on. As I assembled my regular arsenal of items for soyrizo tacos, I decided it was time for a change. I parboiled a handful of  mixed baby potatoes, and let my fingers do the talking. Before I knew it, I had a Southwestern Au Gratin sitting in front of me ready to pop into the oven. It was one of those dishes that would be hard to mess up because we loved everything in it, but with a new cooking method, you won’t really know until chow time. As the dish neared the end of its cooking time, I peeked into the oven and knew I’d struck dinner time gold. The bubbly cheese, crispy soyrizo, and aromatic vegetables worked in harmony to form the perfect bite.

Southwestern Au Gratin

One container cherry tomatoes

Two cups pinto beans (canned or homemade)

Two pounds parboiled potatoes, quartered

Eight ounces pepper jack, sliced or shredded

One package soyrizo, crumbled

Eight cloves garlic, minced

One quarter purple onion, sliced

Quarter cup of olive oil

Half cup half and half

Half cup vegetable broth

Tsp. sea salt

Tbsp. black pepper

Preheat your oven to 375

Quarter the potatoes, and layer them in the bottom of your casserole dish. Top the potatoes first with pinto beans, then whole cherry tomatoes, and crumble your soyrizo over top. Arrange your onion slices in a single layer, side-by-side, then top with pepper jack cheese. Combine the milk, half and half, vegetable broth, salt and pepper, then whisk to combine and set aside. Sprinkle on your minced garlic, then pour your reserved liquid over top, making sure to evenly distribute it throughout the dish. Drizzle your olive oil over the whole lot, then cover with foil, and place into your preheated oven.


Bake covered for twenty five minutes, then cook uncovered for ten. Let the dish rest for fifteen minutes before serving. If you’d like some extra pop, top each serving with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and a dash of hot sauce. This dish pairs well with a lightly dressed side salad, or steamed broccoli.

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