Makes 4 servings
1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 small green bell pepper, cored and chopped
1 (1.25-ounce) taco seasoning packet
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 14.5-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained
Round tortilla chips
1 cup shredded cheese
Crumble ground beef into a hard plastic colander set over a 2-quart microwave-safe casserole. Microwave on high 3 minutes. Stir to break up beef and scatter bell pepper over the top. Microwave on high 3 minutes.
Discard fat that has drained into casserole dish, and transfer meat mixture into same casserole. Stir in taco seasoning and tomato sauce. Cover and microwave on high 3 minutes. Stir and add kidney beans. Re-cover and microwave on high 3 minutes. Test meat mixture with a food thermometer to make sure it reaches 160∞F. Let mixture rest 2 minutes before serving.
Two ways to serve: (1) Transfer meat mixture to the center of a large platter; or (2) divide the meat mixture among 4 individual plates. Surround the meat mixture with tortilla chips to resemble a hat brim. Scatter cheese over the meat mixture to resemble a straw hat, and serve hot.
Serving suggestion: To make a complete meal, accompany the dish with a salad and a green vegetable.
Fact BoxMicrowave Safety Tips
Following the USDA's microwave recommendations will help you get dinner prepared speedily but safely. -Know your microwave's wattage.
-Before freezing a package of ground beef, form it in a donut shape to thaw faster.
-Remove frozen meat and poultry from packaging before thawing to avoid chemical contamination. Transfer the frozen meat or poultry to a microwave-safe dish
-Remove thawed portions of ground meat and transfer them to a plate; return frozen portion to the microwave for additional defrosting.
-When thawing chicken parts, break them apart as they defrost and rotate them in the dish so that the frozen areas are to the outside of the dish.
-Cook meat and poultry immediately after microwave defrosting because some areas of the frozen food may get warm or begin to cook during the defrosting time. Do not hold partially cooked food to use later.
-To remove fat from ground beef, crumble the meat into a hard-plastic colander set over a microwave-safe casserole. After microwaving, discard the fat that has drained into the casserole.
-Cover food to create steam that helps destroy harmful bacteria.
-Follow package directions to make sure all foods reach safe internal temperatures. Sometimes frozen foods look fully cooked, but they actually require cooking to be safe.
-Microwave foods to safe minimum internal temperatures as measured with a food thermometer (1658F for poultry; 1608F for ground meats).
-After microwaving, allow the food to rest so cooking is completed.
-Use cooked meat and poultry within 4 days. Leftovers may be frozen.
Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.