Introduction: Southwest Style Gnocchi Casserole

About: I think my interests tell a lot about me, I'm a multimedia artist which means I work in whatever medium grabs my attention, paint on canvas is very relaxing and acrylic paint can be mixed with paper to make a …

What are gnocchi? [nok-ee,noh-kee;It.nyawk-kee] Gnocchi are a small italian dumpling made with potato, flour and egg or ricotta cheese, egg and flour. Gnocci are easy 2 make, 2 cooled baked potatos, one egg and a little flour, mix and form into a skinny snake then cut off 1/2" pieces and boil, they do require a little counter space which I lack and making them causes a mess. My local grocery recently had buy 2 whole wheat gnocchi packages for $5.00 and get 2 for me !

 I like gnocchi served the usual way, boiled with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese but I also like to experiment, fry the boiled then dried gnocchi in bacon drippings and serve with bleu cheese and bacon dressing like a pirogi or saute in butter with red onions and jalapenos.

This meal took 45 minutes to make but you could skip the baking and broiler and be eating in 20 minutes and it is FILLING !

Step 1: Lets Get Started !

here's what I used...
about 3/4lb of ground beef, feel free to substitute ground turkey or chicken
1 package of premade whole whear gnocchi
 1 jar of nacho cheese dip
 1/3 package of cream cheese (not shown)
 half a jar of chunky salsa
 green peppers
 diced onion ( I used half of the one shown)

Step 2: The Stove

get a large pot of water heating to a boil, season it well with salt and garlic powder.
place a frying pan on the stove and turn the heat to medium
 dice your onion and peppers then add to the heated pan
 add in your ground meat and cook until light grey, strain off any grease, return to the fryi9ng pan and add your salsa
 drop the gnocchi in the boiling water, they are done when they float (about 3 minutes)
 add the nacho cheese and cream cheese to the ground meat and bring to a soft simmer
 strain and dry the gnocchi, heat a frying pan and add some oil, add the gnocchi and stir or flip repeatedly until lightly browned

Step 3: The Oven

pour your boiled and browned gnocchi dumpling in an oven proof baking dish and cover with the cheese and meat mix, place in a preheated 350f oven for 15 minutes then under the broiler until the top is browned

Step 4: Serve It

This meal is FILLING, I was really hungry and made a bowl full (topped with hot sauce of course) and it filled me up. A side salad would be nice or a couple of veggies on the side ( if your kids are picky eaters this is a great casserole to hide veggies in, they won't even notice spinach)