santa fe bake 2

If you are like me there are times when you have a pound of ground beef or ground turkey staring at you and you think to yourself, “What the heck can I make with this?” This was me on Tuesday.  I left for work in the morning without knowing what I was going to make for dinner. I knew I had a pound of ground turkey de-frosting and I had make sure whatever I planned involved ground turkey in some capacity.

There are days when I am on a dinner-block. I love to cook but some days I just can’t think of what to make. I often find myself in meal ruts every now and then and it is in those moments of desperation when I usually come up with the most creative meal ideas.  It was in one of those meal-rut moments when the ideas of a Santa Fe Rice Bake was born. 

We are big fans of latin-inspired foods in my house. For the Santa Fe Rice Bake I went with a mix of rice, ground turkey, green and red peppers with onions and some spices. You could also add in more veggies, like corn, or some beans like black beans, pinto beans or kidney beans. I topped the bake with a blend of mixed cheeses, crushed tortilla chips and jalapeno peppers and cilantro for garnish.  

The result was a tasty, satisfying meal that was done in about an hour. It was fuss-free and both the hubby and kids gobbled it up. I love those times when dinner just comes together. 

Wan the recipe?  Here it goes.

Santa Fe Rice Bake

A casserole of rice and ground turkey.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Servings: 6
Author: Linda Arceo


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 cups of cooked rice
  • 1 cup of sauteed red and green peppers and onions already cooked
  • 1/2 mixed cheese I used cheddar and monterrey jack
  • 1/4 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • jalapeno slices for garnish optional
  • cilantro for garnish optional


  • Preheat over to 350 degrees. Brown ground turkey in a pan. When cooked add spices and water. Stir to incorporate, cover and cook on medium heat covered for five minutes. Add cooked pepper and onions. In a large bowl combine finished ground turkey, rice and peppers/onion mix. Mix to fully incorporate ensuring rice is fully blended in. Spay large 9 x 12 casserole dish with cooking spray. Press rice, ground turkey, pepper mixture into pan. Top with mixed cheese and the finish with crushed tortilla chips. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven, garnish with jalapeno (if using) and return to broiler for 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and finish with cilantro (if using).


TIP: I like to keep the crushed tortilla chips from the bottom of the bag for recipes. Store in a mason jar and place in your pantry. Use the crushed tortilla chips in dishes, on salads or even cooked with your eggs in the morning.
When finished, your Santa Fe Rice Bake should look something like this.

santa fe rice bake

 I served the Santa Fe Rice Bike with a side of warm tortillas and some sour cream and hot sauce (for the adults). Perfect comfort food the chilly Spring evening.

santa fe rice bake

santa fe bake 4

This is not your momma’s soup can casserole!  Keep it fresh with this simple Santa Fe Rice Bake. I hope you enjoy it and P.S. – the leftovers were amazing!

This article was written by food blogger Linda Arceo for Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps