Easy Weekend Recipe – Mexican Casserole

image (1)I’m a big fan of easy recipes that I can whip up quickly and eat from for 2-3 days without getting tired of them.  Mexican Casserole has been a favorite of mine since preschool (when I called it “Donnie’s Casserole” as it first made it’s appearance at our house via the mother of the little boy who was my crush as a four-year old.

Mexican Casserole

Mexican Casserole

Growing up, this made occasional appearances on our table and it was recycled by me in college where it quickly became a favorite of various guys I’d invite over for dinner.  The regular requests to “make that casserole” proved it a winner.

I stopped making this in my 20s when I thought I was too sophisticated for casseroles, but have recycled it in the past few years because of it’s ease to assemble.  It’s also one of those rare dishes that tastes better the next day when the flavors have had time to meld together.

Mexican Casserole (aka Donnie Lyon’s Casserole)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 bag of tortilla chips

Instructions

  1. Saute onion in large skillet on medium heat until softened and brownedimage
  2. Add ground beef and brown, breaking into small pieces and mixing in onion in the process – drain off excess fatimage (1)image (2)
  3. Add cream of mushroom soup and Rotel mixing thoroughly until well-blendedimage (3)image (4)
  4. In a 9×13 casserole or baking pan, line bottom with a full layer of crushed tortilla chips (usually 1/2 to 1/3 of bag) so that a solid crust is formedimage (5)
  5. Spoon 1/2 of beef mixture over chips, creating an even layer

    Mexican Casserole

    Mexican Casserole

  6. Sprinkle 1/2 of  cheddar cheese over top until mixture is fully covered with cheese layerimage (7)
  7. Add second layer of crushed tortilla chips, again forming a full layer
  8. Add remainder of beef mixture, creating an even layer
  9. Add remainder of cheddar cheese, fully covering the beef layer
  10. Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly and slightly brownedimage (8)
  11. Slice and serve.  Can be served with  with salsa or sour cream to accompanyimage (9)

Variations

I’ve made several variations on this casserole over the years using the same base recipe:

  • Substitute ground turkey or chicken for ground beef
  • Substitute cream of celery or cream of chicken soup (particularly good with ground turkey or chicken)
  • Add a can of diced chiles along with the Rotel
  • Add taco seasoning to ground meat when browned
  • Substitute flavored tortilla chips (Doritos)
  • Substitute flax chips for tortilla chips
  • Substitute Fritos corn chips for tortilla chips
  • Substitute Mexican blend or jalepeno jack cheese
  • Use low-sodium soup

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