enchilada casserole.

A while back, my sweet mamaw gave me a cookbook she had bought at a church fundraiser. It was one of those loosely binded cookbooks, compiled with recipes from all the church ladies, aka, the best and only cookbooks you should ever buy. EVER. I’ve got several church cookbooks, and I’ve got several fancy brand name cookbooks. And I always go back to my old cheap church cookbooks every time.

The only downfall to the church cookbooks is that they rarely have any pictures, and I’m a visual person. In fact, I usually don’t try new recipes unless I’ve eaten it before or there is a picture with the recipe. I’m a weenie when it comes to trying new things, so unless I’ve got a reference to go by, I chicken out.

However, one night while I was pregnant, I had an unbelievable craving for enchiladas. That was weird for me, considering I’ve never ate an enchilada before. Have you ever done that? Had a craving for a food you’ve never ate before? Oh, it happens to me quite often.

Anyway, I was really, really needing an enchilada. Like bad. I was getting mad. Ben was getting scared. I was 8 months pregnant. I was like a scavenger, tearing our house apart looking for anything that resembled an enchilada. Luck would have it that I stumbled upon a can of red enchilada sauce in my pantry. I have no idea why I had red enchilada sauce. I think the good Lord planted that enchilada sauce in my cabinets because He knew I was either going to eat an enchilada or kill Ben.

Our internet was down at the time, so I started flipping through my cookbooks looking for an enchilada recipe. I stumbled upon a recipe for ‘enchilada casserole’ in the Oak Forest Church cookbook. I didn’t have all the ingredients, but I could improvise. And so I did.

And 23 minutes later, I was certain that I had tasted a little bit of hispanic heaven. It was good. Not too spicy, but just enough flavor to give it a kick. And you could eat it plain, or eat it with chips. I was happy. My baby was happy. The world was good again.

Since then, I’ve made this casserole many times. Sometimes, I leave out the tortillas and make it a dip, too. It’s a good comfort food. I’ve ran across this recipe a couple of different places on the internet now, so I’m not sure who to give the credit to. It’s one of those ‘who came up with it first’ type of recipes. Since I found it in the Oak Forest Church cookbook, I’ll give the credit to those ladies.

Here’s the recipe:

Enchilada Casserole

1 pkg. ground beef (1-2 pounds)
1 pkg. taco seasoning (I recommend low sodium because the dish can get salty)
1 pkg. corn tortillas
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 can red enchilada sauce (I use low sodium here, too, if I can find it)
3/4 cup water (or whatever the taco seasoning calls for)
2 cups cheese (I use mozzarella and Mexican blend)
1/2 onion, diced
1 can tomato sauce (14-16 oz.)
2 tbsp. ranch dressing mix

Preheatcha oven to 350 degrees. First, add your beef and onion to a skillet and brown the beef over medium heat. Drain the grease and return the beef/onion to the skillet. Next, add the taco seasoning and water to the beef, just as if you were making tacos. Leave this over medium heat until the taco seasoning thickens. Meanwhile, add the enchilada sauce and the tomato sauce to a pot over medium heat. Then, drain and rinse the corn and beans and add it to the beef, as well as the ranch dressing mix. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes.

Next, begin to layer the casserole. In a sprayed 9×13 inch baking dish, add a layer of corn tortillas to the bottom (I usually add about 3). Then, spread half of your meat/bean/corn mixture on top of the tortillas. Then add half of your tomato/enchilada sauce mix on top of the meat. Top this layer with 1 cup of cheese. And then, repeat the steps, finishing the top with the last cup of cheese.

Don’t judge this by the picture. It’s not a pretty dish. It looks sloppy and yucky, but in this case, looks are very deceiving. You could add or alter this recipe in any way that you like. As I said earlier, I sometimes omit the corn tortillas and use this as a dip. I also usually add a bit of diced fresh cilantro when I have it. It’s versatile dish, y’all!

Have a blessed Tuesday 🙂

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