Beef Enchilada Casserole
My first introduction to this Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole happened to be a Thanksgiving Dinner at Granny’s house. We had all just sat down to our traditional Thanksgiving meal of ham, turkey, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, jellied cranberry and Hash Brown Casserole when Granny suddenly jumped up from the table and said “Oh wait! I almost forgot! We are trying a new casserole this year!” She abruptly left the table, pulled this Mexican Enchilada Casserole from the oven, sashayed back to the table, and proudly placed it right next to our ham and dressing. We all just stared at this cheesy newcomer, slightly dumbfounded. Had Granny went around the bend just a little?
Who serves Beef Enchiladas as a side dish to their Thanksgiving Dinner?! As we stared in shock at the beef enchilada casserole that had made its sudden appearance in the middle of our Thanksgiving feast, Granny stared right back at us like WE were the ones who had lost it. I remember asking her if she thought an Enchilada Casserole really had a place at Thanksgiving Dinner and her response was, “Well, why not?!” That was my Granny for you! Always full of surprises.
Enchilada Casserole Recipe
As the years went by, this stacked enchilada casserole creation became a permanent fixture at every major holiday feast including Thanksgiving and Christmas. We all loved how cheesy and delicious it was and after all, to use Granny’s words, “why not?!” It was always a lot of fun when the out-of-town family that we didn’t see every year would stop in for a visit and to enjoy dinner with us.
The look on their faces when Granny plopped that Beef Enchilada Casserole down on the table right in the middle of the turkey and dressing was always a hoot! I think they all wondered if we had lost it a little but nobody ever dared to question Granny. She was so proud of that casserole and once they tried it, they understood why! That Mexican Beef Enchilada Casserole was just absolutely so delicious, and who cares if it didn’t really “fit” the meal.
Beef Enchilada Recipe
While I don’t expect anyone to make this Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole for their Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, (or maybe you will?) I do love to serve this for a simple and easy weeknight meal. You can make this enchilada casserole with either one pound of lean ground beef (what I used) or lean ground turkey if you’re looking to cut a few calories. Start out by placing the pound of lean ground beef into a large, deep nonstick skillet.
How to make Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole
Adjust your heat to medium high and begin breaking the ground beef apart with a spoon or spatula. Add in 1/2 packet of Taco Seasoning (I use mild) or add in your own seasonings. For my own Homemade Taco Seasoning blend I used, 1 teaspoon dried, minced onion, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of cumin. I love making my own Taco Seasoning to cut down on sodium but either the packaged version or homemade will do just fine for this recipe.
How to get the perfect beef for Enchiladas
As the beef begins to cook, use a spatula or a beef masher (I really don’t know what that red thing is called) to break the meat into small crumbles. Be sure to stir the taco seasoning into the beef while you’re breaking it into smaller pieces!
Once the meat is completely cooked through, drain all of the remaining grease off (if any). If you use an extra lean ground beef like I did, you may not have any grease to drain off. Using ground turkey will also cut down on the fat output.
Easy Enchilada Casserole
Once the beef is cooked and drained, add in one, 10.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes with green chilies. Be sure to drain the juice from the can before adding it to your ground beef – you don’t want a watery casserole! I like to use mild diced tomatoes with green chilies in my beef enchilada casserole, but if you prefer more heat, feel free to use something with more spice. Granny always added one small can of mild green chilies to her Beef Enchilada Casserole, but my family doesn’t like them so I’ve always left them out.
Easy Beef Enchiladas Recipe
After adding in the diced tomatoes with green chilies, spoon a dollop of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt into the cooked ground beef. I used 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt and it makes this easy beef enchilada casserole so creamy and delicious! If you don’t want to use Greek yogurt, you can use sour cream as a substitute. We prefer using Greek yogurt for the nutritional benefits but sour cream works just as good and the flavor is virtually the same.
Six Ingredient Beef Enchilada Casserole
Once you’ve added in the diced tomatoes with green chilies and the plain, nonfat Greek yogurt (or sour cream) to your cooked, ground beef, add in one, 10.5 ounce can of Healthy Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup. If you have cream of mushroom soup on hand and want to substitute it for the cream of chicken soup, you can do so, in fact, you could probably even use cream of celery, although I haven’t tried that myself.
I have used both cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soup in this recipe and find that both work equally as good and taste great! However, I do prefer the taste of the cream of chicken soup over the cream of mushroom because I feel that it gives this beef enchilada casserole a more savory, vibrant flavor.
Cheesy Beef Enchilada Casserole
Now that we have all of our ingredients added to our ground beef to create the “stuffing” for this casserole, give everything a good stir to ensure that all ingredients are well combined. I like to keep my heat on medium at this point and just stir the beef mixture a few times, heating it as I go and ensuring that it is bubbling and hot before I begin assembling the casserole. This only takes a couple of minutes and makes the cooking time in the oven go by faster since everything is already heated through.
Layered Enchilada Casserole
Use an 8×12 or 9×13 casserole dish and spray the bottom and sides with nonstick cooking spray. Take between 5-7 white corn tortilla shells and tear them in half, laying them in the bottom of the casserole dish. I like to overlap the corn tortillas just enough that the bottom of the casserole dish doesn’t show but not too thick that they’re all stacked on top of each other.
Layered Beef Enchilada Casserole
Once the corn tortillas are in the bottom of the casserole dish, spoon 1/2 of the meat mixture over the corn tortillas. Be sure to spread the beef enchilada mixture out evenly over the top of the corn tortillas.
After adding the beef mixture to the top of the corn tortillas, sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese over the top of the beef mixture. I used a shredded American/Colby blend cheese but mild or sharp cheddar will work just as well. If you’re wanting to give this Mexican casserole a little extra spice, you could even use shredded pepper jack cheese.
Stacked Beef Enchiladas
After the shredded cheese has been added, add another layer of 5-7 corn tortillas torn in half to cover the cheese. Follow the layer of corn tortillas with the remaining half of the beef mixture.
Stacked Beef Enchiladas Recipe
Once the remaining beef mixture has been added to the Beef Enchilada Casserole, follow that with 1/2 cup of cheese, then another layer of corn tortillas. I think it’s also important to note that you can use either white or yellow corn tortillas for this recipe. I usually prefer using yellow corn tortillas, but I happened to have a big bag of the white corn tortillas on hand when making this, so that’s what we used.
How to bake Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole
Follow the remaining layer of corn tortillas up with the remaining, 1 cup of cheese. Place the Beef Enchilada Casserole in the oven and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes. You just want to bake the Mexican casserole long enough for the cheese to melt since everything else is already cooked.
Optional toppings for Cheesy Beef Enchilada Casserole
Now that the Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole is ready to serve, you can either serve it as-is or top it with a variety of garnishes. I like to add diced tomatoes, sliced green onion, and a dollop of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt or sour cream. Other garnishes could include: diced red onion, jalapeno slices, guacamole, or sliced black olives.
How to store and re-heat Beef Enchilada Casserole
I suggest storing any leftover Beef Enchilada Casserole you have in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. This enchilada casserole makes great leftovers for lunch or dinner another night of the week and can easily be reheated in a convection oven or microwave. You can even freeze portions of the leftover easy enchilada casserole in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Set out in the fridge to thaw and then place in a convection oven to reheat.
Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole
Beef Enchilada Casserole is a layered enchilada casserole recipe that is simple, easy, and delicious for the whole family. Lean ground beef, tomatoes with green chilies, taco seasoning, and a creamy sauce stacked with the corn tortillas and cheese make this Beef Enchilada style casserole perfect for any weeknight meal!
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1/2 packet taco seasoning
- 10.5 oz mild diced tomatoes with green chilies drained
- 1/2 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 10.5 oz Healthy Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
- 2 cups shredded American blend cheese or mild cheddar
- 15-21 white corn tortillas
Preheat oven at 350F.
Brown the ground beef with the taco seasoning and crumble it into small pieces with a spatula or spoon.
If making your own taco seasoning use 1tsp dried minced onion, 1tsp onion powder, 1/2tsp garlic salt, 1/4tsp ground black pepper, 1tsp cumin, 1/2tsp paprika.
Drain all grease from the beef once cooked and then add in the drained can of tomatoes with green chilies, plain, nonfat Greek yogurt, and the cream of chicken soup.
Stir all ingredients together until well combined.
Spray an 8x12 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and tear 5-7 corn tortillas and cover the bottom of the casserole dish with them.
Add in 1/2 of the beef mixture, then top with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
Continue repeating the layers until all ingredients are used, ending with a layer of corn tortillas and then covering them with the remaining shredded cheese.
Place in the oven and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through.
Remove and serve as is or use any desired toppings as a garnish. Enjoy!