Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mexican Beef Cassserole

Two months ago I spent some time contemplating possible foods to represent Kansas. I now have a few ideas that I can half heartily stand behind, so I'll share those with you now. Remember, I'm just thinking out loud here, so feel free to chime in on the discussion.

Growing up it seemed like casseroles were a permanent fixture on my family's dining room table: Tuna casserole, tator tot casserole, Mexican casserole, green bean casserole, hash brown casserole. Not only were these omnipresent at home, but I found them at family dinners, church suppers, athletic banquets, and community potlucks. The casserole was king.

I think the casserole represents Kansans well. Kansans, like casseroles, are practical. We're no nonsense, meat and potato folk. I find no shame in this; in fact, I'm proud of this, and I nominate the casserole as our state's culinary representative.

It should be noted that most casseroles contain cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup and sometimes both. When we're at Costco, my wife reaches for a case of cream of mushroom soup like it's the Holy Grail. My wife, who is a good cook and a great baker, loves the utilitarian nature of casseroles. Most of the ingredients to prepare a casserole are on hand, and you're guaranteed great leftovers for a few days.

Last week we attended a family reunion, and of course, there were a variety of casseroles on the table, and of course, my wife brought a casseroles. Her recipe for Mexican Beef Casserole comes from a book published in 1973 titled The All Beef Cookbook. My dad, who likes his food straightforward and seasoned with only salt and pepper, raved about this recipe.

Sorry for the absence of photos. Most casseroles aren't very photogenic.

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 8 - 10 corn tortillas or you can use some tortilla chips
  • 2 cans of chopped green chilies.
  • 1 pound grated cheese
  1. Brown ground beef and drain fat.
  2. Add onion and cook until tender.
  3. Add soups and 1/2 soup can of water.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  5. Line bottom of baking dish with 1/2 tortillas or chips.
  6. Cover with 1/2 meat mixture, then 1/2 of the chilies, and 1/2 of the cheese.
  7. Use rest of the tortillas for next layer, then meat, chilies, and cheese.
  8. Bake until hot and bubbling, about 30 - 45 minutes.

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