I love Beef Enchilada Casserole! It’s a super simple meal with lots of yummy layers topped with cheese. Serve with refried beans on the side with chopped lettuce and tomatoes, with a few black olives and it’s every bit as good as any restaurant meal. Guaranteed! It’s one of my favorite Quick & Easy casseroles to put together, and I almost always have the ingredients on hand. Except when I don’t…
Yes, I know….I could have fixed something else, but I didn’t want to. This particular meal has been on my mind for a couple of weeks. Even without having all of the ingredients and having to make a couple of substitutions, I was able to put dinner on the table quickly . . . the Haphazard Way. You could even skip the ground beef or chicken and add more beans, if you want a meatless meal.
(Printable recipe card without substitutions is at bottom of page)
So here’s what happened….
Earlier in the day, I gathered cooked ground beef, pizza sauce and flour tortillas out of the freezer so they could thaw. I also grabbed a package of cooked pinto beans to make refried beans.
Related: How to Meal-Prep #10 of Ground Beef
When the sauce was thawed, I magically transformed the pizza sauce (aka: spaghetti sauce) to enchilada sauce. I stirred in a teaspoon of cumin and a tiny little bit of chili powder. Adjust the amounts per your taste.
Related: Slow Cooker Freezer Spaghetti Sauce
When you are ready to put the casserole together, you will also need chopped onion and shredded cheese.
Easy Homemade Refried Beans
I sautéed a couple of teaspoons of minced garlic and a bit more than 1/4 cup of chopped onion in a couple of tablespoons of oil for a few minutes. I used olive oil, but you could use vegetable oil.
Stir in the beans and let simmer about 5 minutes and then lightly mash the beans with the spatula. Stir in a little water, if you like your refried beans thinner.
Layering the Beef Enchilada Casserole
Note: Line your pan with foil for easy clean-up.
Start by putting about 1 tablespoon of sauce in the bottom of the pan and spreading to cover the bottom. This helps to keep the bottom tortilla from sticking to the pan.
Layer in the following order:
- 1 tortilla
- 1/4 cup sauce, spread as evenly as possible
- 1/3 of the meat, sprinkled evenly
- 1/4 cup black beans (I didn’t have black beans, and I had already mashed the pinto beans, so I used little dollops of refried beans)
- 1/3 of the chopped onions (more or less to taste)
- 1/4 of the shredded cheese (again, more or less to taste)
Repeat the layers 2 more times.
Top with the last tortilla and cover with the remaining sauce. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375° for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil, and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake for another 5 – 10 minutes uncovered until the cheese is melted.
Serve with lettuce, tomato and black olives.
(Oops! Forgot to put the refried beans on the plate for the picture!)
This recipe can easily be doubled to make a large casserole in a 9″ x 13″ pan or make two small ones and freeze one for later.
The Verdict on Taste?
It ended up tasting more like a taco casserole, but equally good. I would intentionally make it again.
Let me know what you think!
Update: To save time, check out this recipe for ready-made Slow Cooker Refried Beans from your freezer.