Recipe: Taco Casserole, a Winner Dinner

Recipe by Lindsey Chester. Photo by J. Pellgen.

Cary, NC- If you’re like me, you are always on the hunt for a dinner that everyone in your household will eat, is easy to prepare, and can be easy on the wallet. This is especially true during the holidays. My Taco Casserole is one of those winner dinners. 

Everyone likes tacos and this recipe is a whole lot less messy to eat! You can feed a family of 6 for under $10. Its hearty and filling and even my pickiest eater finished her plate last night.


  • 2 C tortilla chips coarsely crushed (about half a bag- you can snack while you cook too)
  • 1-1/2 lb ground beef (I look for at least 90% lean)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (or about 1/2 a jar)
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 can of refried beans (I use low-fat)
  • 1 envelop Taco seasoning
  • 1 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or be more generous!)
  • (optional) half a jar of your favorite salsa- gives you a kick!

To make:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place half of chips in ungreased casserole dish, set aside.
  3. Brown the ground beef in a skillet until cooked through and no longer pink, breaking up. Drain all fat.
  4. Add the tomato sauce, (and salsa), taco seasoning, and  water. Bring to boil, cook and stir constantly for about 3 minutes, until sauce has thickened up.
  5. Spoon half of can of beans on top of chips.
  6. Layer half of beef mixture over beans and chips.
  7. Sprinkle half of cheese over top.
  8. Repeat.
  9. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes until heated through and cheese has melted.
  10. Serve immediately. Serves 6 (or four if you have teenagers).

You can try your own variations. Change the cheese, use ground turkey for a really low- fat version. Some people call this Taco Pie, Mexican Lasagna, or Southwest Beef pie. I call it delicious and you will too!

And it costs about $1.50 a serving!