Quesadilla Casserole

So, every now and then Fred and I visit what we call “the cheap store.” It’s a store – of mostly groceries, though they do have shampoo and over the counter medicine, and I think they even have carpet in the back of the store (where we never go). A lot of the stuff they carry is close to its expiration date or the box is dented or the product is discontinued. We like to wander around the store and pick up a few boxes of cereal. I’ve found boxes of Panko bread crumbs there, and I usually buy all the boxes they have, because I like the Panko bread crumbs, and it’s a lot cheaper there than in the grocery store. (I know, I know, even cheaper would be making them myself, but I cannot be bothered.)

A couple of weekends ago we were in the store and Fred was looking at the cereal (he ended up buying cereal that had some incredible amount of fiber in it. The man loves his fiber.) and I was looking at the spices and such, and I spotted a rack of McCormick Recipe Inspirations packs. If you’ve never seen or heard of those, they’re these little packs with premeasured amounts of certain spices and the recipe on the back. Basically you buy it for the recipe and so that you won’t have to measure out spices, they’re already there for you in the premeasured pack.

It’s for the lazy among us. Though I guess for the TRULY lazy among us, it would have come with someone who’d throw the meal together for you. This was 99 cents. I pointed out the Quesadilla Casserole set to Fred and since he’s a big fan of anything Mexican, he told me I should get it.

The good part was that if we liked the meal, the spice measurements were on the back of the package, so I wouldn’t have to buy a whole new package or anything.



Ground beef, onion, tomato sauce, black beans, corn, chopped green chilies, flour tortillas, and cheddar. For spices: chili powder, ground cumin (which I dislike, so I tossed it in the trash), mince garlic, oregano leaves, and crushed red pepper.

Chop your onion and add it to your preheated skillet along with the ground beef. Stir it around, chop up the ground beef with your spatula, stare down at the browning meat and get annoyed at how long it’s taking. God, browning meat is BO-RING. Thank god for podcasts, otherwise I’d die from the boredom.

Once the ground beef is browned, drain it, and throw it back in the pan. Add tomato sauce, beans, corn and green chilies, mix well. Add all the spices except the red pepper.

Bring it a boil, then turn it on low and simmer for five minutes (for god’s sake, set the timer. You know how you like to go wandering off and forget about this stuff.) Add the red pepper if you want; if you’re not a red pepper kinda person, toss that in the trash, I won’t tell.

Spread 1/2 cup of the beef mixture on the bottom of a 13x9x2 baking dish which you have already sprayed with Pam or discount Pam or whatever cooking spray makes you happy.

Top the beef stuff with 3 of the tortillas, overlapping as needed, is what the recipe says. I prefer to cut my tortillas into smaller pieces so that I can just kind of sprinkle them across the baking pan. That’s just the kind of party gal I am.


Layer with 1/2 of the remaining beef mixture and 1/2 of the cheese. Repeat with remaining tortillas, beef mixture, and cheese.

(Ignore that jar of peanut butter. It lives on the counter for emergency situations and likes to supervise when I’m cooking something that’s not peanut butter-based.)


Bake in a 350F oven for 15 minutes, or until heated through. Let it stand for five minutes before serving. Take a horrific picture of it that will never convince anyone that they want to eat it. Post about it on the internet.

I swear to god, I’m going to just start posting kitten pictures instead of pictures of the final product. Doesn’t this look disgusting? It was good, though, I swear it was. Anything with ground beef, corn, tortillas and beans in it can’t be bad. It’s the law.

Fred liked it, I liked it, it was easy enough to make, it’s going into regular rotation!


Quesadilla Casserole
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
: entree, main
Serves: 8
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ c. chopped onion (I used one whole onion; we love onion)
  • 2 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
  • 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8¾ oz can whole kernel corn, undrained (wtf? I used 2 c. frozen corn.)
  • 1 can (4½ oz) chopped green chilies, undrained
  • 6 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 2 c. shredded cheddar
  • Spices:
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (bleh, I left this out)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp oregano leaves
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Spray a 9x13x2 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Brown beef and onion in large skillet on med-high heat. Drain.
  3. Add tomato sauce, beans, corn and green chilies; mix well. Stir in all of the spices except red pepper.
  4. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes. Add red pepper, if using.
  5. Spread ½ c. of the beef mixture on the bottom of your baking dish. Top with 3 of the tortillas, overlapping as necessary (I cut mine into smaller pieces to make it easier to deal with them).
  6. Layer with ½ of the remaining beef mixture and ½ of the cheese. Repeat with remaining tortillas, beef mixture, and cheese.
  7. Bake 15 minutes or until heated through. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.



Quesadilla Casserole — 19 Comments

  1. Actually those spice packs are good for people who don’t cook very often and only have very very old spices in the cabinet :).

    • I’m not even going to discuss the very, very old spices that some people cough:me:cough have in their cupboards. But I can tell you that I just use more of the “older” ones and it works out fine. For the most part. And I bet there are a shit-ton more people than me who have them too. Cloves are cloves, right? Even if the little McCormick can is rusty and stuff. I prefer to call them “aged” 🙂

  2. I’ve become so conditioned to listening to podcasts when I cook and clean that when Marc Maron or Keith and the Girl go on vacation my house stays a mess for a week!

    • OMG, so I’m not the only one! I can’t get anything done without a podcast going in my ear (try Smodcast, it takes a minute to get used to but its also entertaining) and this is why I get incredibly rude with the people around me. They do not respect the iPod and every single time I am interrupted about something stupid, I get more and more rude. It’s a vicious cycle and I’ve gotten to the point where now I have to announce, “I am going to be putting my iPod in, DO NOT SPEAK TO ME!”

      I wish I was lying about that. 🙁

      • Apparently, KATG’s computer messed up and didn’t record yesterday’s show. Guess I won’t be doing dishes today!

      • Posted 3/9/12 – 10:08 am. @KeithMalley – We have yesterday’s show thanks to Dan Lawrence!

        Get those dishes done!

  3. I am definitely making this one. I never thought to do it like a lasagna (because I am brain-dead) and I avoid making them because it’s such a hassle to do individual ones. Now I’m good to go – W0oT!

  4. I made this with some modifications. Instead of tomato sauce I used taco sauce and I didn’t have chili powder, so I used a pack of taco seasoning. It was pretty easy to make and once it came out of the oven I garnished it with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and a dollop of sour cream.

    My son and husband loved it alot. I don’t think there was any left. Thanks for the awesome recipe.

  5. If you take that basic beef/onion/black beans/corn base, and add a couple of cans of low-sodium broth (or even water) and throw in a cup or so of instant brown rice, you will have an amazing taco soup. Simmer for a few minutes, serve with sour cream, a sprinkle of cheese on top, and tortilla chips. Very easy. This is in our regular rotation. Sometimes with beef, sometimes with chopped leftover chicken.

    • Someone in this house (who is not me) doesn’t like soup (I’m pretty sure that dislike of soup is unAmerican), but I’m always on the lookout for something I can have during the week for lunch; this sounds good!

  6. Pingback: Just another WordPress site: An acidic and hostile place, since 1999 » 3/9/12 – Friday

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