"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
April 29, 2014
Tex-Mex Enchilada Casserole
by Melanie Gunnell

Before we even get started, let me just say that I know many of you (don’t look away, I’m talking to YOU!) are going to dismiss this recipe because of the ingredient list. And while I admit, it’s on the long side, I have to implore you to dig deep within your cooking soul and trust me when I say that it looks worse than it really is. Promise.

With absolutely no exaggeration in my words, this Mexican-inspired meal is hands down the best Mexican/Tex-Mex style recipe I have ever posted. I’m not kidding. I make a decent amount of Mexican food but am usually left a bit underwhelmed and 90% of the recipes never get posted because I really, really only want to put the best of the best out here for you to try.

This enchilada casserole is truly the best of the best. It is mild in spiciness (you could definitely heat it up more if you like) but has tremendous flavor from the classic cumin/chili powder/coriander trio and the myriad of peppers, onion and garlic.

Quickly browning the corn tortillas before assembling is brilliant because while they soften a bit during baking, they keep a tasty amount of tenderness and bite, which keeps the casserole from becoming a soggy, mushy mess. And I don’t know about you but I firmly believe that soggy, mushy casseroles do not belong on the planet.

I have my share of food cravings; Mexican-inspired dishes are rarely, rarely among them. Until now. I literally have wanted to make this casserole every day since we first had it. The leftovers are fantastical and I already have the real deal on our menu plan for next week because it is just that good. I mean, just look at it. Doesn’t it scream “eat me up” with all that cheesy, saucy, black bean goodness? In the words of others far more eloquent than I: Holy Yum.

Tex-Mex Enchilada Casserole
Yield: Serves 6-8

Don't let the poblano chile scare you! If I can find it in my small-town grocery store, you can find it, too. Poblanos are fairly mild and longer and more slender than a bell pepper. Just do it. You'll be happy at the flavor it imparts.

Oh, and also? Don't be turned off by the long list of ingredients. This comes together quickly and perfectly. By the way, I have not tried freezing this ahead of time, but I think it would probably fare pretty well as a freezer meal.

Also (and I promise this is the last thing), it stands a good chance of being spectacular as a meatless dish if you omit the ground meat (or conversely, subbing in cooked chicken for the meat).


  • 14 corn tortillas cut into thirds

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or lean ground turkey

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1 medium red or green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced

  • 1 large poblano chile, diced

  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons chile powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

  • 8 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded

  • Chopped cilantro for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9X13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.

  2. Arrange the cut tortillas in a single layer on two large, rimmed baking sheets. Bake the tortillas until slightly crisp, about 15 minutes.

  3. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef or turkey with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, breaking the meat up into bite-sized pieces. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, 5-7 minutes. Scrape the meat onto a plate and wipe the skillet clean (you may need to drain off excess grease from the meat, depending on the fat content).

  4. In the same skillet over medium heat, add the butter and olive oil and stir in the onion, bell pepper, poblano, corn and garlic. Cook until the veggies are softened, 3-4 minutes. Stir the flour, chile powder, cumin and coriander into the vegetable mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until thick, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in the beans, lime juice and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Line the bottom of the greased baking pan with 1/3 of the baked tortillas. Layer with 1/3 of the meat and then 1/3 of the veggie/sauce mixture and then sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheeses. Repeat that process again twice more ending with the cheeses.

  6. Bake the casserole until hot and bubbly, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes or so before serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Recipe Source: adapted from Cuisine at Home October 2012 (cut out significant amount of butter/oil, changed the meat mixture and a few other spices and added cilantro)

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About Melanie Gunnell

Melanie Gunnell is a food-loving, chocolate-obsessed mom who has a desperate need to share her favorite tried-and-true recipes with the world. In a past life she graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in public health, but for the past ten years, stay-at-home motherhood has been her job along with blogging-from-home for the past five.

She resides in the brilliantly cold tundra of Northern Minnesota with her husband and their brood of five children: four boys and one tiny, bossy girl. Dark chocolate (particularly the act of shoving chocolate chips in her mouth whilst hiding in the pantry) is her coping skill of choice for both the never-ending winters and the never-ending wrestling matches in her front room.


Calling(s): Primary pianist, CTR 6/7 Primary teacher, Activity Day leader

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