John Wayne Mexican Casserole … Not Sure What The Duke Would Think, But We Love It!

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John Wayne Mexican Casserole … Ready to Eat

Mr. GFE and I both enjoy a good casserole and he is a huge fan of John Wayne. So when I saw John Wayne Casserole in a listing on All Free Casseroles Recipes, I had to take a look. The description began:  “Here’s a Mexican casserole recipe that every cowboy will love, including the Duke himself.” Once I clicked on the link to see the recipe, I determined that All Free Casserole Recipes had come up with the John Wayne casserole name. The original recipe was actually called My Mom’s Mexican Casserole. I am pretty sure that the casserole recipe got a lot more views by affixing John Wayne’s name to it though!

To be honest, when I think of John Wayne, I think of hearty “manly” meals that don’t usually involve Mexican food, but the casserole looked really good. Still, I decided to give the recipe a go, creating my own simpler version—a gfe version made with simple pantry ingredients. So I skipped the canned Ranch style beans and opted for plain pinto beans. I omitted the cream of chicken soup. (Although Pacific Foods makes gluten-free cream of chicken soup and there are lots of homemade gluten-free versions of “cream of” soups, again, I wanted to keep things simple and use what I already had in my pantry.) I omitted the packaged taco seasoning mix (although there are plenty of gluten-free options, like this one), but I decided that I would salsa as my liquid, binder, and main flavoring in the recipe instead of as an optional ingredient and, therefore, I knew the taco seasoning would not be needed. (By the way, when I do need taco seasoning, I rely on a simple “make-as-needed” combination of chili powder, cumin, and garlic that I got from this cookbook years ago.) I knew the salsa would do the job I wanted, because my Enchilada Casserole includes salsa for the very same reason and it’s delicious.

This dish is a perfect one-pot meal—my personal fave! My aunt and I enjoyed it for lunch when she was visiting. Mr. GFE and I enjoyed it for dinner two nights. And I ate if for breakfast and/or lunch a few days. It was good every time! Enjoy!

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John Wayne Mexican Casserole … Cover the Tortilla Chip Edges if You Want them Soft

John Wayne Mexican Casserole … Not Sure What The Duke Would Think, But We Love It!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (or turkey; I used ground venison), cooked and drained
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • Most of a 10-12 ounce bag tortilla chips, mostly crushed (about 3½ cups or so, if you wish to measure; see notes)
  • 1 can Ro-tel tomatoes, 10 ounces, drained (I used the one that included green chilies)
  • 2 cups of salsa (I used ready-made medium-flavored salsa, but homemade salsa would be great)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • sour cream for serving (optional; we didn’t use sour cream)
  • guacamole for serving (optional; I would have used it if I had had some!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large skillet, brown meat with onions and drain off fat.
  3. Stir in beans, tomatoes, and salsa.
  4. Simmer over medium-low (or heat on medium heat stirring constantly) until everything is well combined and heated through. There will be some extra liquid; do not drain/discard. (The extra liquid will be absorbed by the tortilla chips and will soften them nicely.)
  5. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish.
  6. Put down a layer of crushed tortilla chips, followed by a layer of the meat/bean mixture (use half of the amount), then a layer of cheddar cheese (use half of the amount). Add one more layer of remaining ingredients.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until bubbly.
  8. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  9. Top with sour cream and/or guacamole, if desired. Enjoy!
Notes
For the crushed chips, I just grabbed a mostly full, already opened bag of tortilla chips that was clipped shut and used my hands to crush the chips (most of them anyway) while they were still in the bag. That was an easy way to do it. You want a mixture of larger pieces and smaller pieces, so don’t go too crazy with your crushing. You really don’t want them pulverized.

When you add the meat/bean mixture over the tortilla chip layer, be sure to cover the chips all the way to the edges if you want them soft rather than crispy. Either way works fine, but I preferred the softer version, although the crispier version is shown here.
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John Wayne Mexican Casserole … Perfect for My Aunt and I for Lunch

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, and Gluten-Free Fridays.

Shirley
Not just gf, but gfe!

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Comments

15 Responses to “John Wayne Mexican Casserole … Not Sure What The Duke Would Think, But We Love It!”

  1. Ina gawne on December 8th, 2013 1:24 pm

    Shirley – sounds scrumptious – perfect comfort food. We love a great casserole in this household too – so this is a nice addition to the ones we usually have – thanks for sharing! :)

    • Shirley on December 14th, 2013 1:42 am

      Thanks, Ina. I confess that I love comfort food. :-) Enjoy!

      Shirley

  2. Diane Eblin on December 8th, 2013 7:45 pm

    Perfect for a party! I think the Duke would have loved this.

    • Shirley on December 14th, 2013 1:43 am

      Diane–This dish could even “compete” a bit with one of your dishes that you say is not spicy, but that really is spicy. ;-) Thanks!

      Shirley

  3. Linda on December 10th, 2013 11:12 am

    Looks delicious, Shirley! We love this kind of casserole.

    • Shirley on December 14th, 2013 1:44 am

      Thanks so much, Linda! These types of dishes always work well for us, too, and I love that they give me a breakfast/lunch option if needed.

      Shirley

  4. Pat @ Elegantly, Gluten-Free on December 12th, 2013 10:00 pm

    This looks so good — most of the people I cook for would like it!

    • Shirley on December 14th, 2013 1:45 am

      Hi Pat–Thank you! Hope you all enjoy it! :-)
      Shirley

  5. Kate @ Eat, Recycle, Repeat on December 17th, 2013 8:56 pm

    Love this style and love the Duke too! Reminds me of my Mom and Grandpa

    • Shirley on March 20th, 2014 11:45 pm

      Not sure how I missed this comment from long ago, Kate! I love that this recipe reminds you of your loved ones. :-)

      Shirley

  6. Kathleen on March 20th, 2014 3:34 pm

    Shirley, this looks great and easy. I’ll make it next Tues., when I have the 2 grand-kids for the day. Their parents join us for dinner when they come to pick up the kids. Sure need something easy on those fun but busy days. I am dairy free, too, and have a block of the Daiya cheddar to try for my portion. I’ll let you know how it turns out dairy-free.

    • Shirley on March 20th, 2014 11:44 pm

      Hi Kathleen–I hope you all love it! :-)

      Shirley

  7. Elizabeth on March 20th, 2014 8:56 pm

    SOOOO tasty! Used lentils instead of beans and a mixture of hard, shredded cheeses. My girls gobbled it up! Thanks so much!

    • Shirley on March 20th, 2014 11:18 pm

      Hi Elizabeth–Yay!! Thanks so much for sharing your feedback. I’m so happy a lentil version was a hit with your family. :-)

      Shirley

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