John Wayne Mexican Casserole … Not Sure What The Duke Would Think, But We Love It!
  • 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!)
  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!
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.
Recipe by gfe--gluten free easily at