This is one of the dishes that I remember very fondly from my childhood. My mom made it several times, which was kind of unusual, since she didn’t repeat dishes very often. Yes, we had our few favorites that we saw on the dinner table several times a year, but for the most part, she was always trying something new.
I asked her about it once, wondering why and how she was always cooking up something different and she just shrugged her shoulders and said, “I just like to eat good food”. And luckily for us, we did, too.
Easiest way to begin this dish is the prep work. Open your cans, shred your cheeses, chop your onions and get your spices lined up. If you look at the recipe, you’ll see that my mom added a few of her own elements to the dish. I’ve made it both ways and trust me, my mom’s version is far superior. Feel free to use whatever meat you like….chicken, ground turkey…but I prefer the ground beef. I just make sure and drain the fat after I brown it and then I dump the soup, enchilada sauce, tomato sauce, paprika and garlic powder in to simmer.
I know that I’ve won the game if I am able to fit all of the sauce mixture in one pan and not spill it all over the stove while stirring. I think that the key ingredient in the sauce is the can of cream of mushroom soup. Sounds super bizarre, but that creaminess cuts the harshness and burning spice of the enchilada sauce while still leaving the spicy flavor.
The key to keeping the tortilla from sticking to the bottom of the pan like glue is putting a thin layer of the sauce first. Just a smidge. Swirl it all around. Nicely done.
I take the 12 count package of corn tortillas and stack them up in a pile, cutting them into four stacks of strips. Taking two of the stacks, cover the bottom of the casserole dish completely.
Cover the first layer of tortillas with half of the sauce. I use specific scientific measures to make sure that I am using exactly 1/2 the amount of sauce. It’s called ‘eyeballing’ and I’m a devout follower.
Sprinkle half of the chopped onion in an even layer over the sauce.
Then half of the olives.
And then do the layers all over again….
And pop it in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until it is all golden on top and bubbly. Like this:
I have to say that above all of its cheesy, meaty, comforting goodness, THE BEST thing about this dish is that it gets better the longer it sits there. It’s the kind of dish that you almost just want to wait until the next day because you know how good it’s going to be. But please don’t wait. It’s too darn good.
This casserole can be assembled ahead of time and put in the fridge for oven time later. Easy to bring to a potluck or party to be heated up there. Also, this freezes beautifully. Just cut it up into individual servings or leave as a whole to be defrosted and heated at another time.
Tortilla (Enchilada) Casserole
- 1 1/2 lbs. ground round
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 2 1/4 c. (18 oz) enchilada sauce
- 1 small can tomato sauce
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 dozen corn tortillas
- 3/4 lbs. cheddar or longhorn cheese (grated)
- 3/4 lbs. jack cheese (grated)
- 1 onion (diced)
- 1 can olives (sliced)
- Brown the meat, add soup, enchilada sauce, tomato sauce, garlic powder and paprika.
- Simmer 10 minutes.
- Cut up tortillas into strips.
- Layer as follows into a glass casserole dish. (9×13) Tortillas, sauce, onions, olives, cheeses. Make another layer and repeat.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, uncovered.
- If made ahead, refrigerate or freeze, then thaw and bake 40-60 minutes..