About twenty years ago, my Mema somehow acquired this Enchilada Casserole recipe. She cooked it and we liked it. I mean, we really liked it and she really liked to cook it. For a few years there, she was never without the ingredients and could whip this up quickly and almost magically if you walked in unexpectantly after church or a long day at work. Mema is 86-years-old now and doesn't cook as much as she used to. My cousins and I have grown up and have our own families now. But, many of us, including my brother, have cooked this casserole. And, I think I can speak for all of us when I say we always think of Mema when we cook it. I hope you'll try it and enjoy!
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1-10 oz. can enchilada sauce
1-10 3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup
1-8 oz. jar taco sauce
1-12 oz. bag nacho cheese-flavored Doritos, crushed
Shredded cheese, optional
Chopped cilantro, optional
Brown beef, adding onion, garlic, seasoning salt, and garlic salt. Drain well and return to skillet. Add the enchilada sauce, cream of chicken soup, and taco sauce. Stir well and bring to a simmer on medium low heat. Once the mixture has heated through, crush 1/3 of the chips and spread on the bottom of a greased casserole dish. Add one half of the beef mixture. Add another 1/3 of the crushed chips on top of the beef mixture. Add the remaining beef mixture and top with remaining chips. Bake at 350 degrees until heated through, about 30 minutes. Add cheese, if desired in the last few minutes of cooking.
Now, Mema did not use garlic, onions, or the seasonings, but I took the liberty to add them. I like how the onions stretch the meat. Plus, I just love onions and garlic and add them to everything I can think of. You could, of course, leave them out completely.
Here are the sauce ingredients. Old El Paso's mild products are pretty mild and that's how I like it. So, if you like a little more heat, go with medium or even hot if you like to live on the wild side.
Here are the Nacho Cheese Doritos - red bag!
Cook the ground beef with the garlic, onions, and seasonings. Drain well and return to skillet.
Add the enchilada sauce.
Add the cream of chicken soup.
Finally, add the taco sauce and stir well until blended.
The sauce will take on a creamy orange color. I added some chopped cilantro at this point. Of course, Mema has never used cilantro in hers and it's not necessary unless you like it. I brought the mixture up to a simmer until all of the sauce was heated through and coming to a slight boil.
I think crushing the chips in a gallon-sized zipper bag is the easiest and cleanest way to go. I just crushed a little at a time.
Start the layering process with the crushed chips.
Add the beef mixture. Repeat with a layer of crushed chips and a layer of beef. Then, add a final layer of chips.
I have to confess. I am not a cheese lover and hardly ever cook with it at all. I sprinkled some on top before putting in the oven. I have since learned that I needed to wait until the casserole was almost done then sprinkle on the cheese at the last minute. The cheese got a little crispy and I had to add a little more at the end. So, don't be like me. Cook at 350 degrees until bubbly, about 30 minutes.