Mexican Casserole to feed a crowd

The reality of my life is that I OFTEN feed a crowd.  The other reality is that I’m always trying to do it on a budget. This is one of my favorite casseroles, often made ENTIRELY of leftovers. Best of all, it includes all my favorite flavors and foods so it doesn’t seem like either  a casserole OR leftovers.

Bowl of Mexican Casserole

There is one critical piece of information that I want to communicate very clearly: EVERY casserole is different. Not only will your casseroles be different from mine, each one of mine is different from the last. That’s because this isn’t strictly a recipe, see. It’s more of….a method.

Mexican Casserole for a crowd

Find the biggest bowl you have and stir together the appropriate ingredients including leftovers. This week, my Mexican casserole included the following items:

  • 3 quarts spicy pinto beans (yes, I know that the recipe is for black beans, but I used pintos this time)
  • 1 forty-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 16 ounce container of sour cream
  • 3 c. cooked white rice
  • 12 ounces of green salsa
  • 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes with chiles (Rotel is the most common brand for this)
  • 3 c. pico de gallo
  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped finely
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped finely
  • 1 package of 12 small flour tortillas, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 1 c. yogurt
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt to taste

Remember, this is a method, not a recipe. That means that if you don’t have chicken but DO have leftover pork, then use what you have. If you have ground beef, use that! Use whatever cheese is available. Canned cream of chicken soup is delicious in this casserole. Any type of chiles are favorites at my house. Jars of salsa work just fine in place of pico de gallo. Feel free to use brown rice instead of white rice. It all works! And best of all, every casserole will be different and WILL be dinner!

I stirred up everything into a big sloppy mess and started filling casserole dishes.

Mexican casserole ready for the oven

Wait. Let me back up. I did pull out about 2 quarts of the mixture before I added any dairy products or tortillas. To those two quarts of mix, I added corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas and I did NOT add cheese or sour cream. This gave me a pan of gluten-free, dairy-free casserole, which two of our guests needed.

Alas, I did NOT make a 3rd type that was also vegetarian and wouldn’t you know it, I was ASKED for a vegetarian option last night! To accomplish that I could have only added the chopped chicken breast to part of the mixture.

At any rate, I ended up with 3 large 9×13 inch pans of casserole that I put into the 375° oven for 1 hour. I sprinkled a handful of cheese on the cheesy casserole about 5 minutes before I took them all out of the oven.

I served this casserole with sour cream, tortilla chips, and more Pico de Gallo. It was delicious!

mexican casserole in bowl


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