Nacho Casserole – The Best Football Food

There’s nothing like a big plate of nachos while watching your favorite football team. I know! It’s super early to be thinking about football. I mean the draft is just barely over, so there’s still a few months to go until preseason. But, my team was just awful last year. So, I’m so stinking excited about one of my team’s draft picks for this season, I just can’t wait for the season to start.

Speaking of nachos, do you know what I like the most about nachos? You can load on all of your favorite ingredients. Anything goes. Among other things, I usually use my homemade taco seasoning with ground beef for these nachos (you can find that recipe here) but, there are no rules. You can substitute seasoned beef for seasoned chicken or pork or use barbecue sauce instead. I shared one of my favorite sauces here if you want to check it out.

Do you know what I don’t like about nachos, though? Soggy tortilla chips. They’re the worst. I always make a ton of nachos so there are enough leftovers for lunch the next day, but those pesky soggy chips ruin it for me every time.

Another thing that is almost as bad as soggy chips is when you a get a piping hot plate of nachos and you grab a tortilla and all you get is a plain tortilla with nothing on it. Such a bummer. It’s virtually impossible to get all the toppings on every chip. Until now.

I got tired of soggy and bare tortilla chips. I knew there had to be a way around these tribulations. Since I love a good casserole, I thought “why not make a nacho casserole?”. Well, I made it for family, friends and co-workers and everyone loved it. It is now a regular dinner item and it is standard football fare as well.

It’s a dish that can be easily put together. Sometimes I like to use my fresh homemade salsa instead of sautéed or steamed peppers and onions with tomatoes. But, for the purpose of sharing the easiest nachos ever made, I’ll wait to share the salsa recipe another time. (FYI, it’s an easy salsa recipe too, it just makes this dish a little more time consuming.) The point of this recipe being a quick snack or meal when you don’t want to miss a minute of the game.

My favorite tortilla chips are the kind with the scoop in it. They’re served on the side, so you can just take a chip then dig into the casserole without needing a fork. The best part is, that with every bite, you get a little bit of everything on one tortilla chip. You can’t do that very often with regular nachos.

nacho casserole bite
nacho casserole bite

Nacho Casserole

A quick and easy meal or snack with many variation possibilities.

Course Appetizer, Casserole, Dinner, Lunch, Snack
Keyword Nachos
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 10
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 16 oz cans refried beans
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 large green bell pepper diced
  • 1 medium onion diced & divided
  • 2-3 large tomatoes diced
  • 1 bag your favorite tortilla chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Dice the green bell pepper, onion and tomatoes. Divide the onion - 1/4 cup to add to the ground beef and the remainder for the topping.

  3. In a large skillet over medium/high heat, brown ground beef and add about 1/4 cup of diced onion (if desired). Drain the fat.

    nacho casserole ingredients2
  4. Reduce the heat to medium/low. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning or 2 tbsp of homemade taco seasoning to the ground beef. Thoroughly mix the taco seasoning until the meat is well coated. Add 1/2 cup of water, mix thoroughly and allow to simmer until the sauce has thickened a bit. You can use more or less water depending on how saucy you like the seasoned beef. 

    nacho casserole ingredients
  5. Place the green bell pepper and onion in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with water and microwave (approximately 3 minutes - depending on your microwave) until the vegetables are tender. This step is optional as you can just add the raw vegetables as the topping, but I prefer them cooked a bit. 

    nacho casserole bean layer
  6. Spread the refried beans in the bottom of a large casserole dish.

    nacho casserole bean layer 2
  7. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over the refried beans.

    nacho casserole 1st cheese layer
  8. Spread the seasoned ground beef mixture over the cheese.

    nacho casserole seasoned beef layer
  9. Sprinkle another 1/3 of the cheese over the seasoned ground beef.

    nacho casserole 2nd cheese layer
  10. Drain the liquid from the peppers and onions then spread over the 2nd layer of cheese along with the tomatoes.

    nacho casserole veggie layer
  11. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the vegetables.

    nacho casserole 3rd cheese layer
  12. Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.

    Baked nacho casserole

Recipe Notes

  • If you're feeling adventurous, make some homemade taco seasoning. You can find my recipe here.
nacho casserole serving suggestion 2
nacho casserole serving suggestion

I recently found a pulled pork nacho dish at a little restaurant not too far away from me. I’m looking forward to trying to duplicate that in my restaurant “Challenge“. Don’t forget some other classic toppings of sour cream, salsa, olives, jalapenos and guacamole for added flavor. What are your favorite toppings for nachos? Let me know in the comments below.

Chicken and Stuffing Casserole vs. Thanksgiving Casserole

This recipe is derived from what I call “Thanksgiving Casserole” which is, of course, made up of leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. Friends of my father shared their version of this dish with us at a potluck several years and it was so good, I had to make it at home too. I’ve tinkered around with some variation of it several times now, the only problem is that Thanksgiving only comes but once a year and I’m not really all excited about cooking a big turkey dinner more than once a year, so when mom asked me to make this for her birthday dinner, I had to improvise. Now, I have the Chicken and Stuffing Casserole for anytime of the year and the Thanksgiving Casserole for the leftovers after Thanksgiving.

I think I enjoy the Thanksgiving leftovers more than the actual meal anyway. You know how when you spend all day cooking, the actual dinner may not be very appealing by the time you sit down to eat, but the leftovers are excellent the next day? Then you eat turkey sandwiches for days and get tired of that also. Well, the Thanksgiving casserole is the perfect solution. Simply mix together your turkey, gravy and vegetables, then top with the stuffing, or do you call it dressing? Then bake it in the oven until it’s warmed throughout.

You probably don’t need a recipe for the casserole made with leftovers because your turkey dinner is probably delicious, too. But, if it’s not, stay tuned, I’ll share my family Thanksgiving traditions and recipes in November. In the meantime, here is a dish that is equally as good.

 

Chicken and Stuffing Casserole

A hearty, flavorful casserole that's easier to put together than Thanksgiving dinner, but just as tasty.

Course Casserole, Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 10
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables

Chicken

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts 1 1/2 - 2 lbs
  • 7 cups water
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 4 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 tsp salt optional
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Gravy

  • 4 tsbp butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 3 cups broth reserved from chicken
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sage

Stuffing

  • 2 6 oz boxes Stove Top chicken flavored stuffing
  • 1 lb Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage
  • celery and onions reserved from chicken

Instructions

  1. Dice celery and onion then place in a pot with the chicken breasts and water. Add the bouillon, salt, garlic powder, oregano, and black pepper. Bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.  

    Chicken and stuffing casserole ingredients
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  3. Remove chicken from the pot then set aside to cool. Strain the broth from the onion and celery then set aside. (You'll use some of the broth for the gravy and [optional] some of the broth along with the celery and onions for the stuffing.)

  4. Cook the vegetables according to the package directions. Set aside.

  5. Thoroughly cook the sausage, breaking up into bite size pieces. Set aside.
  6. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. You should get about 3 1/2 - 4 cups of chicken.
  7. In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat then add the flour. Whisk constantly until the mixture is slightly brown. Then gradually add 3 cups of the chicken broth, whisking constantly until the gravy starts a low boil. Continue for approximately 3 minutes or until flour is fully cooked.

  8. Prepare the stuffing according to package directions. (Optional - substitute the water in the directions with some of the leftover broth from the chicken. For example, 2 boxes of Stove Top would need 3 cups of water. You can use 2 cups of broth + 1 cup of water. Just as long as the liquid still equals 3 cups. The broth just adds a little extra flavor. Also, optional, rather than wasting the cooked celery and onions from the chicken broth, consider adding it to the stuffing.) 

    Chicken and stuffing prep 2
  9. Add the sausage to the prepared stuffing.

    Chicken and Stuffing casserole prep
  10. In the bottom of a large casserole dish, mix the chicken, vegetables and gravy. Spread to cover the bottom of the pan.

    Chicken and stuffing prep 3
  11. Add spoonfuls of the stuffing mixture and carefully spread it over the top of the chicken mixture until the entire chicken mixture is covered.

    Chicken and stuffing casserole
  12. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. NOTE: If you're making this ahead of time and it has been refrigerated, you'll need to cover with aluminum foil then bake for 40-45 minutes. If you like the stuffing a little crispy, remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. 

Stuffing or Dressing? What do you call it? Let me know in the comments below.

Buttermilk Ranch Potatoes Au Gratin

It’s Easter time. I love this time of year. The weather is getting warmer and even though it is officially Spring, we still have about 6 inches of snow on the ground. Not to mention piles of immeasurable snow that will probably take until May to melt. But, the days are getting longer. The sun is shining and there are many blessings to celebrate. Which leads me to Easter dinner. This easy Easter side dish, Buttermilk Ranch Potatoes Au Gratin are an excellent companion to your ham or pork roast.

Do you have a big family dinner on Easter? Do you dread when you have to bring a side dish to a family gathering? Well, here is a side dish that will be a star at any dinner gathering, not just on Easter, but anytime of the year. Scalloped or au gratins can tend to be a bit bland, so I like to add some seasonings that add a little zing to the dish. It quickly became a favorite in my household and among friends. This dish goes well in place of mashed potatoes with any meal. It’s easy to prepare and travels well if you need a dish to take with you. It reheats in just a few minutes, so it’s a good choice to make ahead, too.

Buttermilk Ranch Potatoes Au Gratin

This easy to make side dish is easy to take along for a potluck or other gathering. It could serve as a meal by itself. It's full of flavor and the buttermilk and cheese make it extra creamy too.

Course Casserole, Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds potatoes
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chives
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cup cheddar cheese divided

Instructions

  1. Scrub the potatoes. It is not necessary to peel them unless you don't like the peel. 

    Buttermilk Ranch Potatoes Au Gratin ingredients
  2. Slice the potatoes approximately 1/4 inch thick. I prefer using a mandolin over a knife because you get a more uniform thickness. Place the sliced potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Heat over medium/high heat until the water starts to boil. Reduce heat to medium/low and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Drain the water and set aside to cool.
    Buttermilk Ranch Potatoes Au Gratin sliced
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  4. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium/low heat. Add the next 8 ingredients (all the dry ingredients). Stir until the ingredients are well blended and a small ball of dough is formed. Gradually add the buttermilk, stirring constantly. Be careful not to bring the buttermilk to a boil as it could curdle. Heat the mixture over medium/low heat until it is warm enough to melt the cheese. Add two cups of cheese and continue to heat the mixture until the cheese has melted and is well blended. (Reserve the remaining cheese for topping the casserole.)

  5. Grease the bottom and sides of a casserole dish. (This should make a 4 layer casserole, so you may want to roughly divide the potatoes into 4 portions before starting so you don't have a thicker layer at the top.) Start layering the potatoes so that they overlap until the bottom of the dish is completely covered with potatoes. Spoon 1/3 of the cheese sauce over the layer of potatoes and carefully spread the sauce until they are well covered. Next, cover the sauce with another layer of potatoes, then more sauce. After your third layer of sauce, layer the last of the potatoes then sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top. 

    Buttermilk Ranch Potatoes Au Gratin layering
  6. Bake, uncovered, for approximately 30 to 35 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and is starting to brown. 

What are your Easter dinner traditions? Please comment below. I’d love to hear your home cooking experiences.

 

 

 

 

Hamburger Pie Casserole

I know casseroles aren’t a favorite for everyone, but I love them. They are easy to make, limit unnecessary dishes, they can be made ahead of time and are usually large enough to have leftovers for lunch another day. I have a friend who won’t eat any casseroles. He doesn’t like various foods touching each other. So, I guess I won’t invite him over for dinner tonight because this casserole has ground beef, tomato soup, veggies, mashed potatoes and cheese all mingled together in one dish.

This particular casserole is a version of a favorite dish of an ex-boyfriend. I got the recipe from his mother many years ago. He would probably eat this every night if it was offered to him. The relationship didn’t last, but the recipe lives on with some minor adjustments.

One thing you’ll learn about me is there aren’t many things that I won’t put cheese on. I. Love. Cheese. If I could figure out a way to incorporate cheese with my raisin bran in the morning, I would. This is one of those dishes that doesn’t really “need” cheese, but cheese and mashed potatoes go well together, so it seems obvious to include it.

If you like this dish, for a variation, try substituting the ground beef with shredded chicken. Swap the tomato soup with cream of mushroom and exchange the cheddar for Swiss.  It’s just as easy to make and your family won’t be disappointed.

Hamburger Pie Casserole

This casserole is easy to make, but if you're pressed for time, you can use instant mashed potatoes and save some prep time. 

Course Casserole, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 approximately
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 3 cups corn
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 medium potatoes diced
  • 2 10 3/4 oz cans tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 5 oz cheddar cheese shredded or sliced
  • 2 tsp salt divided
  • 1 tsp pepper divided

Instructions

  1. Peel, dice and rinse the potatoes. In a medium pot, cover with cold water and add 1 tsp salt. Cover with a lid and, over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

    Hamburger Pie Casserole Ingredients
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

  3. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat. Drain the fat. Add the diced bell pepper, diced onion, garlic, remaining salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally until onion and bell pepper are tender. Approximately 10 minutes.

  4. Add the corn and tomato soup. Continue simmering and stirring until thoroughly heated.

    Hamburger Pie Casserole filling
  5. Thoroughly drain the liquid from the potatoes. Add the remaining salt and pepper. Add a cold stick of butter to the potatoes and replace the lid on the pot to allow the butter to melt. After the butter has melted, gradually add a little milk at a time. Depending on the density of the potatoes and the desired texture of the potatoes, you may not need the full 1/2 cup of milk or you may need a little more. Mash until no lumps are visible or use a hand mixer to whip the potatoes until they are light and fluffy.
  6. Spoon the ground beef mixture into a casserole dish. Drop spoonfuls of mashed potatoes around the casserole and carefully spread the potatoes without pushing them down into the ground beef mixture. Once you have spread all the mashed potatoes, top the casserole with cheese and bake for approximately 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

    Hamburger Pie casserole assembly
  7. If you're making this casserole ahead of time, don't top with cheese until the casserole is almost done baking. You'll want to bake the casserole, covered with aluminum foil, for approximately 45 minutes. You can remove the foil and add the cheese during the last 10 minutes of baking. 

What is your opinion on casseroles? Is a meal untouchable if the foods are touching? Let me know in the comments below.