Southwest Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

Southwest Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

Southwest Ground Beef Casserole Recipe
nutritional information (per serving)

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nutritional information
Servings: 6 to 8
amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 19g93%
148 mg49%
920 mg40%
dietary fiber 3g10%
total sugar 6g
Vitamin C 56 mg279%
Calcium 413 mg32%
iron 6 mg31%
Potassium 747 mg16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) indicates how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories per day is used for general nutritional advice.

(Nutritional information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Also known as John Wayne casserole, this dish is a delicious mix of ground beef, veggies, pickled jalapeños, and cheese, all layered on a cookie crust. This recipe differs significantly from the original: It eliminates eggs and adds a cookie crust and ground beef, but retains the original Southwestern inspiration by adding pickled jalapeños, tomatoes, and cheese.

Note: This recipe was renamed because the Hollywood actor it was originally named after had publicly expressed racist views that were inconsistent with Dotdash Meredith's values.

“This casserole was a tasty, filling meal for every day. It was easy to assemble and bake and the flavor was excellent. The jalapeno peppers flavored the sour cream, and you can substitute mild peppers if you prefer less heat.” I'll probably fall back on a smaller can of tomatoes when I make them again.” —Diana Rattray

  • cooking spray

  • 1 (16-ounce) can big cookies

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 Pound ground beef, preferably 85% lean

  • 1 (1 ounce) pack taco seasoning

  • 1/3 Cup Water

  • kosher salt, as needed

  • 1 Middle yellow onion, cut

  • 1 Middle Red pepper, cut

  • 1 Middle green paprika, cut

  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 Cup sour cream

  • 8th ounces grated mild cheddar cheese, divided

  • 1 (4 ounce) can shall we say jalapenos

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    The spruce eats / Christine Ma

  2. Place a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 F. Spray a large casserole dish generously with cooking spray.

    The spruce eats / Christine Ma

  3. Place the cookies in a single layer in the baking dish and press together to form a layer of dough.

    The spruce eats / Christine Ma

  4. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

    The spruce eats / Christine Ma

  5. While the cookies are baking, add 1 tablespoon oil to a large heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes.

    The spruce eats / Christine Ma

  6. Drain most of the excess fat from the pan. Add taco seasoning, water, and salt to taste. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the water has evaporated (3 to 4 minutes). Pour into a bowl and set aside.

    The spruce eats / Christine Ma

  7. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. When the oil is simmering, add the onions, peppers, and salt to taste. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.

    The spruce eats / Christine Ma

  8. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are warmed through, about 3 minutes. Put aside.

    The spruce eats / Christine Ma

  9. In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, half the cheddar, and the jalapeños.

    The spruce eats / Christine Ma

  10. Evenly layer the ingredients on the baked cookie crust in this order; Ground beef, onion pepper tomato mixture, sour cream cheddar mixture, then top with the remaining cheese.

    The spruce eats / Christine Ma

  11. For two layers, divide the mixture in half, layer twice as above, leaving the cheese for just the top layer.

    The spruce eats / Christine Ma

  12. Bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese starts to bubble and lightly brown.

    The spruce eats / Christine Ma

  13. Remove from the oven, let rest for 5 minutes and serve.

    The spruce eats / Christine Ma

recipe tip; Go on

This is a great make-ahead casserole that can be frozen fully baked (be sure to use a foil baking pan to ensure safe transfer from the freezer to the oven). Once baked, allow to cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic. Freeze for up to three months. Reheat in a 350 F oven until heated through.

recipe variations

  • For a spicier topping, substitute mayonnaise for 1/2 cup sour cream.
  • Replace the ground beef with ground turkey.
  • Instead of canned tomatoes, place a layer of tomato slices—about 2 to 3 fresh tomatoes—on top of the ground beef layer.

How to store and freeze it

  • Refrigerate the remaining casserole in a covered container within 2 hours of preparation and consume within 3 to 4 days.
  • To freeze, transfer leftovers to a freezer container and label with name and date – freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

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