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A casserole is really the homemade version of fast food. The dish can be made ahead and baked before dinner. And if the dish is large enough, there will be leftovers for many meals after. I love a good casserole and this taco squares casserole was always a favorite growing up. In all honesty, this is just like ground meat tacos layered into a lasagna. All that’s needed is the taco toppings (sour cream, salsa, lettuce) and this becomes a meal that can be completely personalized.
- Ground beef is the main ingredient and flavor for this casserole. Because of this fact, make sure to chose a high-quality, grass-fed meat, which contains more vitamins than grain-fed. Additionally, I opt for 85% lean beef.
- Onion is cooked with the beef to flavor the meat. Instead of sautéing the onion seperately from the meat, cooking them together marries all the flavors.
- Chili powder helps provide the iconic taco-style flavor that’s so important in this recipe. Purchased chili powders often contain a mix of paprika, cumin, oregano, onion, and garlic, which creates such a good balance.
- Cumin is added in addition to the chili powder to give an even greater depth of flavor. Plus, it’s quite impactful.
- Oregano also helps boost the flavor in the chili powder and make it more prominent. Try looking for Mexican oregano.
- Diced tomatoes give a cohesion to the meat. The tomatoes cook with the spices and meat to create something resembling a sauce. This helps the casserole have the ability to hold together when sliced.
- Flour sprinkled over the meat mixture and cooked slightly ensures the casserole will not be soupy. A little bit goes a long way.
- Corn tortillas is the necessary ingredient that truly makes this a taco. The tortillas act as the “noodles,” creating layers in the casserole. To give them a little more flavor and texture, char them slightly, if you have a gas range.
From the ingredients, you can see that this will have a nostalgic flavor and be absolutely delicious, as so many classic recipes are. The best part is that even if you’re not someone who plans ahead, this goes together quickly, making for a meal in an hour!
Watch how to make this taco squares casserole
Taco Squares Casserole
- 2 lb beef
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp oregano
- ¾ tsp garlic powder
- 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp flour
- 12 corn tortillas
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
- Add the ground beef to a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Break into small pieces, then add the onion and salt. Cook until the meat is browned and the onion is soft, 8-10 minutes.2 lb beef, 1 yellow onion, 1 ½ tsp salt
- Once the meat is cooked, with the skillet still over medium heat add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and oregano. Stir and cook for 1 minute and add the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes on low. After 5 minutes, sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.1 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp oregano, ¾ tsp garlic powder, 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, 1 tbsp flour
- If a gas stove is available, char the tortillas. Turn a burner on low and set a tortilla on for 30 seconds until slightly blackened. Then flip, repeat, and then remove from the flame. Charing is simply an optional step. If not available, move on to the assembly.
- In the prepared baking dish, add ½ cup of the meat mixture and spread it over the dish. Add 6 tortilla shells, slightly overlapping and covering the bottom of the baking dish. Add half of the meat mixture and spread evenly. Then sprinkle with half of the shredded cheese. Repeat one time with the remaining tortilla shells, meat mixture, and cheese. At this point, the casserole can be covered with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for one day before baking.12 corn tortillas, 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Bake in the preheated oven until warmed through, 30-40 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven, cut into squares, and serve with favorite taco toppings!