Mexican food is a favorite in our house, and this Cheesy Quesadilla Casserole recipe is always a home run. I like how quickly it comes together, and how fast the baking time in the oven is. It’s one of those recipes that doesn’t demand your full attention, but still turns out delicious every time. I also like that we usually have all of these ingredients on hand. We keep ground beef in the freezer and all the other ingredients in the pantry to throw together easy recipes like this on weeknights.
I like to use corn tortillas in this recipe. I find that flour tortillas often end up soggy in enchiladas or casseroles. Corn tortillas usually hold up much better. And I just prefer the taste! When I have extra time, I will toast the tortillas individually for a few seconds on each side before I use them, but that step is by no means necessary. Whatever your preferred tortilla, don’t worry too much about making your tortilla layers perfect. This recipe is meant to be quick and easy and it really doesn’t matter in the end how perfectly you make each layer.
Cheese is really the star of this recipe. I like to keep a bag of pre-shredded Mexican cheese blend on hand for this one, although I have also used Monterrey Jack, medium Cheddar, or mozzarella with great results. And any combination of those cheeses would also be good. The key is to get a really gooey, melty cheese for the top layer, but if you wanted to experiment putting something more flavorful in the lower layer, cotija would probably be brilliant.
The recipe calls for ground beef, but I have substituted it with ground chicken (with some added vegetable oil to fry it) with very good results. Ground turkey would also work with added oil like the chicken, and I’m sure ground pork would be also delicious.
I love the seasoning mix in this recipe, but when I’m pressed for time I sometimes just grab two packets of pre-made taco seasoning and use them in place of the herbs and seasonings listed. The flavor works and it speeds up my recipe prep time. I also like to add some tabasco to spice things up. You may like things hotter than I do, or you may like them milder, so tune this recipe to your favorite spice level by adding more or less hot sauce as you wish.