Oh, you will LOVE this scrumptious Tex-Mex casserole! It has a tasty ground beef filling with stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce and diced green chilies and seasoned with taco seasoning. The beef mixture is layered between four layers of flour tortillas and cheddar cheese and one layer with beef, tortillas, and sour cream. It is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! It is like a Mexican Lasagna except it uses flour tortillas instead of noodles to separate the layers. Yum, yum, delicious! It is similar to my Taco Lasagna recipe except that recipe has three kinds of beans including refried beans and bell peppers which give it a totally different taste than Tijuana Torte. On top of that, Tijuana Torte is not too terribly difficult to assemble nor is it super expensive to make. So it’s a great dish to make when company is coming for dinner!
When we left New England in 1996 for life in the big state of Texas, one of our dearest friends made this casserole for us the day before we were leaving. She knew we would be so busy with packing and getting last minute errands tied up that preparing a decent meal was the last things on our minds. I knew I would love the casserole before I even tasted a bite of it and made her give me the recipe on the spot! I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve made Lynn Buckley’s delicious Tijuana Torte lots of times over the years–especially for guests because the casserole stretches a long way and because everyone always loves it!
We met Lynn and her husband, Ken, at church when we attended one in Hopedale, Massachusetts together. They were native Texans so they were always making lots of delicious Tex-Mex dishes for the many potluck fellowships, get-togethers and events we had. You could easily say that the Buckleys were one of the four Texas families in our New England church that introduced us to spicy Tex-Mex foods and I’m SO glad they did. Ken and Lynn have returned to Texas once again and they both work at Baylor University now. We met up with them a couple of times last year, and it was like the relationship never stopped in 1996 when we moved away from New England. We picked up where we left off and had a wonderful time catching up on kids, grandkids, careers, churches we were attending, and other fun stuff.
I love Tex-Mex food now, but that hasn’t always been the case. I grew up with a mom who was a plain cook because my dad was a very picky and finicky eater. He only ate certain dishes–mostly meat and potatoes. For that reason, I only had spaghetti one time before leaving home at 17 to go to work (after graduating)–and that was because my dad was out of town at the time. I never sampled Chinese or Asian, Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, French, German or any other kind of food until after I left home! Thankfully, my palate has expanded considerably since those days, and the older I get and the more I eat spicy foods, the more I acquire a taste for them and enjoy them.
I think you will really LOVE Tijuana Torte, and so will your kids! This is not an overly spicy recipe, so if you need more spice than by all means amp up on the spices, but we’ve always enjoyed it just the way it is. While the recipe does involve layering and a little bit of work making the sauce (about 15 minutes), it’s really not too difficult to make this sumptuous Tex-Mex dish. If you’re looking for fun recipes that your whole family will enjoy, then go to the store and get the groceries and try out this recipe on them soon. You won’t be sorry, and if you delay, once you finally make this recipe you will be sorry you didn’t make it sooner! Enjoy the recipe.
Tijuana Torte is one of the most scrumptious Tex-Mex casseroles you’ll ever eat!
Here’s what the casserole looks like when it comes out of the oven.
I love all the cheese and beef mixture oozing out between the layers of tortillas.
Don’t you just want to drool over these pictures?
Each bite of Tijuana Torte is mouthwatering!
Here’s a look at the inside of the casserole so you can see the texture of this amazing Tex-Mex dish.
I had so many other side dishes for our company to eat that they could only eat one large serving of each, but they each wanted more! (I gladly sent them home with a care package!)
Here’s a close up so you can see the cheese melted over the tortillas and beef mixture.
Here’s what I did.
In a large cast-iron skillet, brown the ground beef.
Add the diced onions.
Cook until beef is cooked. Drain if you need to. Mine was a 93% lean beef so there wasn’t much to drain.
Add stewed tomatoes. One of my cans was a Mexican stewed tomatoes because I was trying to use up what I had in my pantry. But normally I use two regular cans of stewed tomatoes.
Add tomato sauce.
Add diced green chilies.
Add taco seasoning mix or make your own Homemade Taco Seasoning.
Stir to combine and heat through about five minutes.
Spray a 10×14″ glass baking dish with cooking spray. Spread about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the casserole to prevent the tortillas from sticking.
Spread a layer of tortillas over top. I used 3 or 4 tortillas for each layer and cut some of the tortillas in half wedging them into the layers to fit and cover well.
Spread a little of the beef mixture over top of the tortillas. Use about 1/5 of the meat mixture for each layer.
Sprinkle with a cup of cheddar cheese.
Layer with tortillas. Notice, this time I used an extra half tortilla.
Add some more of the beef mixture.
Add another cup of cheddar cheese over top.
Layer with another layer of tortillas. I think I used 4 tortillas and cut them in halves where necessary to fill in all the gaps.
Layer with more of the beef mixture.
Now add little dabs of sour cream. Only use one cup. If you use more the casserole will get soupy.
Spread another layer of tortillas over top of the sour cream.
Spread another beef layer over top of the tortillas.
Add a cup of cheddar cheese and sprinkle evenly.
Add the last layer of tortillas. I think I was trying to use them all up by this time.
Add whatever’s left from the beef mixture.
Sprinkle remaining cup of cheddar cheese over top. Cover with foil or the tortillas will dry out. Bake at 350 about 30 minutes or so until the casserole gets bubbly and everything is heated through.
Here’s the casserole just out of the oven. You can allow it to set a few minutes before cutting if you want it to set up a little bit–but you don’t have to!
Here’s a top view of Tijuana Torte on top of our plates. We served this fantastic Tex-Mex casserole with Jalapeno Bacon Gruyere Corn Sticks!
The tortillas help all the cheese and beef to set up well. This recipe calls for flour tortillas, but if you have gluten intolerance you can probably substitute corn tortillas–though the flavors will be a little bit different.
Are you salivating yet? I sure am!
We served large servings of Tijuana Torte and still got ten to twelve servings out of the dish.
Here’s another close up so you can see the texture of Tijuana Torte.
Are you ready to eat yet?
Here’s an inside look at the layering of the casserole so you can see how it sets up. This sumptuous casserole should make your “recipes I’ve got to try soon” list!
Here’s the recipe.
(Recipe adapted from Lynn Buckley, when we attended Christ Baptist Church, Upton, MA)
2 lbs. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 15-oz. cans stewed tomatoes
15-oz. can tomato sauce
1 pkg. taco seasoning or use Homemade Taco Seasoning
4-oz. can chopped chilies
1 cup sour cream
20 flour tortillas
2 8-oz. bags Cheddar cheese
Brown beef and onion, drain. Add stewed tomatoes, sauce, taco seasoning and chilies. Heat through. Spray a 10×14” baking dish with cooking spray, then put about a half cup of the beef mixture on the bottom to keep flour tortillas from sticking. Then layer tortillas, about 1/5 of the beef mixture, sprinkle with about 1 cup cheese. Repeat layers once. Layer with tortillas, beef sauce and then spoon the sour cream over all. I just put really small dabs on. (Don’t use more than 1 cup as it won’t cook well). Repeat with tortillas, beef and cheese two more times. This makes 5 layers in all. Bake, covered, about 25-30 minutes at 350°. Serves about 10-12.
NOTE: You need to cover this casserole when baking or the tortillas dry out.
NOTE: This casserole does NOT freeze well. The tortillas get really gummy and gooey when reheated after being frozen. You can reheat the casserole if it’s been refrigerated, but NOT frozen.
Each forkful of Tijuana Torte as it covers your tastebuds and slithers down your throat is so flavorful, mouthwatering, very tempting!
Be sure to cover the casserole with foil before baking or the tortillas dry out.
If you’re only serving this with corn bread or a salad, it’s really hard to stop at just one piece of this sensational main dish dinner entree.
Luscious! Yummy! Spectacular!
Unfortunately, I have not had good fortune freezing casseroles with tortillas as the tortillas (especially flour tortillas) get all gooey and slimy when they are reheated after being frozen. Sorry, this is not a good option for a freezer meal.
But it is an excellent option for being reheated if you store it in the frig for a few days.
It’s time to eat!