Last week Caroline whipped up the most delicious Mexican Lasagna for dinner. Also known as taco casserole, Mexican pie, or stacked enchiladas, this dish is savory and filling and is packed with seasoned beef, a blend of Mexican cheese, and enchilada sauce — all layered between gluten-free corn tortillas!
It’s also easy to prep, making it the perfect recipe for your junior chef to make for family dinner.
When I shared this recipe on Instagram stories, I had a few requests to share more of Caroline’s recipes and cooking skills.
At the beginning of summer, I ask the kids what they’d like to include on our family summer bucket list and Caroline asked if she could make dinner one night for the family all by herself. While she’s made plenty of scrambled eggs and pancakes, baked lots of sweet treats like cakes/cupcakes, and helped me with more in-depth meals, this was the first dinner she’s made for the family — with no help from me. It was hard, but I tried not to be in the kitchen at all for it (although I definitely lurked nearby and checked to see if she needed anything from time to time).
Together, we came up with the recipe beforehand and then I just let her go! And let me just say, it was SUCH a treat to smell the delicious aroma of someone else whipping up an incredible dinner in my kitchen. My mama heart almost exploded a million times watching her smile and shine through the entire process.
For those who sent me questions about how we got her started in the kitchen…
Caroline just turned 9 last month, but began helping me in the kitchen around age 2. I’m not going to pretend that teaching Caroline to cook has been an easy task. It has required a tremendous amount of patience, extra clean-up, and breath-holding as she’s learned how to crack an egg, safely use a knife, measure ingredients, use the oven, etc. And in full transparency, there were times that I would get frustrated and wanted to just do it myself to keep the recipe moving along and my floors clean, but looking back the mess has been worth it.
Her first “skill” she learned as a toddler was simply pouring the pre-measured ingredients into the bowl. And over the course of years, I’ve introduced more and more ways for her to grow and continue learning. The pride she takes in learning a new skill is truly incredible and it really motivates me to give her more freedom in the kitchen. And while it’s been a lot of work to get her to this point, I am SO glad I took the time to teach her because cooking is a passion of hers and now we all get to enjoy her food!
Why We Love Mexican Lasagna
- It’s a great recipe for your junior chef to make with little to no assistance.
- You can prepare this meal in advance and bake it when you’re ready to eat. I recommend setting the casserole out until it reaches room temperature before baking. Keep in mind that the tortillas will soak up more moisture the longer the lasagna sits unbaked, so I don’t recommend preparing more than a day in advance.
- This is a very filling dish that is perfect for large families, potlucks, or gatherings.
- It’s an easy meal to double so you can pop one in the freezer for up to 2 months or gift it to someone in need! If freezing you can skip the baking and pop it right into the freezer. If you choose to bake the lasagna first, make sure it’s fully cooled before wrapping and freezing. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Mexican lasagna makes great leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days. It’s even great for breakfast, served alongside some eggs! Just make sure to tightly wrap your casserole dish with plastic wrap.
Mexican Lasagna Ingredients and Adaptions
- Ground Beef: You can also use ground or shredded pork, ground turkey, or ground chicken.
- Taco Seasoning: We use an additive-free and preservative-free homemade taco seasoning, but feel free to use your favorite Mexican spice blend.
- Enchilada Sauce: You can use green or red enchilada sauce — or a blend of both! For beef-based lasagna, the red enchilada sauce pairs really well. If your lasagna is chicken-based, I’d go for the green sauce.
- Tortillas: Corn tortillas are fantastic in this recipe as they are gluten-free and don’t get soggy, but you can also use flour tortillas if that’s your preference.
- Additional Ingredients: There are so many options when it comes to ingredients that would be delicious to add including black beans or pinto beans, corn, green chilis, bell peppers, jalapenos, etc.
- Topping Ideas: Shredded lettuce, diced tomato, chopped onion, diced avocado, sour cream, salsa, cilantro…so many topping options!
- 1.5 lbs ground beef
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 tbsp taco seasoning
- 12 6" corn tortillas
- 4 cups Mexican cheese blend
- 2 15 oz cans enchilada sauce
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a skillet, cook ground beef until browned. Add the onions and taco seasoning and cook until the onions are translucent and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a 9x13" baking dish, pour and spread a thin amount of enchilada sauce (the entire bottom of the pan does not need to be coated). Add a layer of beef on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with a layer of corn tortillas (you may need to cut a few tortillas in half to fill in any gaps).
- Repeat layers 3-4 more times. Top the final layer with the rest of the beef and cheese.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. I like to stick mine under the broil setting for a few minutes to get it a little brown.
- Serve with desired toppings -- lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, sour cream, cilantro!
Mexican lasagna makes great leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days. Just make sure to tightly wrap your casserole dish with plastic wrap.
Freezer Instructions: If freezing you can skip the baking and pop it right into the freezer for up to 2 months. If you choose to bake the lasagna first, make sure it’s fully cooled before wrapping and freezing. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge.