Make Ahead Meals: Beefy Enchilada Bake

We’re calling this Beefy Enchilada Bake. Why??

Anybody else have a husband who “won’t eat it if it’s a casserole?”

My sister-in-law, Kari,  told me of this recipe idea. But she said, “You can’t call it a casserole, or Randy won’t eat it!”  Apparently it’s a common theme with husbands. Many don’t like casseroles. (My husband on the other hand, would probably eat it no matter what you called it. If there’s food in it – he likes it.)

So as Kari was making this, she decided, “It’s layered like a lasagna. I think I’ll call it Enchilada Lasagna.”  (Fun name – I like it!)

Hey, call it whatever you want to. This dish is simple to prepare, really yummy to eat, and is great to make ahead of time, freeze, thaw and bake. I LOVE Make Ahead Casser Meals!

Beefy Enchilada Bake 

Beefy Enchilada Bake (aka Enchilada Lasagna)

Make Ahead Meals: Beefy Enchilada Bake
Serves: 6-10
  • 1 pound Ground hamburger meat
  • 3 Tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • ½ cup water
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili powder (depending on your taste)
  • salt
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 corn tortillas
  1. Brown hamburger meat.
  2. Do not drain grease!
  3. Put cooked hamburger meat in separate bowl, salt and set aside.
  4. Sprinkle arrowroot powder into the grease and stir (if you do not have enough grease to absorb the arrowroot powder, add 2 T. butter).
  5. Keep your burner on medium to high heat.
  6. Pour in water and “smoosh” the clumps of arrowroot powder/grease around while you stir the water in.
  7. This will thicken and make a gravy.
  8. Pour in tomato sauce and chili powder.
  9. Stir well until bubbly. This is now your enchilada sauce!
  10. Cut corn tortillas into one inch strips.
  11. Dip tortilla strips in enchilada sauce and coat thoroughly.
  12. Cover bottom of baking dish with enchilada sauce coated tortilla strips.
  13. Sprinkle ⅓ of the cooked ground beef over the tortillas…then a little cheese.
  14. Repeat layers twice more: enchilada sauce coated tortilla strips, meat, cheese.
  15. If you have any leftover enchilada sauce, drizzle it over the top.
  16. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 – 40 minutes or until bubbly.

There you go! A great meal that you can make ahead of time and pull out when you need it!

Because I’ve had several requests for more meals like this, and because I LOVE having meals like this, I’ve been playing a lot in my kitchen to come up with more great recipes that can save you time and energy! I’ll keep these recipes coming!

But I’m curious – does your family eat “casseroles”? Because I can come up with anti-casserole names. I’ll go think of some now…

(Easy Chicken HooHaa;  Tasty Noodley Goodley;  Cheesy Pleasey Chicken; Chunky Beef Bucket, Turkey Salad Surprise ; Couch Potato Cuisine…)


  1. says

    Great post Laura. That, ahem, bake, looks delicious! My husband will eat casseroles (my dad never, ever would though). But, for some reason he will not eat goulash. So, in our house, anything that in any way resembles goulash is called “stuff in a pan.”


  2. says

    Looks fantastic – we’re definitely having this soon! Now, do I freeze it AFTER I bake it? (See, I’m homemaking impaired). And please do share lots and lots more of these kinds of recipes! I want to start making a double batch every time I make one of these, so I always have an extra something in the freezer. :-)


  3. says

    Thanks! This sounds great. I love recipes with basic ingredients that I can actually get overseas. I’ll have to make the tortillas, but I can get everything else. We really enjoy Mexican food so I’m sure this will be a hit.


  4. says

    My husband doesn’t mind casseroles as long as it’s food, too!!!

    Wanted to tell you that my family loved the onion ring recipe with the whole wheat flour and I love the menu templates you shared. Your blog is quickly becoming one of my favorites!!! Thank you and please keep the recipes coming!!! :)


  5. says

    My husband doesn’t care about the name of theh dish, but he won’t eat anything that’s “all mixed up.” He likes his food separate. I make casseroles anyway, and when he complains I just tell him “oh frickin well! Sometimes we’re going to eat stuff I like too!” :P


  6. says

    Yum! I don’t eat beef, but I can definitely use soy crumbles in this recipe for a similar effect. I can’t wait to try it!


  7. Jodi says

    my hubby actually LOVEs casseroles – probably more than I do. i love finding new recipes that work to fix 2 at one time…one to eat and one “casserole” to freeze. Love it! thanks and happy experimenting!


  8. says

    My husband will eat it if it’s food, too. Doesn’t care what it is called. I’m thankful. :-)
    He would kiss my feet if I made this for him. Think I’ll get a pedicure.


  9. wendy says

    We make this, and my family loves it. Just a note on things to add/change to make it different. We add yellow hominy and/or black beans – so good. You can use tortilla chips instead of the tortillas (not cheep or healthy but okay in a pinch.) It’s also so different but yummy if you use chicken, green enchalida sauce, sour cream and a can of green chilies.


  10. Jennifer says

    My husband will not eat casseroles either. That’s funny! This looks yummy – can’t wait to try it. Looks right up our alley.


  11. Laura says

    I freeze it BEFORE I bake it…and it worked great!


    Kari Coppinger Reply:

    Just made a similar recipe and came here to see if you had any advice on freezing before or after baking. Thanks for coming through, again and again and again!


  12. Brenda says

    Laura, you probably already do this, but in case you don’t I thought I’d share…!

    When I make make-ahead things like these, I like to line the pan with foil, leaving enough excess foil sticking out that I can wrap it over and around the entire casserole/bake/whatever. I stick it in the freezer overnight and then take the entire cassrole, wrapped in foil, right out of the dish and then stick it in a Ziploc and write what it is on the outside.

    That way my pan isn’t stuck waiting in the freezer until we eat that particular casserole!

    One other hot tip… !:)

    You can pre-assemble casseroles like this in a 5 qt ice cream bucket. Start by lining the bucket with Saran wrap, and then put together a casserole in it. Next, fold the Saran down over the casserole… and then do it again by placing another lining of Saran Wrap in there so you can make another casserole in the bucket that sits right on top of the last one… and then if there is still room, do a third one!

    In the end, you’ll have three casseroles all ready to go, stacked one on top of the other, individually wrapped and in an air-tight ice cream bucket.

    Why do this? Well… the inside of the ice cream bucket is the same size as the inside of a standard round crock pot! Just take one out of the bucket, unwrap it stick it in the crockpot on low in the morning, and have supper ready that night!

    Easy squeazy! :)

    I got that idea here years ago – it’s the “Ice Cream Bucket Lasagna” recipe.


    Shawna Reply:

    Love your ideas! :)


  13. Joelle says

    My husband likes casseroles, but doesn’t like Mexican food. So… hmmm… I could make this but call it casserole instead of enchilada. He just doesn’t like beans and cheese. Since this has neither, maybe we can do this one. (We’re also vegetarian, but I think I can find a substitute vege-meat to use.)


  14. says

    My husband will eat anything, no matter the name. Well except eggplant. Which is really a bummer because I love eggplant lasagna!
    Also Thank You Brenda for the pointers. Cooking is not one of those things that comes naturally to me. Thanks to you now all of my casserole dishes won’t be in the freezer!


  15. Danielle says

    What can you substitute for chili powder? I never use it (nope, not even in chili!), and I don’t want to buy it for one dish.


  16. says

    So, is this a freezer meal? Have you tried freezing it? Do you bake and then freeze or freeze then bake? :) Thanks!
    I have lots of make ahead meals (aka freezer meals) posted on my blog on Fridays! I am always looking for new ones. :)


  17. Angela says

    Looks great Laura!!! We love this kinda cassrole, although most recipes a too spicey for my kids this dosn’t look to be and I know the will love it!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

    In him, Angela


  18. Teresa says

    The recipe says to use arrowroot powder or flour, but do you think I could use cornstarch?


    Teresa Reply:

    The cornstarch worked great. I just made this for dinner and it was very yummy. Everyone really liked it. Thank you for the recipe, I can’t wait to try it with chicken.


    Laura Reply:

    Great! I hadn’t had a chance yet to get back to you and say “go for it!” on the cornstarch. Glad you tried it anyway!


  19. Jill says

    My family loves casseroles and I love to make them because they are so convenient. I have a question for you? Do you use any other kind of flour in you whole wheat torillas? I just found out I am gluten sensitive. thanks


    Laura Reply:

    I haven’t tried any other flours…but I’m hoping to come up with a good corn tortilla recipe soon!


    Adina Reply:

    We moved to Guatemala to be teachers at an international school.
    I learned how to make corn tortillas, they are super good fresh!
    I took step by step pictures and instructions here:

    We used a “comal” but you could also just use a skillet.


  20. says

    We all eat casseroles. Like yours, my husband will eat just about anything with food in it, although he prefers not to have the same thing more than twice in a week (ie. dinner one night and lunch the next and then no more leftovers thankyouverymuch!) My kids went through a phase where they thought they didn’t like casseroles because I served something called casserole that they didn’t like. So everything was a “bake” for a month or two. Now they’re back to normal.

    I am trying to fill my freezer with easy things to eat for dinner when our new baby arrives in June (#5) and this looks like the sort of thing we would enjoy. Thanks!!


  21. says

    I can’t believe I haven’t seen this on your site before! I love all your recipes and this is definitely going on my list for next month’s oamc day! yum!


  22. Irene says

    I love casseroles, however, sometimes, I just empty out the veggie crisper, check and see what sort of meat and seasonings I have on hand and then, we have some variation on what we call “slop”. We make Oriental slop with cabbage, broccoli, rice, chicken and Chinese sauces and seasonings. Italian slop has any combo of Parmesan, some form of tomato, Italian sausage and pasta. You get the idea. Of course, you can take all of these, throw them in a casserole dish, and bake them and voila – Casserole, not slop.


  23. Kathy Feusse says

    I love this one! It is supper tonight!! thanks. and yes, we eat casseroles…my hubby is like yours…if it is food, he will eat it. So please keep these ideas coming!!!


  24. Kari says

    Was looking for something to make tonight that I had the ingredients for. This recipe crossed my mind from having seen it in your menu plans. I completely forgot that I had shared the idea with you. This will be for tomorrow night. Tonight rice and Indian food (pre-made packets from Trader Joe’s, so glad you don’t judge me!) with hummus and Naan.


  25. says

    Do you make your own corn tortillas? Do you have a recipe? Or can point me to one?



    Laura Reply:

    I’m, in the process right now of figuring out a good and healthy corn tortilla recipe as a part of the Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge.

    Hopefully soon I’ll have one figured out!! :)


    oh amanda Reply:

    And that is why I should look around before I ask! Thanks! :)


    Adina Reply:
    has a tutorial for making corn tortillas if you are interested.
    We are in Guatemala and we make them all the time.

  26. Kristin says

    My husband will eat whatever I make and he knows not to complain because he’ll be making dinner and he doesn’t have a clue what to do in the kitchen. In fact, we say that if anything happened to me he’d use my insurance money to hire a cook otherwise our kids would eat Kraft Spiral Mac n Cheese and pizza rolls everyday :) We make a version of this with ground turkey and I add in some veggies. I am anxious to try this!



    Okay, not only did I make one recipe, but two! The enchiladas were a huge hit as was the apple dip! :o) I hope I’ll be shopping soon! ;o)


  28. says

    We love casseroles! My daughter has a big aversion to kidney beans, so I usually try to keep them on one side of the dish ~ or she can pick them out. The Enchilada “thingie” looks great!


  29. Adrienne says

    Yum! Made this for dinner last night and it was great. I wonder if the arrowroot/flour is even necessary? The sauce itself was pretty thick and I think the tortillas would help to keep everything together. Anyone try it without the flour?


    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    It should work fine to skip that!


  30. Megan says

    I think I’m gonna stick this one in the Crock Pot…in the interest of not heating up the kitchen… ;)


  31. says

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was fabulous. I added cumin to the sauce and used whole wheat tortillas instead of corn. Next time I will double to have plenty of leftovers. I’ll attempt one for the freezer as well. Thanks for sharing!


  32. Kim says

    I would probably make this with venison, which is very lean and therefore produces very little grease. Would you recommend adding extra butter in place of the grease to make the gravy?


    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Yum! Sounds good. I would add some butter to make the gravy.


  33. Tara says

    This looks good and we love casseroles! However I am a fan of the non casserole names, especially Noodley Goodley!


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