As a child, I was a very picky eater. I wouldn't eat anything with sauce on it, and I certainly wasn't going to eat any vegetables. If I didn't like dinner, I asked for a quesadilla or a grilled cheese sandwich. Mom quickly caught on and started making cheesy dishes she knew I couldn't resist. She called this dish Mexican pizza (because I loved pizza more than anything) so that I would be more likely to eat it!
This baked version of a Mexican quesadilla is a quick and easy weeknight dinner. It's a great way to please the picky eaters in your family without sacrificing nutrition, as this tasty dish is filled with black beans, corn and tomatoes. The cheesy topping helps you sneak in a couple vegetables without the picky ones knowing!
Mexican Quesadilla Casserole
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 lime, juiced
1 8.75-ounce can sweet corn
1 4.5-ounce can chopped green chilies, drained
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 flour tortillas
2 cups Mexican cheese blend
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a casserole dish and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the beef with the onions, until the beef is browned all the way through, about 5 minutes.
Drain the excess grease and discard.
Add the tomato sauce, black beans, diced tomatoes, lime juice, corn, green chilies, chili powder, cumin, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes. Stir well to combine and simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
Spread a large spoonful of the beef mixture over the bottom of the casserole dish to prevent the tortillas from sticking. Layer half of the tortillas over the bottom of the casserole and top with half of the beef mixture. Top with half of the cheese.
Continue layering until all of the ingredients are used.
Bake, uncovered, until the cheese has melted, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Top with the chopped cilantro, if using.
Pro tip: To make this dish gluten-free, substitute corn tortillas for the flour tortillas. It will give the dish a more enchilada-like flavor, but it will still be delicious!