Southwestern Casserole Recipe
Southwestern Casserole Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Southwestern Casserole Recipe

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4.5 37 45
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I've been making this mild family-pleasing casserole for years. It tastes wonderful, fits nicely into our budget and, best of all, makes a second one to freeze and enjoy later. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
Recommended: The 13x9 Thanksgiving
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 40 min.
MAKES:12 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 40 min.
MAKES: 12 servings


  • 2 cups (8 ounces) uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, drained
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

Nutritional Facts

1 cup: 321 calories, 15g fat (7g saturated fat), 64mg cholesterol, 673mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 4g fiber), 24g protein.


  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat, crumbling beef, until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in next eight ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Drain macaroni; stir into beef mixture.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. Transfer macaroni mixture to two greased 2-qt. baking dishes. Top with cheese and jalapenos. Cover and bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until bubbly and heated through, about 10 minutes longer. Serve one casserole. Cool the second; cover and freeze up to 3 months.
  3. To use frozen casserole: Thaw in refrigerator 8 hours. Preheat oven to 375°. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake, increasing time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165°, 20-25 minutes. Yield: 2 casseroles (6 servings each).
Editor's Note: Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.
Originally published as Southwestern Casserole in Quick Cooking September/October 2001, p58

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NH-rescue User ID: 4255840 257286
Reviewed Nov. 25, 2016

"Very popular at our house! Because we are from the Northeast and not the Southwest, we opted for fewer jalapeno slices on top, but otherwise found the casserole tasty and spiced just right."

pajamaangel User ID: 1603339 256378
Reviewed Nov. 4, 2016

"This just wasn't that flavorful. For the amount of time it takes to bring it all together, I was expecting more."

lolohiser User ID: 5362556 256237
Reviewed Nov. 1, 2016

"Jimmy said I could make this again!! The only thing different to do is stir in the cheese before putting it in the casserole dish. Then add extra cheese on top. We like cheese!"

aug2295 User ID: 4631582 256111
Reviewed Oct. 30, 2016

"Yummy and easy - this one you can put together in a few minutes on a weeknight for sure. I used jarred salsa instead of the canned tomatoes."

cynandtom User ID: 2224843 255952
Reviewed Oct. 26, 2016

"Delicious!! The only changes I made were seasoning the chicken with Southwest Spice, using Fire Roasted Tomatoes (because I had them on hand and like them with these flavors), and for the topping I used Pepper Jack Cheese (because I find it zippier) and combined with crushed Fritos. Not only is it a fabulous dish, It's is a great make ahead weeknight dinner."

amehart User ID: 1464390 255858
Reviewed Oct. 24, 2016

"Fabulous! The only thing I did differently was changed the chopped green chilies to a can of the chopped jalapenos to increase the heat factor. Have one in the freezer and DH is already asking for it!"

pusspuss01 User ID: 8525717 255659
Reviewed Oct. 20, 2016

"Loved this recipe! I used Rotel tomatoes w/green chilies so I didn't have to buy them. I only made half the recipe and it was great. I had some leftover, so it's in the freezer now. Next time I'm going to use Kroger's sweet & spicy jalapenos. It's a keeper!"

annrms User ID: 2649709 255643
Reviewed Oct. 20, 2016

"We loved this casserole! I loved it even more because DH cooked and served it. We had it with sliced jalapenos as seen in the picture...plenty of zip there!!! DH said he "undercooked" the macaroni so it would not overcook while cooking in the oven. He put the other half of the casserole without cheese and jalapenos in a ziplock bag and put it in the freezer. When we have it again, he will put it into a casserole and finish the prep."

HBcook User ID: 2966570 255591
Reviewed Oct. 18, 2016

"I made have half this recipe for two of us and it would serve more than 6! It was good but needed more zip - chili powder, cumin, etc. I used a whole can of chilies for half the recipe and did heaping chili powder and cumin but it could have been more. More cheese too, maybe half in the casserole and half on top and maybe Pepper Jack! I used mild Italian Sausage and maybe even hot would take it up a notch!"

mikenmarg User ID: 8582934 254572
Reviewed Sep. 24, 2016

"Pretty tasty, but I added more chopped jalapeno for a little extra kick. Otherwise, I followed directions exactly ... for half the amount of recipe, which almost filled a 2 qt. casserole dish."

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