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

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4.5 43 51
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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
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 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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thejureks User ID: 4715642 266065
Reviewed May. 17, 2017

"Great dish! I used sausage as I was out of ground beef, subbed a jar of salsa for one can of tomatoes, black beans in place of kidneys and used taco seasoning mix instead of spices. I also threw it all in the crock pot on low."

emsijo User ID: 5238521 261827
Reviewed Feb. 26, 2017

"This is a terrific dish. I cooked the pasta for 8 minutes. Sauteed the onions in olive oil until tender, removed from the pot, browned the meat and then added the onions. I added the garlic for about a minute and then added the remaining ingredients except the cheese. I especially liked that it makes two casseroles and I did freeze one. Will make again."

Kilyena User ID: 6143949 260023
Reviewed Jan. 21, 2017

"I made this first as written. It's good but it needed something. I think more chili powder and more cumin. Next time I made this I will add the additions along with pinto beans instead of kidney beans and medium spicy green chili's. Can't really drain the chili's so not sure what that's about. Don't cook the pasta until done like only cook it for 3 - 4 minutes, that way it doesn't become too soft. Or don't cook it at all and add before you put into the oven. Remember to use a good quality pasta too. I think it needed cheese in the dish so I will add most of the cheese the same time I add the pasta. I will probably use a Mexican blend cheese or Taco blend because although I love Monterey Jack it's so mild and probably not right for this dish. Sevrve with sour cream, guacamole, and if you have on hand some chopped cilantro!"

ejshellabarger User ID: 3870843 259560
Reviewed Jan. 12, 2017

"I didn't think there was anything particularly special about the recipe except that it was budget friendly and filling for a big crowd. Always enjoy experimenting with new recipes but probably won't take the time to make this again."

Angel182009 User ID: 6228642 259438
Reviewed Jan. 9, 2017

"This was deliciousl I loved how simple it was to make and the jalape?os really added that extra kick of flavor."

rwippel User ID: 4262008 259181
Reviewed Jan. 4, 2017

"This recipe was good. The amount of seasoning didn't seem like it would be enough for this large meal. I ended up substituting the chili powder and cumin for 1 1/2 Tbsp. Taco Seasoning."

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."

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