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Chili Con Carne Casserole

Sometimes you can improve on a good thing…

Around our house, we all love a spicy, flavor packed bowl of warm chili. It’s such a simple and satisfying meal and we love that you can round it out by throwing in some extra diced veggies like zucchini or carrots to stretch it a bit and make it healthier. It’s one of those meals that is great to prep on a Sunday to reheat for a quick lunch throughout the week. Chili is pretty much perfect all on its own. So why mess with a good thing?

Well, cheese, for one. Crunchy corn chips, for two. This Chili Casserole takes our favorite basic chili con carne and adds in a few special elements to make one bubbly, ooey gooey, crunchy oven bake.

We start with a layer of basic white rice and top it with beef chili. While we guess you could use canned chili to speed up this recipe, we like to use our go-to basic beef chili recipe. It comes together quickly and there’s just nothing like homemade. We love this chili because it’s totally adaptable: you can make it spicier, you can add in some fun veggies, stir in some pickled jalapenos. Anyway… we top it with a generous helping of cheese and some crunchy corn chips before popping it in the oven. The rice soaks up all that spicy juice and the cheese becomes bubbly and wonderful.

Every bite has soft rice, hearty chili, melty cheese, and the addictive crunch of a corn chip. It’s got every texture going on and is just totally delicious. Serve it with some cool sour cream, sliced green onions and pickled jalapenos for an extra flavor punch. However you serve it, it’s a real crowd pleaser!

Serves 6-8

1 hour

  • 1 large (14 oz) bag corn chips (like Fritos)
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 2 cups white rice, cooked
  • 2 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 2 cans (14 oz each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Salt, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a casserole dish. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook one minute further.
  3. Add beef and cook until browned, 8-10 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, black pepper, oregano, and stir to combine.
  4. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and kidney beans and stir until mixed. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Season to taste.
  5. Cover bottom of prepared casserole dish with the cooked rice and pour the chili over the top. Top with grated cheese and corn chips.
  6. Bake uncovered until cheese has melted and mixture is bubbly, 20-25 minutes. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Adapted from Creole Contessa.

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