Mama’s Taco Casserole

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I have longed to bring you this casserole ever since I started Southern Plate. Longed. Yearned. Ached. Why haven’t I? Because of two reasons:

1. It’s kinda ugly

2. The ingredients are weird. In fact, there is one really odd ingredient (in my opinion) but don’t worry, no one will have a clue that its in there, they’ll just wonder how you got your casserole so incredibly flavorful and good!

So this one is gonna require a lot of trust on your part but I wanna tell you up front that if it wasn’t something I craved, if it wasn’t something that set my stomach to growling and mouth to watering just thinking about it, if it wasn’t something that everyone in my family ran to the table for when I served it, and if it wasn’t something that I still-to-this-day beg my Mama to make for me when we go over there to eat – I wouldn’t be bringing it to you.

So I’m asking you to trust me on this one because I wouldn’t steer you wrong, honest. You can even make it tonight and store it all covered up in your fridge to bake for supper tomorrow. Leftovers reheat well also, so you could make double. I hope you’ll go out on a limb with me here, you won’t be disappointed and you might just end up with a new potluck favorite that is the one recipe no one can figure out.

And now onto the rambling part of my post.  Ya know, my trademark Christy-goes-off-on-something-having-nothing-at-all-to-do-with-food thing.

Today’s topic: Biblical Environmental Awareness & Silliness.

When I picked Katy up from school yesterday I heard some news that will thrill proponents of the environment (that sounds odd though, as I’m sure anyone who has to live in the environment are proponents of it to an extent). As it turns out, Jesus is going green. See the following conversation:

“Katy, what was your story at school about today?”

~blank look from Katy and then..~

“Huh? Oh, Jesus Recycles”

“Jesus Recycles?”


I looked into her backpack and pulled out a piece of paper that explained it to me. A story about “Jesus’ Disciples”. *see important note at bottom of post if you know Katy.

Which brings me to ask, have you had your silliness today? Life is far too serious on it’s own, so rather than spending our efforts making it more so, I like to throw off the balance and put my energies into injecting silliness at every possible moment. Having little ones often provides needed doses naturally but I’ve found my recommended daily allowances exceed even that and so I have to supplement with my awe-inspiring natural silliness abilities.

Oh I know some folks aren’t naturally silly but if you are a non-silly, you can attach yourself to a true-silly and have a much more lively life. I often tell my husband how lucky he is to have married me based on these grounds alone.

My preaching moment today is that you need silliness. You. Yes you. I can see you looking at your screen in confusion wondering if I could possibly be talking to you and I Want you to know that I most definitely am. You need more laughter and you need more smiles. I don’t care how many you have, you need more and you deserve more. Break out into opera at the dinner table, dance through your house as you go on a dirty laundry scavenger hunt (if its anything like mine!), pour a big old glass of iced water over the shower curtain when your beloved isn’t paying attention (this one always gives me a good giggle). Whatever you can come up with, you just need a way to break up the seriousness a bit. You need something that will cause you to toss back your head, open up your mouth, and LAUGH!

Or you might need to sing a song about yodeling veterinarians…sideways.

(Remember, I don’t sing well, I sing loud)

Yeah, that was fun. We were in the middle of a seven hour drive home and things needed livening up a bit. Did you see how Iron Man got into the song? Quite the dancer, that one.Why is it sideways? Because of an intricate setting in my iPhone that decided it should be. Other than that, I have no idea. Note: Best if viewed on a laptop…turned sideways.

Alright, that one was short and sweet, be grateful that I’m sleep deprived or you’d still be sitting in church with me.

As it is, I’m gonna move on to the eatin’ part now.

Alright so now to the cooking part of thangs…

You’re gonna need: BBQ Sauce (This is the weird ingredient but trust me on this), instant mashed potato flakes (hang in there, I’m not making mashed potatoes out of them honest), taco seasoning, milk, re-fried beans, butter or margarine, and ground beef.

Course, My ground beef has already been browned and was sitting in the freezer happily waiting on me so if you’re isn’t, give it a good cookin’ up and then start from there.

Have you noticed how some taco seasoning mixes taste drastically different from others? My favorite brand is Taco Bell brand but I’ll pretty much use anything other than Ortega because I just really don’t like the taste of it. Most likely this means Ortega is the most authentic tasting one of course..

I ain’t got the sense the good Lord gave a turnip – and I’m SO GLAD, too!

Melt your margarine in a large skillet

You really should wait on it to melt but that takes too long for me..

~smiles prettily~

Pour in your milk.

Add in a bit of your taco seasoning (of course the measurements are below)

Stir that up really well.

Now pour in your potato flakes

Stirry stirry

And press this into the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish or a 9 inch pie plate.

Press it all in the bottom and just a wee bit up the sides some. This is your crust.

Now, in the same skillet (you don’t even need to wash it out first), place your ground beef, refried beans, remaining taco seasoning, and bbq sauce.

My refried beans are kinda on the chunky side so this casserole might look a little different if you get refried beans that are smoother

(fewer full beans in them).

Add in your water

Cook that over medium heat while stirring, until thick and bubbly.

Again, depending on what brand of re-fried beans you use this may look a lot less chunky.

Spread the filling over your crust and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

I am so hungry right now I could takea  bite out of this laptop.


Serve with your favorite taco toppings! This reheats beautifully so I like to make a double batch :).

You know, you could also make two 8×8 pans and surprise a friend or neighbor with supper, too.

Mama’s Taco Casserole

I have longed to bring you this casserole ever since I started Southern Plate. Longed. Yearned. Ached.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 32 minutes
Total Time: 52 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: casserole
Servings: 4
Calories: 360kcal


  • 1/4 C Margarine
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • 1 lb ground beef cooked and drained
  • 15 ounce can refried beans
  • 1/4 Cup water
  • 1/2 Cup BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 2 Cups instant mashed potato flakes


  • Melt margarine in saucepan. Add milk and 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning mix. Remove from heat and stir in potato flakes. Press mixture into bottom and slightly up the sides of an 8x8 inch baking dish. In skillet, place ground beef, re-fried beans, bbq sauce, water, and remaining taco mix. Cook and stir until bubbly. Turn into prepared crust. Bake uncovered at 350 for thirty to thirty five minutes.
  • Serve with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream - whatever cranks yer tractor.


Calories: 360kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans-

it’s lovely to be silly at the right moment.

~Horace. Submit your quote here!

*If you know Katy Rose, please don’t mention this to her. She doesn’t take too kindly to being thought cute these days. I’m sure we’ll work through this with continued torture from her brother and humiliation from her singing parents. We’ll at least move her on to a new and improved psychosis.

What are families for?

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  1. So now here is my problem…. I was all set to make the Taco Pizza tomorrow night then Christy goes and publishes this!
    Now what am i going to cook tomorrow night? The pizza or casserole? If i cant decide it will be spaghetti o’s again 🙁

  2. If you don’t have taco seasoning on hand, try this:

    1/2 to 1 tsp comino (depending on how fuerte/strong you want it and how badly your kids complain of “spiciness”)
    3 tbsp chili powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    black pepper to taste

    This combination is the basis of most Tex-Mex cooking.

    Thanks again, Christy! Hugs to you and your family!

    1. a few years ago, I quit buying those taco seasoning packets and now just throw the seasonings in after the HB is browned. It’s cheaper, a lot less salty and I think tastes more authentic. A bit of garlic, fresh or powder, and a bit of paprika is just the right touch for me. And I like to put in 2-3 teaspoons of flour while browning the meat and put some water in so that there is a kind of thick broth with the meat — makes the concoction a little juicier.

      1. well duh —- went back and read this AFTER posting and realized I left out the most important stuff: the cumin (cominos)and the chili powder. Sorry — I had a ‘senior moment’ ha

      1. Cumin- but if you buy it in the spanish section labeled comino you can get it in a very large container really cheap

  3. You are entirely correct.. I do need more silliness in my life. I gotta try the Taco casserole on the dadster.

    Got yet another Butterfinger Cake to make tonight to take to a friends house. I can’t believe I didn’t touch the one I made last week. *Dear Willpower, Thank you for not wimping out on me..

      1. Now that would be funny to serve a Mexican recipe w/ TWELVE cups of BBQ. Whew, and I was cking my food pantry to see if I had that much on hand….nope, just 11 cups of sauce. ~giggles~
        Honey-pie hubby would LOVE this recipe and since it is your Mama’s ~waves to Mrs. Davis~, why I am certain it is fabulous, like she is. Thanks for a fun, silly and giggle-fying post. Love ya! T

  4. Christy ~

    Have I told you lately that I love you…. That was me singing to you. 🙂 Just wanted to let you know that the BBQ sauce wasn’t the wierd ingredient for me, it was the potatoes!! lol. But, putting all my faith in you, oh queen of southern cooking, I am going to try this tonight when my parents come in from VA. Thanks honey!

    BTW~ I do the ice water in the shower to my hubby and girls too!


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