Mexican Casserole: to feed a crowd

Feed a Crowd - Mexican Casserole













Mexican Casserole

“Here’s a great budget friendly recipe that’s easy to make and feeds a crowd. I fixed it for company this past weekend and it fed plenty of us with leftovers for lunch the next day! Serve it up with a salad and some fresh bakery bread and you’ve got an easy meal your guests will love and won’t bust your budget. In fact, you can get all the ingredients for the casserole for around $10 at most grocery stores. Not bad, huh? Give it a try, I think you’re going to love it.”  ~ Karee/ Build A Menu 

Mexican Casserole to feed a crowd

Prep time:  

Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 10

Mexican Casserole

A great budget friendly, crowd pleasing recipe!

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. In a large skillet, brown meat and drain off fat.
  3. Stir in beans, tomatoes, onion, taco seasoning, soup and water.
  4. Simmer over medium-low heat until everything is well combined and heated through.
  5. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish.
  6. Put down a layer of crushed tortilla chips, followed by a layer of the meat/bean mixture, then half of the cheddar cheese.
  7. Repeat layers.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 min, or until bubbly. Let sit for 5-10 min before serving.

Print your own copy to try out this delicious feast of a casserole today – HERE

Elk Meat: It’s what’s for dinner!

frugal homemaking

Guest post by: Midge

Although my “year of the carnivore” series is officially over, I came across a situation I just could not pass up sharing with you!

This week a friend of ours came home from a big hunting trip out west and brought back a cooler full of elk meat to share with our family. Now, as you may know, I’ve been cooking deer meat in a special venison chili  (and boy was it good!) but, elk meat, I have never attempted. In the spirit all things frugal, I certainly could not pass up the opportunity to learn. So, elk, it is.

In the process of finding out how to cook this new dish, I learned a few things. Did you know that elk meat has less fat than chicken, pork and beef? It’s true! I even read somewhere that it’s lower in fat than some seafood.  It has less cholesterol than bison, venison, or turkey! Who knew?

As a matter of fact, in most cases, at least in the recipes I came across, it was recommended that some fat be added to the dish in order to add moisture. The elk can be substituted for any red meat. You can use it in stir fry, grilling, roasting in an oven or the crockpot. You can even fry it up in a pan!

Evidently, elk makes a great burger when wrapped in bacon and grilled. If you decide to cook a roast, it’s as simple as adding plenty of moisture, like water with a few spices and slow cooking for a couple of hours.

I used the same kinds of special spices I keep in the pantry all the time to add to my roasts. Personally, I choose a sprinkling of garlic, a little fresh ground pepper, and maybe a touch of salt. Simple is good, and elk is a flavorful meat that does not require much dressing at all.

If you are keeping tabs, so far, I haven’t spent any extra money on this meal. (Now aren’t you proud?)

We are big fans of country fried steak (in olive or coconut oil) and all that is required to make that happen with elk, is the elk. The recipe I found is just like the country fried steak I always make. Cut it into strips, rinse and pat dry, then lay out flat. I like to season my flour (about 1-2 cups) with a bit of salt and pepper and then dredge the meat, coating it on each side. Heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil on medium to high in a cast iron skillet or a heavy pan and sear them on both sides. Lower the heat to medium low and continue to cook through for a few more minutes on each side. Once all the country fried elk steak has been cooked (and placed on a plate lined with paper towels or napkins to soak up extra oil) you can use the skillet leftovers to make a delicious country gravy.

roast elk

Being the busy mom that I am, during a busy week, like it is, I decided to go with an elk roast. I added an inch or 2 of water to the bottom of my roasting dish. I rinsed the meat and placed it in the pan and then added garlic powder, pepper, a pinch of salt and a just little bit of mixed dried Italian spices (just for fun) and covered it with foil. I placed it in the oven at 300 and roasted for an hour. I pulled it out and added carrots, onions, checked the water level and removed the foil to place it back in the oven for an additional 45 minutes to an hour.  You can slow cook the meat for longer, just be careful that it does not dry out.

The elk meat is naturally tender and flavorful and it’s now a favorite addition to our frugal family meal planning! Fortunately, there was about 45 pounds of elk meat in that cooler, so I’ll be trying some of those other recipes for cooking elk very soon.

How about you? Have you ever prepared elk meat? I’d love to hear about your favorite frugal recipes!

Sincerely, Midge 

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Oh Deer

Midge copyGuest blog by: Midge

Three more meats to go until my Year of the Carnivore blog series is complete!!  So far, I have accomplished 8 random meats plus today’s selection!  I never would have tried any of these meats if it had not been for writing guest posts for Molly Green on Econobusters.  Thanks Molly! :)



We are in the thick of hunting season in our area so I thought it would be appropriate to select deer for our meat series today!  Confession ~ I have never been hunting.  But, I am surrounded by a community and several family members who enjoy hunting both as a past time and as a way to provide for their families throughout the year.  In order to procure some deer meat, I just asked my next door neighbors if they had a little extra that I could use for the blog.  And… ta da… dinner is served!

Molly wrote about using deer meat or venison in a blog she posted last year about alternative Thanksgiving meals (CLICK HERE TO READ MORE!).  Some of the ideas were out of this world creative… like the turducken… WHA??!!??  But, the deer chili was what caught my eye.

For this blog, I decided to forgo a chance at making deer chili and instead stick close to my friend’s recipe advice.  The last time I tried this recipe was for some elk meat she had given me to try.  I was a bit nervous and am sure I messed up the recipe a bit because this time around I enjoyed the dish more.

IMG_7089Here is the basic recipe:

½ cup of butter (plus a bit more butter for the pan)

½ cup flour

Seasonings or salt/pepper to mix in with the flour (I use this spice: DEEP PIT SEASONING)

Small package of filleted deer meat (½ lb or so)

Rinse off the small portions of deer meat with water.  Then, dip them in a bowl with the ½ cup of butter which has been melted.  Put them immediately into the flour and spice mixture and cover them fully.  After that, place them into a frying pan which has about a tablespoon or more of butter already melted in it. Make sure to add a bit more butter if needed to protect the bottom of your pan.  You can grill them at medium or medium low on the stove top.   The meat will need to cook until it is no longer pink (similar to cooking ground beef) and the flour mixture will have turned a deep brown color.  We served our deer pieces with a side of corn and some garlic herb flatbread.


I have a two more meats already selected for my upcoming blog series… but I still need ONE MORE!!!  Do you have any suggestions?

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Super Bowl and Tail Gate Parties

The weather has turned cold and football fever has begun for some of us. With a little prep time and some warm up exercises in the kitchen, everyone can enjoy good food, festive themes, and “the game” in a big way. Keep the food simple (yet) tasteful with easy recipes that can be made ahead of time, reheated easily and ready-to-eat within minutes.

Have A Ball

Remember, back in December, when I posted my sausage ball and meatball recipes? They’re not just for the holidays! Sausage balls, spicy meat balls, and olive cheese balls can liven up any party.

Make these little tasty treats ahead time by the dozens. Store in airtight containers and freeze until needed. Simply heat and serve with an array of dipping sauces : honey mustard, Ranch Dressing, marinara, BBQ sauce, and salsa. These tasty treats are sure to score big!

It’s All About The Bowl

Last week, I shared two chili recipes that would be great to serve for a crowd. It may be cold outside but it will be warm in the kitchen! Make this party a fiesta. Stir up a big pot of taco soup, or to make things more fun, have a chili cook-off.

To do this you could encourage friends to bring their favorite chili recipe to the party. Line up the slow cookers in the kitchen, have bowls and spoons ready with a toppings buffet filled with: shredded cheese, onions, salsa, corn chips, tortilla chips, and crackers. You might like to purchase an inexpensive, brightly colored soup bowl and award the winning chili cook with a “super bowl” of their own.

Traditional Super Bowl Foods and Snacks

For some, Super Bowl Sunday means a day in front of TV with chips, chicken wings, and sub sandwiches. For others, it’s a time of good fellowship with friends and family. However you spend the day, why not spice things up this year? Instead of just a bag of chips, serve layered nachos and bring those hot wings to life with some Blue Cheese Dressing. Don’t serve the same traditional cold-cut subs. This year consider steak and cheese subs, BBQ chicken, or meatball subs. Perhaps it would be fun to create big mouth burgers infused with Cheddar Cheese and bacon!

Top It All Off With Deep Fried Desserts

Have you ever tried deep fried desserts? Try some of these delectable treats: Twinkies, Snickers, cupcakes.  You might top them with powdered sugar or home-made ice cream. Use your imagination!

How Do You Tail Gate?

Game on! Tell me how you make game day special at your house or tailgate party. What foods do you serve? Do you dress in team colors?

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Chili Recipes – Texas or Cincinnati Style

In America, chili is almost as popular as pizza.

There’s a war between the states going on, but it’s not another civil war. It’s a chili war. For most, the original chili recipe comes from Texas. However, the folks in Cincinnati, Ohio have developed a craving for their own version of this cold weather treat.
Which chili is best? Both Texas and Cincinnati claim the honor. Go ahead and make both for your family. Enjoy the taste test!

Texas Chili

Texans pride themselves in their hot and spicy chili. Texas chili is a no bean chili, made with cuts of  beef. It’s usually served up as a bowl of chili with crackers or cornbread on the side. It’s also used as a topping for a variety of foods: frito pie, nachos, enchiladas, chili cheese fries, loaded baked potatoes, and chili burgers.


  • 2 pounds ground round steak or cubed chuck steak
  • 3 large onions
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large (32 oz) can tomato juice
  • 1 medium bell pepper, diced
  • 2 (12 oz)  can tomato paste


  1. Brown beef, onions, and bell pepper. Add garlic.
  2. When browned, add remaining ingredients except the jalapenos. Simmer for 2 hours.
  3. Add jalapeno peppers and simmer for one hour longer.
  4. Offer optional toppings like: shredded cheese, chopped onions, corn chips, cornbread, or crackers.


Cincinnati Chili

In contrast to Texas Chili, Cincinnati Chili is more of a soup than a chili. This version includes an unusual mix of spices including: cinnamon, chocolate or cocoa, allspice, and Worcestershire Sauce. Cincinnati Chili is usually poured over mounds of spaghetti and topped with shredded cheese.


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa or 1/2 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (16-ounce) package uncooked dried spaghetti


  1. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, saute onion, ground beef, garlic, and chili powder until ground beef is slightly cooked.
  2. Add allspice, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, unsweetened cocoa or chocolate, tomato sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, cider vinegar, and water. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours. Remove from heat.
  3. Cook spaghetti according to package directions and transfer onto individual dinner plates.
  4. Top with chili.

A popular way to serve up Cincinnati chili is called, “five way.” Start with a bowl of pasta, top with chili, cheese, onions, and kidney beans. Serve with oyster crackers on the side.

Chili Cook Off

In Texas, chili cook-offs are culinary events. Points are calculated by levels of heat and taste. Texas Chili can include beer, several different kinds of pepper, and various cuts of venison or beef.

With Cincinnati Chili, it’s more about keeping the unusual original taste of the unique blend of spices. The fun part about eating Cincinnati Chili is the combination of chili and spaghetti layered it with as many toppings as possible. It’s like eating a spaghetti sundae or a version of pasta nachos. Whichever version is preferred, chili is no doubt a true comfort food.

Which One Do You Pick?

You be the judge. Which chili do you prefer? Do you have your own unique chili recipe? I’d love to see it. Please share with me in the comment section below.

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Molly Saves on the Go

Get your motor running!

Ease on down the road with tips for family travel in Molly’s Money-Saving Digest Molly Saves on the Go and take a detour around the usual stress and expense.


Even if a road trip isn’t on your horizon, you’ll find plenty useful advice this month, including frugal projects, nutritious food, financial teaching for kids, and much more!

  • Treat your family to a hearty, easy meal.
  • Brush up on the basics of grooming your pet.
  • Teach your kids about budgeting.
  • Use salvaged materials to create a useful camp stool.
  • Find out which free websites can spur you on to better fitness.
  • Mix up some homemade help for hard-working hands.
  • Check out the many benefits of using your library.
  • Get inspired to use your crafting talents for others.

Are we there yet? Molly can help you arrive at your destination with more of your sanity and wallet intact. Loading up on junk food at every stop. Boredom wafting from the back seat. Squabbles resulting from said boredom. Does this sound all too familiar? Stop trouble in its tracks and make your car trip more enjoyable for everyone with the advice in this month’s Digest.

  • Find out all about feeding your family healthy snacks and meals on the go.
  • Take drinks with you and keep more of your dollars.
  • Discover must-have items for your packing list, both for comfort and for convenience.
  • Stock up on car games and other activities to keep your kids busy.
  • Learn how to perform basic maintenance on your vehicle so it’s always ready to go.
  • Learn how to maintain your other vehicle: your bicycle.

Take a closer look at all the impressive features you’ll find in this month’s Digest:

  • This ’n’ That: Smile! April is National Humor Month. Time is also set aside this month to celebrate gardens and libraries, among other things.
  • Begin With the Basics: If you don’t know what GORP is, find the answer (and the recipe) here. Your family will thank you! You’ll also get tips on other good snacks for traveling.
  • Forms & Printables: The Internet is a treasure trove of activities to keep kids busy in the car, whether you’re going for a long trip or a ride around town. Puzzles, games, mazes, trivia, and art projects will help time fly.
  • Décor & More: Eleanor Joyce offers lots of tips for healthy and frugal travel, from what to eat to how to keep everyone comfortable. Think outside the fast food box and take along a salad in a jar; just shake, then eat. Learn what the kids should wear when traveling, plus things you won’t want to do without on the road.
  • Meal of the Month: Give your hungry family a taste of White Chicken Chili and make extra to put in the freezer for quick meals.
  • Molly’s Motor Maintenance: Take on some of your car’s mechanical checkups yourself to save money at the garage and avoid preventable repairs. Not mechanically inclined? Don’t worry. Anyone can do these simple checks.
  • Bicycle Basics & More: If your bike has been dormant during the winter, it needs a checkup too. A basic spring tuneup may help you avoid problems out on the road.
  • Pet Care for Pennies: Find out how grooming done at home can ward off skin infections and other problems, as well as save the cost of having a professional do the job. Even if you only stick to the basics, you can stretch the time between grooming appointments and watch the savings add up.
  • Tightwad Training Camp: Kids learn the difference between fixed and variable expenses and are challenged to think about whether expenditures are based on wants or needs.
  • Something Old, Something New: Sharon White reaches into her store of salvaged items to make a folding stool that’s functional, frugal, and fashionable. This project also has something to teach us about trust.
  • Here’s to Your Health: With a number of free websites, you can track your food intake each day, get healthy recipes, participate in forums with others who share your fitness goals, and track your weight loss progress.
  • You’re a Natural Beauty: Treat your hands to some homemade lotion, then turn your attention to your nails. A multisided buffer can make them pretty without polish.
  • Molly Recommends: Find information and inspiration in the E-Book Molly Goes Camping. Packed full of tips for both novices and seasoned campers, it also contains heartwarming stories from readers like you.
  • Change One Thing This Month: As wonderful as books are, today’s libraries often have much more to offer, from story times to movies, book clubs to reading incentive programs, research databases to Wi-Fi access. Investigate your local branch to find out what you may be missing.
  • Inspiration! Your hobby can offer comfort to people in need.
  • Directory of Links: For those of you who print and bind your Digests, you’ll have easy access to all of the fantastic links worth saving in the back of this issue. It makes your Digest easier to use!

See why homemakers love Molly’s Digest—see what’s inside!

Discover for yourself all of the exciting and imaginative ideas Molly has to offer and wants to share with you—ideas that could save you big money and needless headaches!

You’ll glean some of the best, inexpensive ideas and projects for everyday living that you can find, and be inspired to be self-confident, creative, and resourceful too.

View a sample of this product here.

Molly makes it fun and easier to be frugal! Think about it—with so much to learn and save, if you apply just one money-saving idea, you’ll recoup the cost of this E-Book right away!

Project Manager: Toni Riggs
Contributing Writers: Dena Wood, Eleanor Joyce, Sharon White, Patricia Hunter, Toni Riggs, Tiffany J. Rule, DVM, Michelle Tonnemacher
Publication: 2011
Pages: 59
File Size: 5.1 MB

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