Stuff I assemble chop prep or whathaveyou in advance of actual assemblage:
1 pound very lean ground beef (option: ground turkey, mushrooms, tofu or any other meat alternatives you love... in fact, mushrooms sound wonderful and I think I'll do that next time)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 can Ranch Style Beans - do not drain as you will use the sauce. Now this does not make for the most healthy low sodium of dishes, so if you have to watch sodium, just use a can of drained and rinsed pinto beans and increase the salsa or add in some tomato sauce.
1/2 cup or so of salsa - use the kind you like, mild, medium, or hot. I love Paul Newman's Medium. The amount here is really just an educated guess on my part as I usually just dump it in the hot mixture from the jar and it is added in order to get a nice moist meat mixture. You could also just use a small can of tomato sauce if you really cannot take any spice at all.
1 T chili powder
2 t cumin powder
2 jalapenos, de-seeded and sliced (omit if you are not a spicy food person, or use the spicier serrano peppers if you like to sweat while you eat)
8 corn tortillas (there are a lot of tortilla options out there, try some of the new gourmet whole grain blends if you like, but I don't think regular flour tortillas will work in this dish, if I am proven wrong, please let me know in the comments!)
1-2 T butter, softened (you could sub in Pam, but do not ever sub in margarine)
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (obviously you can do a more or less thing here depending on if you eat cheese only in calorie counted amounts or throw caution to the wind and add cheese til the stores run out. If you don't eat cheese at all - just skip it but increase some of the liquid ingredients)
Optional: more jalapenos and chopped onions to layer into the dish.
Cookery and Assemblage:
Preheat oven to 350 F
Put the beef and onion in a large skillet and brown over medium heat. Drain of all fat.
Then add the beans, salsa, chili powder, cumin, and jalapenos. Simmer for 15 minutes and then taste. Adjust seasonings.
Spray Pam on the bottom and side of a regular 2 Qt casserole dish.
Lightly butter one side of each tortilla.
Place 3 tortillas on the bottom of the casserole butter side up. Top with 1/3 of the meat mix. Sprinkle with a bit of cheese, add three more tortillas, another third of the meat bean mixture, and cheese. Add the last two tortillas, last bit of meat and beans and top with cheese.
Cover and bake for about 40 minutes in a 350 oven or until a fork easily pierces the tortillas in the center and it is all bubbly and hot.
The recipe does a pretty good job of filling that casserole dish. If you overfill the casserole or use too much cheese you may get some bubble over. If you are worried, put a piece of aluminum foil on the rack beneath the casserole dish. Or, just use a larger casserole so you don't have to worry about that.
This recipe is easily doubled so you can use one of those great larger rectangular pans.