Cooking in the Time of COVID: Enchilada Casserole


Image by Jada Teague

Devyn Waits, Contributing Writer

Prep Time:  30 minutes     Cook Time:  40 minutes     Total Time:  1 hour 10 minutes

Servings: 6-8


  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 4-ounce can of green chilies, diced 
  • 12 6-inch corn tortillas cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 10-ounce can of cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 2.25-ounce can of sliced black olives (optional)
  • 1 15-ounce can of enchilada sauce
  • 3 1/2 cups of shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
Photo by Devyn Waits


  1. Preheat the oven to 400℉.
  2. Lightly spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish and set aside.
  3. Add olive oil to a large pot and cook ground turkey with green chiles, yellow onion, bell pepper and taco seasoning packet until ground turkey is brown and crumbly.
  4. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Stir in tortilla pieces with cream of mushroom soup, black olives, 3/4 of the can of diced tomatoes, enchilada sauce and 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese and mix to combine the ingredients.
  6. Transfer to the casserole dish and cover with foil.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Add chopped green onions, remaining tomatoes and cheese. 
  9. Return to the oven and bake uncovered until the cheese has melted.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  11. Bon appetit!


Tips & Tricks

  • For extra flavoring, add two more stalks of green onion.
  • If you want a more “saucy” casserole, add a half can or more of enchilada sauce.
  • You can substitute the meat with ground beef or shredded chicken instead of ground turkey.



While information on the origins of enchilada casserole can’t be found, the two dishes that make up this recipe, casserole and enchiladas, have quite a detailed and complex history. 

Enchiladas originated from Mexico centuries ago when the Mayans would roll up fish meat with corn tortillas, creating a delicious dish for the locals to eat. Papadzules, a traditional dish of Maya, is quite similar to the enchilada. It comes from the Yucatan region. For this dish, pumpkinseed was used to dip the corn tortillas in and then chopped, boiled eggs were used for the tortillas to be rolled on top of them. After that, the tortillas were smothered with tomato sauce. 

Photo by Devyn Waits

Papadzules were mainly reserved for nobles and special occasions. Nowadays, its descendant, the enchilada, is made simply with a corn tortilla stuffed with meat and cheese with a choice to add guacamole, sour cream and many other options to add as toppings. This dish has such a deeply ingrained history with Mexico that it was even featured in one of the very first Mexican cookbooks in the early 1800s. 

In contrast, the casserole was created later in the century by French-Canadian immigrant Elmire Jolicoeur, who made a culinary breakthrough in Berlin, New Hampshire; however, the dish became quite famous in the new world during the 19th century when people began making casseroles based off the dishes immigrants would bring over to the U.S. 

The dish was also heavily embraced by housewives in America. The casserole allowed citizens to be economically and financially conservative during the Great Depression and WWII (during and after) when food was scarce. Additionally, during the 1950s and 60s, casserole saved the day when housewives would wrestle with making an appetizing dinner with yesterday’s leftovers. Not only was the dish economical, but it was also convenient, becoming a go-to recipe for women across America.