Cooking with Jorge: Corn Tortilla Casserole

This is by far one of the most delicious and easiest recipes I have ever attempted. It is the kind of recipe that allows the cook to easily change the ingredients to get the most desirable dish. Not to mention, it is a casserole and I love a good casserole, plus it is cheap to make.

The Corn Tortilla and Ground Chuck Casserole is a recipe that will feed for a couple of days after you make it. With the semester just starting, time is tight, and it is difficult to cook a real meal each night for dinner.

Along with being a delicious dish, if the ingredients are paired right, it can be a great source of many vitamins and minerals that the body needs to function properly. First, the corn tortilla is a healthier option than the regular flour tortilla. When compared side by side, the corn tortilla is much healthier.

On some nutritional points, it is hard to not admit the corn tortilla is a better option. A corn tortilla has 40 calories while a flour tortilla has 110. When it comes to sodium, the flour tortilla packs 320 milligrams of sodium per tortilla while the corn tortilla has five milligrams of sodium.

A diet too high in sodium is unhealthy. In fact, excess sodium is a key factor in high blood pressure and problems with the heart and kidneys. Also, with excess sodium in your system, your body begins to retain more fluid in the lungs or stomach causing swelling in the hands and ankles.

I am not telling everyone to run from the salt and banish it from your diet because sodium is essential to the body. But like everything else, it needs to be monitored carefully. Make sure to consult your doctor before entering into a severely low-sodium diet.

For those of you who are already in or are beginning a low-sodium diet, make sure to remember the corn tortilla. Finding foods that are low-sodium and prepackaged can be a difficult experience.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Executive Summary 2010, an adult should “reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) and further reduce intake to 1,500 mg among persons who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.”

 The recommendation of 1,500 milligrams of sodium is for about half of the US population, including children.




Start to finish: 45 minutes


Servings: about 6



 2 teaspoons olive oil

 1 pound mushrooms (optional)

 1 garlic clove, minced

 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

 1 can of black beans

 1 package of corn tortillas

 2 cups salsa

 2 cups shredded cheese of your choosing (I used Monterey Jack but will be trying Pepper Jack soon)

 1 pound ground chuck




1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, heat some oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and prepare a baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Brown the ground chuck and reserve it in a bowl. Cook mushrooms in the same skillet with new oil adding salt and pepper and cayenne pepper and garlic. Cook until aromatic, about 8 minutes.

3. When mushrooms are cooked, layer the casserole in a baking dish. One layer of tortilla then the ground chuck and mushrooms then the salsa and cheese. Repeat. Cover with tortillas and cheese.

4. Cover in foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover and enjoy!