Mexican Layer CasseroleMexican food lovers everywhere will enjoy this spicy casserole. It’s quick to fix but long on flavor with just the right amount of spice and a little crunch for added taste appeal.

1 pound lean ground beef
1 (16 oz.) jar thick and chunky salsa*
8 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 (15 oz.) can Spanish rice
1-1/4 cups coarsely crushed tortilla chips**

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a 10 inch skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until thoroughly cooked, stirring often, for about 5 to 7 minutes; drain and return to skillet. Stir in 1 cup of the salsa and heat 2 minutes or until hot.

2. Place 4 (6 inch) tortillas in bottom of a 2 quart baking dish sprayed with cooking spray, overlapping to fit. In a medium bowl, combine refried beans and remaining salsa. Spoon evenly over the tortillas.

3. Top with 1/2 the meat mixture and 1 cup of the cheese. Layer 4 more tortillas over the cheese and spread Spanish rice evenly over tortillas. Top with the remaining meat mixture and 1 cup of cheese. Spread crushed tortillas on top.

4. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until hot in the center and bubbling along the sides. Makes 6 servings,

* You decide the amount of “heat” you desire by choosing mild, medium or hot salsa.

** The broken chips in the bottom of the bag are perfect for using in this recipe as they are already coarsely crushed.

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