There's nothing pretty about this meal. Except the smell... Oh, and the taste, of course. But a casserole is a casserole. It's comfort food. It's convenience food. It's filling food. This is not an exact science. I've included measurements as a reference so that you know about how much you'll need, but there's no need to actually measure things out when making it. Just put however much you like! Now, I normally like to just get to business, but I felt like I needed to explain a couple things before digging in:
If someone has different preferences (spicy/not spicy, no bell peppers, etc.), you can either divide it into two (like I did in the pictures) or just leave the chips off the top of half of it to mark which side has/doesn't have a certain ingredient.
Use whatever salsa you like. We are so lucky to live in the southwest where we can get excellent salsa (without a bunch of extra "stuff" added) from the grocery store. But use whatever kind you like. Or make your own! If you have a little extra time, try making this Pico de Gallo to put in it!
It is my personal opinion that monterey jack is a vastly undervalued and underused cheese.
(For printable PDF, click HERE)
Serves: 6-8 | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes
1-2 cups Salsa (3-5 cups if it's a very chunky Pico de Gallo)
3 cups refried beans
3 cups black or garbanzo beans
5 cups Monterey Jack and/or Cheddar cheese
About 15 corn Tortillas
1 large bell pepper
1 cup diced tomatoes (whatever kind you like/have lying around)
Tortilla chips/strips (to add a little crunch)
Gather all ingredients and a 9x13 in baking dish
Drain and rinse black/garbanzo beans
Cover the bottom of the dish with a thin layer of salsa
Rip tortillas in half (or smaller, if you like) and create a mosaic covering all of the salsa
Add refried beans (the "dollop and squish/spread" technique works best so you don't move the tortillas too much. Just remember: it's in the wrist)
Dice tomatoes and pepper and sprinkle onto the casserole
Add black/garbanzo beans and a layer of grated cheese
Repeat the process by adding another layer of tortillas, refried beans, salsa, tomatoes, peppers, black/garbanzo beans, and cheese.
Add one more layer of tortillas and then cheese
Crush a couple handfuls of tortilla chips (or use tortilla strips meant for salads) and sprinkle on top. I like to save a little bit of the cheese to put over the chips so that the cheese gets crispy and the chips don't just burn.
Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes then broil until the top is browned and the cheese is getting crispy.