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My tasty low-carb version of this popular recipe from the 1970's.  This is a fun recipe to put together.  If you like, you can skip the crust.  I think many of us remember John Wayne fondly.  We even have an island off the coast of Panama called John Wayne Island!

Anyway I digress.  This is a wonderful, substantial casserole, with or without the crust.  Obviously, if you go to the trouble of making the crust, it will be a bit more special.

This sort of casserole is something you can take to potlucks and there will be no leftovers.  At home the family will be wanting seconds!

Where did the name for this casserole come from?  Apparently, John Wayne contributed the original recipe in 1979 to a cookbook called Cooking with Love from Cara and Friends.  The cookbook was a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.  My version is, of course, much different than the original recipe.  The original recipe had a biscuit crust.  I tried that but the crust got soggy.  My fabulous pie crust holds up much better and thus tastes a whole lot better.  

This recipe is a real family pleaser!  There is so much flavor in this casserole.

Ground Beef Casseroles you may also enjoy:

Southwest Spicy Hamburger Casserole

Big Mac Casserole with Big Mac Sauce

Beef Lombardi Casserole

Cabbage Lasagna

Greek Moussaka


Fabulous Pie Crust  (recipe below)

Meat Filling:

1 onion, chopped (optional)

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 lbs lean ground beef (0.9 kg)

3/4 cup water (175 mL)

Taco Seasoning, recipe below, OR

  use 2 to 3 tbsp commercial Taco seasoning

11/2 tsp salt (7 mL)


1/2 cup sour cream (125 mL)

1/2 cup mayonnaise (125 mL)

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, (250 mL)


1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, (250 mL)


2 Roma tomatoes, sliced thinly

4 oz can diced green chilies, OR (113 g)

  1 green pepper, chopped and cooked

Homemade Taco Seasoning (or use commercial):

1 tbsp chili powder (15 ml)

11/2 tsp cumin (7 mL)

1 tsp black pepper (5 mL)

1/2 tsp onion powder (2 mL)

1/2 tsp salt (2 mL)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (2 mL)

1/2 tsp oregano (2 mL)

1/4 tsp garlic powder (1 mL)



Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).  Grease a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) casserole dish.


Prepare Pie Crust recipe below, if using.


Meat Filling:  In large nonstick frying pan, cook onion (if using) and red bell pepper until softening.  Add ground beef, breaking it up small with a spatula and cook until browned. If need be, pour off excess fat; however, this will not be necessary if the ground beef is lean.  Add water, Taco seasoning and salt.  Bring to the boil and then simmer until the sauce thickens sufficiently.


Homemade Taco Seasoning:   In small bowl, whisk together chili powder, cumin, black pepper, onion powder, salt, red pepper flakes, oregano and garlic powder.


Topping:  In medium bowl, combine sour cream and mayonnaise and half the Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.


Spread the meat filling over top of the prepared pie crust, if using a pie crust, otherwise simply spread the meat filling in the greased casserole dish. Top with a layer of sliced tomatoes and the green chilies, OR cooked green pepper. Spread the sour cream mixture evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes.

Yield:  10 servings

Without crust/with crust

400.3/485.2 calories

23.8/27.9 g protein

32.0/41.9 g fat

0.9/0.9 g fiber

2.7/6.9 g net carbs


This is my favorite pie crust these days.  It holds up pretty well to moist fillings which is good.

Fabulous Pie Crust:

13/cups Gluten-Free Bake Mix 2, OR (425 mL)

  Keto Bake Mix, OR almond flour plus 2 tbsp (30 mL) oat fiber

1 tsp glucomannan powder, optional (5 mL)

1/tsp salt (0.5 mL)

2 tbsp cold butter (30 mL)

1 oz cream cheese (30 g)

1 large egg

1/tsp almond, OR vanilla extract (1 mL)


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). 

Fabulous Pie Crust:  In medium bowl, combine Gluten-Free Bake Mix 2, bulk sweetener (if using), glucomannan powder (if using) and salt.  

In food processor or in bowl with mixer, process butter, cream cheese, egg and almond, OR vanilla extract.  Add dry ingredients: process on low speed until a dough ball forms.  If the dough ball is too wet, add a little more bake mix, one tablespoon (15 mL) at a time. 

My original instructions said to wrap dough ball in plastic wrap and chill about 3 hours (I think 2 hours max otherwise the dough could get hard) in the refrigerator or freeze for a shorter amount of time, if time is a factor; however, I have found you can roll it out immediately, too.  Roll out between sheets of parchment or wax paper.  Roll out into a rectangle to fit casserole dish.  Using paper to help, invert crust over the dish. Be prepared to press the dough out and patch where necessary. You can press the dough a little up the sides of the casserole dish I use scissors to cut the edges and then patch along the edges where necessary.  Chill pie crust in freezer about 20 minutes until firm. 

Cover chilled crust with aluminum foil and bake about 15 minutes. Allow crust to cool and then add filling and bake.

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