Lawnmower Tacos. This freezer-friendly meal is literally layers of crushed crunchy ground beef tacos, baked and served with classic taco toppings -the perfect kid-approved dinner for busy weeknights.
Between practices, games, and appointments, sometimes dinner is an afterthought, but I love having relaxing dinners with my family every night. It gives us a chance to reconnect and learn about each other’s days.
However, cooking a meal from scratch every night cuts into the time we could be spending chatting around the dinner table, so a freezer meal every now and then is a life-saver.
I was given a copy of Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead & Freeze Cookbook and it has seriously stepped my freezer meal game up. I let my kids pick a recipe and naturally they picked these “lawnmower tacos.” Don’t worry. No lawnmowers were used in the making of these tacos but they do look like they were run over by a lawnmower -hence, the goofy nickname.
By having this lawnmower taco casserole in the freezer, you can simply bake it whenever you’re ready and then let everyone top their plate as they please. My favorite perk of lawnmower tacos is you can make two -one for now and one to freeze for later. Enjoy!
- Ground Beef: An 80/20 makes make juicy, flavorful taco meat. Anything with higher fat may be too greasy.
- Taco Seasoning: gives the ground beef spicy taco flavor.
- Flour: helps thicken the chicken broth mixture the beef is simmered in.
- Chicken Broth: is great for making tacos because it adds another layer of flavor to the meat.
- Tortilla Chips: make sure they’re fresh!
- Shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese: I definitely recommend shredding the cheese yourself. Bagged shredded cheese doesn’t melt as nicely as freshly grated.
- Toppings: lettuce, olives, salsa, sour cream, etc. Whatever you love on tacos!
How to Make // The Steps
Step 1: Brown ground beef:
In a saute pan, over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until it is no longer pink. Drain excess fat.
Step 2: Add seasoning and flour:
To the saute pan, add taco seasoning and flour. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
Step 3: Add broth:
Then, add chicken broth and simmer until the liquid thickens (about 15 minutes).
Step 4: Crush tortilla chips:
Meanwhile, place the tortilla chips in a sealed bag and gently crush them into smaller bite-sized pieces.
Step 5: Assemble the casserole:
Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with cooking spray and then layer chips, taco meat, and cheese in the pan followed by another layer in that same order. Once the meat cools, at this point you can freeze the casserole and bake it later. When you’re ready to bake it, be sure to thaw it in the fridge first.
Step 6: Bake casserole:
Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until the tortillas are lightly toasted and the cheese is melted. Serve with a generous amount of taco toppings and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks //
- This is a great recipe to double for a crowd or bake one now and freeze the other for later.
- To crush the tortilla chips, place them in a sealed plastic baggie and gently press on the bag to break the chips into smaller pieces.
- To make a spicy lawnmower taco bake, use a store-bought spicy taco mix or add some cayenne pepper to the ground beef mixture
Why are Lawnmower Tacos So Good?
- Freezer-friendly. This taco bake is a lifesaver when there’s no time to cook.
- Quick and easy dinner the kids will love.
- Great for weeknights dinners and potlucks.
- Lawnmower tacos are the ultimate comfort food.
Variations of Freezer Taco Casserole //
- Meatless Taco Casserole: Use your favorite plant-based ground “beef” and add a layer of refried beans in between the “beef” and cheese.
- Add veggies to the meat: To sneak in some vegetables, brown the ground beef with diced onion and bell pepper.
- More taco topping ideas: In addition to lettuce, olives, salsa and sour cream, you can top lawnmower tacos with black beans, corn kernels, diced tomato, pico de Gallo, jalapenos, diced onion, cilantro, guacamole, etc.
- You don’t have to use tortillas. Any thick, sturdy corn chip will do like Doritos or Fritos!
How to Store and Reheat //
Once cooked, store any leftover lawnmower tacos in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave or oven.
Make-Ahead and Freezer Options //
Once you have assembled the layers and everything has cooled down, cover the dish and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw the casserole in the fridge overnight and then bake at 325 degrees until everything is heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
This recipe is named lawnmower tacos for no other reason than the casserole looks like it took a trip through the blades of a lawnmower.
To make this in a slow cooker, cook the taco meat mixture on the stove and then layer the casserole in a greased slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until the cheese is melted and bubbly (about an hour).
Thursday 14th of November 2013
That's one of the easiest and best tasting recipes I've ever seen. The best thing about it is that you can prepare it and store it in the freezer and when you come back from work you simply put it into the oven and you are good to go!
Sunday 17th of November 2013
I know! I just made this a few days ago. My kids love it just as much every single time I make it.
Tuesday 12th of November 2013
I love this recipe and you can store it in the freezer and just put it into the oven and have something great to eat!
Sunday 17th of November 2013
Sunday 3rd of November 2013
This recipe is so awesome. I will try make with my wife
Saturday 26th of October 2013
Do you think making this in 2 8x8 pans would affect the recipe?
Saturday 26th of October 2013
Nope, not at all.
Friday 12th of July 2013
I have never freezed chips before. Anyway, thanks for the recipe, bakedbree!
Monday 22nd of July 2013
You are welcome!