Chili, Olive, and Cheese Casserole

Sunday August 26, 2012

This is the best chili casserole I have ever had!!!!” said Beth’s friend Gina DeLeone. “I’ll probably make this one sometime soon too. I love this stuff, make it for every pot luck at school, and don’t mind eating leftovers for days.  I dare you to not eat it with a spoon right out of the crock!”

Gina’s casserole is a true short cut with canned chili–possibly sort of a scandal for true chili heads (“In California, my mom buys the large cans, preferable Dennison, one hot and one regular. Here in New Hampshire, we don’t have Dennison. We also don’t have large cans. Don’t ask me, I don’t know why. So, I use 4-6 regular 15-ounce cans.”).  So open the cans, dump ‘em into the crock, stir it up, cover, and cook into a sort of dense souffle (the tortilla chips meld into the beans), dubbed “chile goo” at the local kindergarten bursting with budding gourmets and cooks of the future.  Adds Gina, “I serve it with sour cream, chopped onions, and more grated cheese if I’m feeling spunky, but it is great just plain.” Kids will love this.  Put it on after breakfast in time for a hot lunch.

We at Not Your Mother’s test kitchen add 1 to 2 chopped marinated jalapeño peppers en escabeche for an X-rated, mouth-tingling  adult version. We live to find dishes this easy that taste this good. Consider this the back to school dish of the week.


Slow Cooker: Large Round
Machine Setting and Cook Time: Low Heat: 4 to 5 hours
Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 40-ounce cans chili (vegetarian, fat-free, regular with beef, or combination)
  • 1 15-ounce can pitted black olives, drained and sliced
  • 1 12- to 15-ounce can red enchilada sauce, regular or hot
  • 2 cups (8-ounces) shredded medium or sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 of a 14-ounce bag fresh tortilla chips, coarsely crushed
  • Few splashes Tabasco or your favorite hot pepper sauce, to taste


Place the chili, olives, enchilada sauce, cheese, and half the tortilla chips into the crock and stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours, until bubbly hot and cheese is melted. At the end, stir in the remaining tortilla chips, broken up and Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste.

Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. (c) 2005, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2012

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

Your Comments

2 comments Comments Feed
  1. Jessica 28/09/2012 at 12:05 pm

    I have been making this casserole to terrific reviews for potlucks for several years. We were having a potluck with a new group of friends in a new town, and I knew this was the dish to bring. Unfortunately my cookbooks are all in boxes (we just moved) and the copy of Beth’s cookbook is always checked out of the local library. So I was relieved to find this recipe on line.The entire cookbook is terrific. The chili casserole recipe is impressive and delicious! I have to go make it right now.

  2. Beth 13/11/2012 at 5:07 am

    oh that chili casserole is sooooooo good. I could make it right now as well. thanks for writing. BH

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