Connie’s Mexican Mess


My family of 10 LOVES this meal! Since it serves 12 or so, it is perfect for large families or for serving to company.

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law more than 25 years ago and have been serving it ever since. I have seen similar dishes called “Mexican Stack” or “Taco Salad” but she called it “Mexican Mess” and so do we.

One of the great things about this dish is its simplicity! I can whip it together in under half an hour, and if I’m planning to be away from home during my usual late afternoon dinner prep time, I can put this together in the Crock-Pot (I believe you Yankees call this a “slow cooker”) and let it simmer on low for a couple of hours until we are ready to dive in.

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Mexican Mess

Yield – 12 servings

Preparation Time – 10 minutes

Cooking Time – 25 minutes


  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 15 oz. cans pinto beans
  • 2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 2 sm. cans chopped green chiles
  • Doritos
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced onions, jalepenos, diced tomatoes, guacamole, and any other toppings you like


  • Brown ground beef and onion. Drain.
  • Add beans, tomato sauce, and chiles.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sometimes I throw in some taco seasoning if I’m feeling racy.
  • Simmer 15 minutes or longer.
  • Serve on top of Doritos.
  • Top with cheese and desired toppings.
  • Enjoy!!!

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  1. Shannon says

    I take offense to being called a yankee…. share another condescending post and you can watch your follows decrease…. FYI even us (insert racial slur here) know how to make taco salad… In the past you’ve been very good at sharing new idea… Maybe your new book is getting in the way of your blogging.

    • ann b says

      Gosh lady I realize your post is was made last year-but gee- y’all won the war or are you upset that even though y’all destroyed our fields we still managed to come up with fantastic recipes and ways to use our crops and we share with you —get over yourself

    • Bruce says

      Welcome to the United States of the Offended.

      Some people just enjoy finding something to be offended about. Never mind the context or implication behind the original statement. And where did (racial slur) come from? More sensitivity issues?
      I married a yankee…and she is proud of it! I met her in Tennessee…we now live in Texas. Funny that when I refer to her as a “yankee” she doesnt get all bent out of shape. Stupid people….

  2. Laura says

    Since when is that a racial slur? Recipe sounds good, if not overly healthy. I’m going to make it but serve over regular corn tortilla chips. Thanks.

  3. Steph says

    Yikes! Shannon does not sound like a very nice person!

    This sounds like an easy recipe. The Doritos are an interesting addition. My suggestions would be to use thin plain corn chips or tortilla chips, and to add in a bit of cumin to give it a smoky depth of flavor. I like cumin a lot so I add a lot, but you could start out with a teaspoon or two and increase from there. Also, cumin isn’t hot, so you wouldn’t be adding any fire to the dish. :O)

    Take it easy ya’ll!

  4. Jean says

    Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed today? Even if you take offense to being called a Yankee (born & raised in OH, so that would include me), that one word does not make the whole post condescending. I’m sure that Connie did not use it in a condescending manner, and if Erin thought that it was a condescending post, she would not have posted it. Even if she thought that one word would be a problem, she would have edited the post. You are certainly entitled to your opinion and feelings, but don’t blow it all out of proportion just because of one word. Chill out!

  5. Dee says

    I’m sure she wouldn’t want someone like you following her anyway. If your bothered by her ways then move on….

    BTW Connie and Erin I laughed at the Yankee comment-hilarious! (And I’m a “yankee” and I don’t care!)

  6. Tara Hargrave says

    Is there a way to print out the recipe…..a button that takes off a lot of the extra stuff on here and lets you print the recipe to a simple page? Or do you just have to copy and paste it to a word document? I don’t mind having the logo and the story behind it so I know where it came from. Just wondering if I am not seeing something….thanks.

  7. says

    Lezlee, Definitely brown and drain the beef first. Then just toss everything together in the Crock-Pot.

    Shannon, I certainly meant no offense in using the term “yankee”. I was really just being silly and I’m sorry you were upset by it.

  8. says

    Really like the recipe – I’m just not sure how its only a $5.00 dinner. Doritos are 2.88 on sale and hambuger is running 2.00/lb on sale. Maybe I missed something?

  9. Liloldlady says

    There is a difference between a Crock-Pot and a Slow-Cooker, as I am sure you are aware. But for those who may not be aware, Crock-Pot is the registered trademark, formerly of Rival, now of Jarden Corp. All other similar type products are known as slow-cookers (a generic term, not a regional term).

  10. chris says

    sure not a 5 dollar meal here……. maybe it was when she got the recipe 25 yrs ago…… ground beef and doritos alone are going to be 10, then add everything else even if you have some things on hand it will run you about 15, and thats on the low end.

  11. says

    Just a reminder, I am feeding 10 in my family, so my all recipes will be around $10.

    We get Doritos on sale for $2.50 and we don’t use the enitre bag in this dish. Each person gets 6-8 chips.

    Ground beef on sale is $1.99/lb, so the entire meal comes in under $10. For an average family, that would be a $5 meal.

  12. Cheryl Chavez says

    My kids used to love this! Instead of corn chips you can use torn up corn tortillas, my hubby likes flour, but trust me on this, the heavy yellow corn stand up much better and have a beter taste! But here where I live. . this is not a five dollar meal! Hamburger is rediculous in price!!! Seriously! They are are darn pround of their meat here! That would be about a $15.00 meal because of the hamburger. A five pound chub is twelve dollars!!! A three pound is about $5.00!!!
    I would use leftover home cooked pinto beans and maybe use 2 packages of Pride of the Farm Taco seasoned flavor ground turkey (you get this in Wal Mart in 1 pound chubs and they cost about a dollar, I noticed that last week there were $1.19, but still is a good price) by the way. . this looks a lot like refried beans when you first open the chub. . .but as you brown it in the pan, it starts to look like meat. It is really quite good. You do not need to add any salt or other seasonings.
    I would use my own fresh roasted frozen green chilies (That is a BIG thing here, every fall people will buy cases of green chili an get them roasted. We just got our case and I packaged them up in snack size baggies containing four chilies to a bag. Way cheaper than buying them by the can IF you use a lot of them and we do. . . or rather my hubby likes them. I can do without. I figured it to be be about 7 cents a bag . . same amount as a small can of chiles)
    I sometimes use a large can of diced tomatoes instead of the tomatoe sauce, I drain it if there is a lot juice.
    And yes, I would use my big crock pot.
    Doing t this way, the cost would probably be about $5.00 for me.

  13. says

    I’m loving your site!

    I use a very similar recipe, and it will easily make 12 servings
    $1.39 ground turkey chub, browned
    $1.19 Save A Lot brand nacho tortilla chips
    $1.59 8 oz. Mexican blend cheese
    $ .99 1 head lettuce ($0.00 if my garden is producing!)
    $ .99 or less for 2 fresh tomatoes ($0.00 if my garden has tomatoes)
    $.79 1 large can black olives (slice them myself), optional
    pennies for cooking up my own dry pinto beans
    pennies for homemade taco seasoning
    $ .50 estimate for homemade French dressing
    $6.75 – $7.54 approximate total for 12 servings.

  14. Sabrina says

    Ok so I am just seeing this…silly! Connie is totally on track though, my mom is from the north and proudly calls herself a yankee. I will say just put it in the crock pot and she will say crock pot is a name brand sweatheart, you should say put it in the slow cooker. From there we go into coke, lol. I will ask do you want a coke(which mean any kids of soda) and she will say , no thanks, dont like coke but I will take another kind of pop! There is a slight difference in the dialect/ usage of words

  15. Marianne Bodine says

    Just found your website and am enjoying poking around and looking at your recipes. They all sound great! I was intrigued by the name of this dish…”Mexican Mess”…sounded like something I would like, and easy, if I can use my crockpot. (I was born in California, raised in Washington State, and married a man from Missouri…and we always called a crockpot a crockpot. :)) I would also say, that for a smaller family like mine, it is easily a $5 dish. Thanks for sharing it!

  16. Jessica says

    Holy Moly! I was looking for a new supply of crockpot recipes but i find the fact that you called the chiles green completely offensive…therefore I’m going to take time out of my day to write in about it. Oh wait, the chiles ARE green…such as folks ARE yankees! Oh, nevermind! Some people are ridiculous little creatures! Just for the sake of reference, I will add Websters explanation of a Yankee…I’m afraid that no where in this does it say it’s a racial slur.

    yan·kee/ˈyaNGkē/Noun: 1.A person who lives in, or is from, the US.
    2.An inhabitant of New England or one of the northern states.

    And since this post entertained me today…we will be having Mexican Mess this evening for dinner! I love this site…thank you for taking your time to share with others who are not just looking for a reason to be a victim!

  17. Molly says

    I’ve been making this recipe since my 7th grade Science teacher passed it on to our class for some reason. That was 37 years ago! Making it this Friday for girl’s night with my friends. Love it!


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