Esta's Kitchen: Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a Doritos Casserole

Esta stocks up on her favorite ingredients.
Don Parkinson - Esta stocks up on her favorite ingredients.

Happy Cinco De Mayo y’all!!! I know it’s a few days late, but things move very slow down South. So you shouldn’t be surprised.

As far as I can tell this holiday isn’t as big of a deal around here as it is up on the Cape. What I realize though, after being away for a few months, is that Cape Codders will look for any reason to celebrate during the winter/not quite spring months.

And why not really? It’s a long winter with only a cold ocean to jump into. You basically have two choices to pass the time... drinkin’ and gettin’ freaky. No judgment either way.

There are a ton of Mexican restaurants down here. PTL. Just give me some white cheese dip and I’m a happy camper.

That being said, I decided that the celebration should stay inside the house. Why? Because I’m getting old people. Last night I went to bed before 9 PM. I was asleep almost as soon as my head hit the bed.

Now before you judge remember: A. I didn’t judge your freakiness and B. My alarm goes off at 5:33 (yes, I like odd #’s), and this commuting thing kills me! As soon as I get rich I’m hiring a driver. Concidentally, this driver will be hot and look good in both the back and front seats.

Kilt Lifter vs. PBR

Before we dive into my Southern version of Cinco, I want to share a beer with you all that I tested the other day. It’s called “Kilt Lifter”, and it’s brewed by Moylan’s Brewery, out of California. I admit it...I absolutely bought it because it was called “Kilt Lifter”. Eh...what can I say...I’m all about labels. It was excellent, and defs made me want to lift my kilt.

Clear, strong and smooth. It was fresh tasting. It’s their version of the classic pale ale, and an excellent version it is. It’s the kind of beer that you can drink for awhile and not get sick of it.

Some of the beers that I review have so much flavor that drinking a ton of them at once might get old, but this one was something you could drink several of and still be happy. Kind of like how Rooms drinks PBR... only better! Because everything is better than PBR. It even passed Dr. B’s taste test... and this is a man who brings his own whiskey to restaurants “just in case they don’t have good whiskey." 

I decided that the best way to embrace my inner-Southerner (but celebrate this holiday which isn’t actually a holiday to me) was to do a version of a Mexican casserole that I’ve only found down South. And it involves Doritos.

Doritos: The Perfect Snack

I’m not sure what people call it down here... I just know that it’s at almost all the potlucks I’ve attended. And it’s.awesome. I has DORITOS! This falls in the category of “Can’t Go Wrong." Other things you can’t go wrong with (in case you are keeping track): adding bacon grease, kissing on the first date (saves time later), and wearing black.

I chose a beer called “Single-Wide” by Boulevard Brewing Co for the dish. Not only is the name clearly Southern, but it’s brewed in Missouri, which makes it a regional beer. P.S. If you don’t know what “single-wide” refers to then I simply shrug my shoulders at you. 

Single-wide is an IPA and a strong one. I tasted some bitter and citrus hops. It’s a good beer to cook strong dishes with, it has an intense flavor that can stand up to a lot of flavor. It would be perfect in chili! I don’t know if it added much to the Doritos casserole, but some of the flavor came through when you bit into the chips. So that was fun.

One thing: when making Mexican dishes such as chili, burritos, or Doritos Casserole (hey, it's kinda of Mexican) don’t just throw in a pre-made packaged seasoning. I mean have some respect for yourself. Make things taste differently than what’s in that package. Better yet, KNOW what kind of seasonings you are putting in your food. I promise you there is nothing in that “taco seasoning” package that you don’t have in your pantry. And only the Good Lord knows how long those seasonings have been there on that shelf.

Sorry for the rant, but packaged taco seasoning offends me.

On to the show!


2 lb of ground beef, or turkey
1 bag of Doritos
1 cup of beer (strong one is preferred)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cans of diced tomatoes, drained
1 can of green chilies
2 cups of shredded sharp cheese
½ cup milk
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 T of chili powder
1T of garlic powder
1 T of cumin
dash of cayenne (more if desired)
1 T of onion powder
salt to taste
1 diced Jalapeno (optional)
2 T of cilantro (optional)
1 cup of shredded sharp cheese for topping (optional)


Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Saute beef and onions and jalapeno. When mostly done, add ¾ cup of the beer and all the spices. Let mixture cook till beef is done and the liquid has reduced. Add tomatoes, green chilies. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in soup and milk till incorporated. Remove from heat. Add the rest of the beer and the cheese. Stir till mixed together.

In a 13"x9” baking dish (first spray with some kind of non-stick coating), pour entire bag of Doritos, and pat down to break up chips a bit (you don’t want them to small). Pour beef mixture on top of chips. You want to move the top mixture around a bit so that the soup mixture makes it all the way through the chips. This isn’t a huge deal if you don’t so don’t freak out about it. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese if desired.

Back for 30 mins till bubbly and browned around edges. I serve with a fresh corn and tomato salad (you know...because I’m a health nut), and sour cream.

Can’t get enough of EB? Check out her southern journey at

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