I have another wonderful, make-ahead, delicious casserole for you today, King Ranch Chicken Casserole. It’s loaded with cheese, tomatoes, peppers and green chilies and juicy chicken sandwiched between layers of corn tortillas. I’ve been making it for more years than I can count and it’s always been one of my favorites. I’ll bet after one taste it will be one of yours too!
There are lots of different versions around, but no matter how you make it, this classic, slightly spicy Tex-Mex chicken casserole is delicious. The name supposedly comes from King Ranch, one of the largest ranches in the United States even though apparently there is no direct connection to the ranch. Like the Baked Ziti Casserole I shared with you yesterday, this casserole freezes beautifully and travels well. It’s also perfect for pot-luck dinners, taking to friends, and serving to company. Again, like the Baked Ziti, this recipe makes a good bit and serves eight, so I split everything up and made 2 casseroles, froze both and took one to my husband’s daughter and her family in Atlanta, and brought one to North Carolina with us.
To make this scrumptious King Ranch Chicken Casserole, gather your ingredients which are: onion, bell pepper, olive oil, cooked chicken, cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soups, a can of diced tomato and green chilies, chili powder, salt and pepper, garlic powder, corn tortillas and shredded cheddar cheese. Yes, there are a fair number of ingredients, but there are only a few easy steps to assemble everything and it’s ready to pop in the oven.
To get started, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil, onion and bell pepper. Saute, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Add the chicken, cream of mushroom and chicken soups, a can of diced tomato and green chiles, chili powder, salt and pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well and cook for 2-3 more minutes or until everything is heated.
Tear the tortillas into pieces. (You can also substitute tortilla chips.) Put a layer of the tortilla pieces on the bottom of your baking dish which has been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray for easy clean-up. Top with 1/3 of the chicken mixture and 2/3 cup of cheese. Repeat the layers twice, ending with the cheese.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Serve immediately.
*You can use a rotisserie chicken from your deli. I just drizzled a little olive oil and added salt and pepper to 2 chicken breasts because that’s what I had and roasted them for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
**To make one casserole that serves 8, use a 9×13 baking dish. I wanted two casseroles, so I used 2 8×8 disposable aluminum pans and divided the mixture. If freezing, cover tightly and place in the freezer. When ready to cook, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed. If the casserole is still frozen, add about 20 minutes to the baking time.
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