Wednesday, September 8, 2010

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

This is a quick and easy favorite around our house especially when we have left over baked or beer can chicken.  My Mom perfected King Ranch Chicken Casserole back when she had a catering business, so I use a version of her recipe.  My little kids won't really eat it because the Rotel makes it a bit too spicy, but my teenagers love it.  Here it is:

I use about half a cooked chicken de-boned usually left over from beer can chicken which is a way of baking whole chickens on little metal stands that hold half full beer cans.  The beer supposedly steams up the middle making a very tender, juicy chicken.  It works!  My husband has this method down to a science, so we eat it often.

Anyway, you can use cooked chicken breasts or any kind of baked chicken as long as the meat is already cooked.   The baked chickens that you buy at the grocer's deli work great, too.

Cut the chicken into messy chunks using a knife and big fork.

Spray the bottom and sides of a 13" x 9" baking dish with Pam.  I like the one with olive oil, but the regular kind will do.

Line bottom of baking dish with chicken.

You will need 12 corn tortillas torn into bite size pieces.

I enlisted a tiny helper for this task.  She always wants to be held while I'm cooking dinner which REALLY complicates things.  When I give her a job, she is as happy as a little lark!

Next, stir in one can of Cream of Celery or Cream of Mushroom soup.  I prefer to use Cream of Mushroom, but I usually just end up having to use whichever one is in my pantry.

Then, pour in a can of Original Rotel.

Add one and a half cups of shredded cheese.  Today I used cheddar, but I have also used Colby Jack and it works well, too.

Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, stir everything together, and smooth out the top a bit.

Sprinkle half a cup of the same shredded cheese evenly on the top, and it's ready to go into the 400 degree oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes making sure the cheese has melted and the tortillas have had time to soften.

Look at all that yummy, cheesy goodness!

Serve with black beans or pinto beans (or both, like I do), a green salad, and dinner rolls and you've got yourself a meal.

I like Bush's Best for canned beans.  The pinto beans are no comparison to a homemade pot of beans that have been cooked slowly all day with lots of bacon, but they are okay if you don't have time to do it up right.  The black beans are awesome.  Just add salt.


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