King Ranch Chicken Casserole

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This recipe has been a favorite of mine for a long time. I used to make it with the “cream soups ” but now I make it all from scratch and it is so wort it. My casserole hating husband even likes this. It is one of the only main dish casseroles that he will eat.

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It takes a little more effort than the normal recipe but comes together quite quickly to where this could become a weeknight staple at your house. Also this casserole uses pantry staples. Making this a meal you can prepare when you may not know what to cook or did not plan something. Casseroles are not only easy to prepare but make great leftovers too. This King Ranch casserole is sort of like a enchilada casserole, yet it is creamy- which makes this delicious! It is a tall stack of creamy enchilada goodness.

If you have never had this casserole it is a must make for very soon.

King Ranch Casserole

Ingredients

1 and 1/2 pounds of chicken

4 teaspoons of fresh lime juice

4 teaspoons chili powder

Salt

Peper

1/4 cup olive oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 poblano ( or jalapeno ) pepper, diced with seeds and membrane removed

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup chicken broth

1 can rotel

1/2 cup half and half

1/3 cup sour cream or greek yogurt

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

10 corn tortillas

oil for frying tortillas ( if want )

1 1/2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded or Monterey jack to keep heat down

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions

Note: To save time cook the chicken the night before or when you have time and have it ready, and just season with the chili powder and lime juice.

  1. Season chicken with 2 teaspoons of lime juice and 2 teaspoons of chili powder and salt and pepper. In a skillet over medium heat  cook the chicken in the olive oil on each side for about 10 minutes each. Shred with 2 forks. There should be about 3 cups of chicken. You can also use pre shredded and cooked chicken and season
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on medium low, add the onions and the pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until the onions and peppers are soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in the he flour,cumin, cayenne pepper, and remaining 2 teaspoons of chili powder. Cook for 1 more minute. If you don’t like the spice just leave the chili powder out of this step.
  3. Pour in the chicken broth and cook until the mixture is thick. Stir in the half and half  with the rotel. Simmer on low for 15 minutes.
  4. Uncover the pot and stir in the sour cream or Greek yogurt and the remaining 2 teaspoons of lime juice. add the cilantro. Turn off the heat.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9x 13 pan.
  6. Soften the tortillas on the stove with a little oil or in the microwave for about 3o seconds.
  7. Assemble the casserole. Ladle 1/2 cup sauce on the bottom of baking dish. Layer half the tortillas along the bottom of the pan. Make sure the bottom of the pan is covered ripping the tortillas in half to fill gaps if needed. Add half the chicken, half the remaining sauce and  1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese.
  8. Repeat the layers leaving the cheese layer on top. bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until top is browned and cheese bubbling. Serve with more sour cream and cilantro if desired.

Recipe Source: adapted from Homesick Texan

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