KING RANCH CHICKEN CASSEROLE

Introduction:

When it comes to comfort food, few dishes can rival the timeless appeal of a classic casserole. And if you’re searching for a hearty, satisfying meal that’s sure to please the whole family, look no further than King Ranch Chicken Casserole. This beloved Texan dish combines tender chicken, zesty tomatoes, creamy cheese, and tortilla strips into a mouthwatering medley of flavors. In this article, we’ll explore the irresistible charm of King Ranch Chicken Casserole and provide you with a delicious recipe to recreate it in your own kitchen.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped sweet yellow onion
  • 1 chopped bell pepper any color, I used a red bell pepper
  • 10.5 ounces can of cream of chicken soup undiluted
  • 10.5 ounces can of cream of mushroom soup undiluted
  • 10 ounces can of mild Rotel undrained
  • 3 cups shredded cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro optional
  • 12 soft taco-size corn tortillas quartered
  • 4 cups freshly shredded Colby and Monterey jack cheese divided into 1 and 2

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Add the olive oil, chopped onion, and chopped bell pepper to a 4 to 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute for 5-7 minutes or until the onions and bell peppers are softened. Remove from the heat.
  3. Whisk in the undiluted cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, and the undrained Rotel. Whisk until well combined.
  4. Stir in the shredded chicken and chopped cilantro.
  5. Lightly spray a 913 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with half of the quartered corn tortillas.
  6. Spoon half of the chicken mixture over the bottom layer of corn tortillas.
  7. Sprinkle 1 cups of the shredded cheese over the chicken layer.
  8. Layer the remaining corn tortillas over the cheese layer.
  9. Spread the remaining chicken mixture over the corn tortillas.
  10. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the chicken mixture.
  11. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve while hot.

Serving Tips:

  1. Allow the casserole to cool for a few minutes after baking to allow the flavors to meld together and to prevent burning your mouth.
  2. Garnish each serving with fresh toppings like sliced jalapenos, diced onions, chopped cilantro, or a dollop of sour cream for added flavor and texture.
  3. Serve the casserole alongside complementary dishes such as a crisp green salad, Mexican rice, or refried beans for a complete and satisfying meal.
  4. To make individual servings, use a large spoon or spatula to carefully lift out portions from the baking dish, ensuring each serving has an equal amount of chicken, tortillas, and cheese.

Storage Tips:

  1. If you have leftovers, allow the casserole to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container or wrapping it tightly with aluminum foil.
  2. Refrigerate any leftover casserole promptly, and it will keep well for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
  3. To reheat the casserole, you can either microwave individual portions for quick and easy reheating or place the entire dish in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.
  4. If you plan to freeze the casserole for future use, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil or transfer it to a freezer-safe container. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
  5. When ready to enjoy, thaw the frozen casserole overnight in the refrigerator before reheating it following the same instructions as above.

FAQs:

  1. Can I use store-bought rotisserie chicken for this recipe?
    • Absolutely! Using store-bought rotisserie chicken is a convenient and time-saving option. Simply shred the chicken and incorporate it into the casserole as directed in the recipe.
  2. Can I make King Ranch Chicken Casserole ahead of time?
    • Yes, you can prepare the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake it. Simply assemble the casserole according to the recipe instructions, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking. When ready to bake, remove the casserole from the refrigerator, uncover it, and bake as directed.
  3. Can I make King Ranch Chicken Casserole vegetarian-friendly?
    • Absolutely! You can easily make a vegetarian version of this casserole by omitting the chicken and replacing it with additional vegetables or beans. Consider adding ingredients like black beans, corn, bell peppers, or spinach to create a flavorful and satisfying vegetarian option.
  4. Can I freeze King Ranch Chicken Casserole?
    • Yes, King Ranch Chicken Casserole freezes well and is a great make-ahead option. After baking the casserole, allow it to cool completely, then wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil or transfer it to a freezer-safe container. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw the frozen casserole overnight in the refrigerator before reheating it in the oven.
  5. What can I serve with King Ranch Chicken Casserole?
    • King Ranch Chicken Casserole pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Some popular options include a crisp green salad, Mexican rice, refried beans, or roasted vegetables. You can also serve it with tortilla chips or warm flour tortillas for a complete Tex-Mex meal. Feel free to customize your sides based on your personal preferences and dietary restrictions.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, King Ranch Chicken Casserole is a quintessential comfort food that’s guaranteed to satisfy your cravings and warm your soul. With its bold Tex-Mex flavors, comforting layers, and easy preparation, it’s no wonder this dish has stood the test of time. Whether you’re hosting a family dinner or simply craving a cozy meal at home, King Ranch Chicken Casserole is sure to become a favorite in your recipe repertoire. So gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to indulge in a taste of Texas with this irresistible casserole!