Friday, October 17, 2014

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

The first time I ate king ranch chicken casserole was at Moonshine's Sunday brunch a couple of years ago on our babymoon to Austin, TX. While browsing Pinterest recently, I came across a few recipes which reminded me of this yummy dish. There are several variations out there but I eventually landed on one and made several adaptations. Here is my rendition of king ranch chicken casserole. It was a big hit at our house this week! 

Recipe adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff

1 small yellow onion
1/2 c Mezzetta roasted bell peppers
1 can Ro*Tel original diced tomatoes & green chiles, undrained
4 cloves of garlic
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 T Mexican spice mixture*
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 bag thick corn tortilla chips
1 bag (2 c) shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Place (roughly chopped) onion, bell peppers, undrained can of Ro*Tel, and garlic cloves into food processor and pulse until thoroughly chopped. In a large mixing bowl, combine chopped veggies with cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, and Mexican spice mixture. Add cubed raw chicken breast to the mixture. (If you have time, I found that letting the chicken and soup mixture marinate for a few hours in the fridge before assembling the casserole makes for really juicy flavorful chicken.) Line buttered 9x13 casserole dish with tortilla chips, top chips with chicken mixture, then top chicken mixture with 1 cup of Mexican cheese. Repeat chip, chicken mixture, and cheese layers once more. Lastly, sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of Mexican cheese. Bake uncovered at 350ºF for 45-55 minutes. Serve over roughly crushed corn tortilla chips and top with sour cream and guacamole.

*I keep a container of this Mexican spice mixture on hand at all times and use it in lieu of store bought taco seasoning packets. It can be used not only for tacos but it works great for fajitas, chili, or as a rub for roasted chicken/turkey/pork.

1 T chili powder
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1 t sea salt
1 t black pepper
1 t thyme
1/2 t white pepper
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t dried oregano
1/4 t cayenne pepper

Mix spices together and keep in airtight container.

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