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Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Sometimes it’s not about putting a stylish or fancy dinner on the table. Rather, it’s about cooking something that’s comforting, delicious, filling, and quick. A dish that the family will dive into with gusto and with no worries of leftovers. In these situations it doesn’t hurt if the meal is something inexpensive at the same time. My wife’s famous chicken enchilada casserole is all these things and more.

If you’d prefer, you can think of this as a Southwest style lasagna, with the pasta replaced by corn tortillas. In this particular dish we used white corn tortillas, but yellow, blue or red work just as well, so don’t feel like you have to follow along to the letter.

This is a very versatile recipe. feel free to add whatever you’d like. Want more layers, go for it. Feel like adding some black beans and corn, do it!. Toss in some onions, olives, diced tomatoes or jalapeños. Whatever you’ve got lying around will work.

You can easily substitute pork for the chicken, or use cooked ground pork, chicken or turkey and still use the green sauce. If you’ve got some queso fresco or jack cheese, add that in, too, it will only make things more interesting. This is a free-for-all kind of meal that you and the kids can have fun making together. let’s walk through the steps for putting together the basic version, shall we?

First you’ll want to get yourself about 3 cups of grated cheese. we used sharp cheddar for this round:

Grated-Cheddar

From there, pull or shred some chicken, pork, or turkey. (We got a deal on BBQ seasoned chicken leg quarters, so that’s what we used.):
Shredded-Chicken

Next, grab some of your favorite green enchilada sauce and open it up. we’re big fans of Las Palmas, but any sauce will do if your family likes it, and of course homemade is absolutely fine, too:

Enchilada-Sauce

Take about 3 tablespoons of sauce and spread it on the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking dish:spread-sauce

Arrange a layer of tortillas over the sauce, just like you would with a lasagna:

layer-tortillas

Sprinkle half of the chicken over the top of the tortillas:

add-chicken

Then a third of the cheese:

add-cheese

Add a ladle or so of enchilada sauce:

Add-Sauce

Then just repeat. layer tortillas, add chicken, cheese and sauce. Add a last layer of tortillas and the rest of the cheese and sauce, then pop the thing into a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until it’s nice and bubbly and the cheese is completely melted.  You’ll end up with this beauty here:

chicken-enchilada-casserole-done

All that’s left is to let it cool for about 10 minutes, then dish it up and eat, like so:

chicken-enchilada-casserole-plated

Trust me when I say that nobody that’s ever tried this walked away dissatisfied. It’s simple, fairly quick, especially if you’re using leftover chicken, and it’s an amazing way to get the family to the table with very little fuss.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound chicken, chopped, pulled or shredded
  • 2 small or 1 large can of your favorite green enchilada sauce or salsa
  • 24 corn tortillas
Method
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 3 tablespoons of the enchilada sauce or salsa into the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish and spread to cover the entire bottom.
  2. Arrange 8 corn tortillas into a single layer covering the entire bottom of the dish. Add 1/2 of the chicken. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over the chicken and add 1/3 of the remaining sauce. Repeat for the next layer.
  3. Arrange the remaining tortillas in a single layer over the top. Add the remaining sauce and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.
  4. Cut into 8 equal portions and serve with a side salad or some Mexican Rice
  5. Share and enjoy!

What we would have done differently if we’d thought of it at the time:

As I mentioned before, this is a dish that begs for additions and changes. The only limit to the ingredients you can add to this is your own pantry and imagination.  I think avocado would be amazing, but then so would about 100 other things. just go nuts here and have fun with it!

Do you have a go-to quick weeknight dish like this one? How about ideas for additions. we’d love to hear about it, so drop us a comment, a tweet, a Facebook message, whatever. Your opinions matter to us, we want to hear them.

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