Chicken Enchilada Casserole – great for a small family or a big crowd!

Hello again!

Finding a great recipe is always exciting and of course I ALWAYS want to share.  In my book, a great recipe will meet the following criteria:

  • uses mostly common ingredients which you would normally buy at the grocery store (no running to a zillion different specialty shops for me)
  • includes ingredients which you already know you and your family will enjoy
  • has an ingredient list shorter than your Ketubah (if you don’t have a Ketubah or know what it is, google it and you have now learned a new word in addition to gaining a great new recipe today)
  • does not need unusual cooking tools which you don’t already have in your kitchen ( The exception to this rule is during the Winter Holiday Season. You will indeed want an excuse to wander into your nearest Williams-Sonoma to enjoy the yummy smells and the peppermint bark samples.  Be extra nice to the redhead passing them out and she might just give you an extra sample.)
  • bonus:  can be prepared either entirely or partially ahead of time

This is one of the few recipes I have ever been inspired to try after watching a Martha Stewart show.  Typically, her recipes are too complicated to excite me.  Standard Martha recipes usually start with “plant a pear tree”, harvest the pears with a tool you made yourself, etc…  I have great respect and admiration for Martha.  However, since I do actually live in the real world and don’t have a staff in my kitchen to do all the grunt work, usually her recipes are a bigger undertaking than I am interested in.

Ironically, my favorite “Martha” recipe listed here is not hers at all.  It was a recipe she featured which was given to her from her make-up artist, Mary Curran.  Mary says it is perfect for feeding a hungry crowd.  I agree Mary!

The BONUS to this recipe is you will prepare it the day before and put it in the fridge overnight.  Then, if you are not home in time to put it in the oven, you can call your teenager, husband, wife, kitty cat or Labradoodle to put it in the oven for you.  Just kidding, my Labradoodle has not taught my kitty cat to use pot holders.  Yet.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole   (Must be prepared one day ahead of cooking for best results)

TIME SAVER TIP:  This recipe gives instructions assuming you will cook the chicken yourself.  However, it will be just as delicious if you buy a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket and remove the meat from the bones and coarsely chop.

Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves ( feel free to use any cooked chicken you prefer.)
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas cut into 1-inch strips ( I prefer the corn tortillas in the refrigerator section at the supermarket as they usually do not have hydrogenated oils while the ones on the dry shelves have many more preservatives)
  • ½ cup mild or medium salsa
  • 1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (10.75-ounce) can low-sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 medium onion, grated or very finely chopped
  • 1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced (frozen mushrooms are fine if you defrost them first)
  • 1 pound shredded mild cheddar cheese (can be reduced to 8 oz if you want to cut down on the cheesiness)
  • 1 (16-ounce) container sour cream  ( you can use low-fat sour cream for a good result but avoid fat-free)
  • Optional:  1 cup frozen corn defrosted

DIRECTIONS

(skip steps 1 – 3 if you are using pre-cooked chicken)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper and wrap in parchment-paper-lined foil; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to oven and bake until chicken is cooked though, about 1 hour.
  3. Remove skin from chicken and discard. Remove chicken from bones and cut into small pieces; discard bones and set chicken aside.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, combine salsa, both soups, and onions.  (and corn if desired)
  5. Spread 1/2 cup of the salsa mixture in bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  6. Place half of the tortilla strips in an even layer over salsa mixture, followed by half of the chicken, half of the mushrooms, half of the remaining salsa mixture, half of the sour cream, and half of the cheese.
  7. Repeat process with remaining ingredients.
  8. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Bake at 300 degrees until casserole is heated through and cheese is melted, about 1 hour.
  10. Serve and enjoy the compliments!

Some Casserole Tips:

  • When you are ready to cook the casserole, I prefer to take it out and put it on the counter and allow it to come to room temperature before placing it in the oven.  I feel it cooks more evenly and better if it is not starting from a cold temperature.  Use your judgement as to how much time this takes.  I usually take it out an hour before I make it.
  • When making casseroles like this one, I like to double the recipe and make two.  I love the idea of making two meals and only having one clean-up.  You can either freeze the second one or use the second to make dinner for a friend.
  • I saw this great tip on how to freeze casseroles.   Freeze the entire casserole by lining the base of the dish with freezer paper before you assemble the casserole.  Then add the ingredients and make casserole as you normally would and cover it well. Now freeze the casserole in the dish. When it’s frozen solid, remove from the dish (it will come out as a big frozen block very easily), rewrap the food and put back in the freezer.  Make sure to label it and date it so you know what that big block in the freezer contains.  
  • This saves room in the freezer and allows you to continue using the dish. When you want the item for a meal, unwrap and place in the original dish to defrost and cook.

Please let me know if you try this recipe by commenting and letting me know your thoughts.  Also, remember you are in your own kitchen!  There are no rules as to what you “MUST” do.  If you like other cheeses or vegetables than what is listed, try your own variation.

Hope to hear your comments!

 

 

2 thoughts on “Chicken Enchilada Casserole – great for a small family or a big crowd!

Add yours

  1. Lauren, This is the answer I found online. However, I am sure you are just wondering if it is fits the same purpose. I used Parchment for cooking. It is amazing to use as you would use foil to line a pan because it serves the same purpose but you don’t have to worry about it sticking.
    For this purpose, freezing the casserole, it would most likely work just as well to use either one.
    Thanks for reading and commenting!

    General Info
    Reynolds® Freezer Paper is a plastic-coated Kraft paper used for wrapping foods for freezing and for general household purposes. The paper gives the product strength and durability as well as an easy-to-write-on surface, while the plastic coating provides a barrier to air and moisture to protect the quality, flavor and nutrition of foods during freezing.

    Reynolds® Parchment Paper

    General Info
    Reynolds® Parchment Paper is a high quality, nonstick paper that is ovenproof up to 450 degrees. It is excellent for baking cookies, cakes, breads or pizza, cooking fish or chicken en papillote, and making candy or frozen desserts. It also works great when used to cover foods in the microwave oven. Professional bakers and cooks have been using it for years. Now you too can use The Simple Secret to Better Baking® … and so much more!

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