Archive for November, 2011

November 29, 2011

King Ranch Chicken Casserole – Two Versions

I came home last night without stopping by the store first… and THEN decided that I wanted to cook.  But I didn’t feel like going back out.  So, I decided I was in the mood to improvise.  I started out with a new recipe from the new Best of Home Cooking Cookbook (gift from Shaina!).  First, I’ll give the original recipe – and then I’ll tell you how I did my version.  Disclaimer:  what I did will likely sound crazy, but I thought it was fun and more about learning than anything.  I was lucky that it actually came out tasting good!

King Ranch Chicken Casserole (p 188 of cookbook)

**items that I edited in my version

  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup**
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup**
  • 1 (10) oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 2 tbsp sour cream**
  • 1 white onion, diced small**
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced small**
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced small**
  • 2 jalapeno, deeded, diced fine (optional)
  • 2 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • meat from one cooked chicken, roughly shredded**
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated, divded
  • 8-10 corn tortillas, quartered.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine broth, soups, tomatoes, sour cream, onions, peppers and spices in bowl.  Thoroughly mix.  Reserve a 1/2 cup of mixture and place to the side.
  3. Place half of chicken in a lightly oiled 9×13 casserole dish.  Spoon over half of the sauce, spread evenly.  Top with 1/3 of cheese.  Top with half the tortillas.  A single layer is fine, don’t need to be fancy 🙂
  4. Repeat: top with rest of chicken and then spread with rest of sauce. Top with other 1/3 of cheese and then remainder of tortilla quarters.
  5. Cover with reserved 1/2 cup of sauce and then top with last of the cheese!
  6. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.  Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

My improvisations:

  • left out the onions and peppers…. because I didn’t have any AND Kirk doesn’t like them 🙂
  • left out the sour cream, also because I didn’t have any
  • used canned jalapenos
  • Instead of a whole cooked chicken, we poached two chicken breasts and then shredded them using this recipe
  • Instead of canned soup, I made it from scratch using this online recipe:
    • sauteed 1 stalk celery, diced in 1 TBSP butter with 1 pressed garlic clove and a splash of lemon juice – then pull out of pan and reserve on the side until after the roux starts
    • used butter instead of vegetable oil for the roux
    • SKIP SKIP SKIP the sugar!
    • add:  1 cube bouillon, 1/8 tsp poultry seasoning
    • up the flour or add cornstarch to get it to thicken

Lesson Learned?  It’s ok to experiment!  Just first decide that you are OK eating later than normal, be sure to take it slow and prep all ingredients before starting and either listen to music or something that will keep you in the zone so you can actually enjoy the experience!

Happy Cooking!!