Friday, February 8, 2013

King Ranch Chicken

King Ranch Chicken will always be one of my favourite casseroles.  Back in my Pensacola Christian College days, they used to serve it in the Varsity Commons ... and on that day "main line" was FULL.  After I finished school, I went on a hunt to find the recipe, with several fails, and finally, through a combination of a couple versions, I think I've come close to the real deal!

It has a bit of a tex-mex flare mixed with a chicken-and-noodles kind of heartiness. As a busy mom, I love it because assembly is quick ... and it's so easy to make ahead of time to pop in the freezer.  I also love that making it gluten-free is very easy with just a couple swaps.

1 rotisserie chicken, de-boned and shredded (no skin)
1 regular-sized bag Tostitos, crunched up
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (I love the fire-roasted by Hunts)
1 4 oz can chopped green chilis
1 can cream of chicken soup*
1 can cream of mushroom soup*
1 onion, chopped
olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt + a pinch
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper + a pinch
3-4 cups shredded cheddar, or cheddar blend

* To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute one can of Progresso Gluten-free Creamy Mushroom soup mixed well with two gluten-free chicken bouillon cubes for the two cans of "cream of" soup.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sauté onions, seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper, in a little olive oil until golden.  Set aside.

Mix together soups, tomatoes, green chilis, sautéd onion, salt and pepper.

Add crunched up chips to the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking dish. (Dot is always willing to help out when he sees me crunching up the chips ...)

Pour half the soup mixture over the chips.  Top with all the chicken, then half the cheese.  Add the remaining soup mixture on top. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Out of the oven, remove foil and top with remaining cheese.  Bake another 20 minutes, uncovered, until cheese is bubbly and starts to brown.

You can make this a full meal by adding a salad ... or even a few apples, cut up for dessert.

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