Calling ALL Mexican Food Lovers!
Did I tell you how much I love Mexican food? When I first had Mexican food, I was twenty (I think), and it definitely wasn’t love at first try. It was very different from what I had growing up, and I had to slowly acquire the taste for it. Now, fast forward more than a decade later (Yes. MORE THAN A DECADE. Wowza), we have Mexican food all the time and LOVE it. Helps that we live in food hub of Tex-Mex/Mexican cuisine, Austin, Texas, where we can get all the yummy Mexican food we want, anytime, ALL THE TIME. Tacos, quesadilla, enchiladas, tostadas, toquitos, burritos – GIVE THEM TO ME!
This Chicken Enchilada Casserole recipe is a twist to the classic Enchilada. It is, however, still THE REAL DEAL. Every now and then I would attempt to make Enchiladas the traditional way, where I would dip each corn tortilla in enchilada sauce, fill it with meat and roll it up, and repeat for about a dozen tortillas. It’s out-of-this-world delicious, but it’s also a lot of work, messy, and time-consuming. There are many nights when that is just not doable.
I wish it wasn’t the case, but WE ARE BUSY PEOPLE. And sometimes food calls for short cuts. Without sacrificing taste, of course.
That’s when I started making Chicken Enchilada Casserole. It calls for ingredients similar to a classic Enchilada, only it is so much easier to put together. It is cooked in a crock pot (you can WALK AWAY while it cooks, for hours) and casserole dish (you can WALK AWAY. AGAIN) – ensuring lots of good flavors combining and permeating into the dish.
Excuse my obsession with CAPS today. Over-excitement? Extreme enchilada enthusiasm? The need to shout at the top of my lungs? Your guess is as good as mine.
Shall we begin?
Start hours before dinner time. And start with a crock pot. Add defrosted chicken breast, red enchilada sauce, and diced onion into crock pot. Different enchilada sauce will taste different. Just like everything, some will be better than others. Taste the enchilada sauce before you throw it in. Some enchilada sauce can be super bland. If that is the case, here are some spices you can throw into the crock pot to enhance the flavor – cumin, chili powder, coriander, garlic (fresh or powdered form), salt & pepper. Taste your food (unless, of course, it cannot be eaten raw. Then err…DON’T taste your food. You get the gist) before you put them in if you are unfamiliar with it. This way we we won’t be rudely surprised by the taste of it at the very end when we cannot tweak it anymore.
Let chicken cook in crock pot on high for 4 hours. Then, using a fork, shred chicken and continue cooking for another hour.
Next: It’s layering time.
- Spoon liquid from the crockpot (no chicken) to the bottom of a 9″x13″ casserole dish
- Then layer corn tortillas, chicken (with some juice), corn, and shredded cheese.
- Repeat Step 2 twice.
To keep the recipe simple, I did not add these, but here are some other items to “layer” into the casserole, if you choose to:
- Jalapeno peppers – Such a classic in Mexican cuisine. It has a kick and a sour tint to it. So be warned if you have spicy food limitation
- Fresh tomatoes – Chop it up and spread it all over. It will be delicious!
- Sour cream – Good way to neutralize the acidity in this dish
- Salsa – LOVE my salsa!
Then send casserole into the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 Degrees. Remove and garnish with fresh cilantro.
YUMMMMERS. Whether that is a word or not, it does not matter.
This really is what I would call a dump and cook recipe. Low touch. Not a lot of time in the kitchen. DELICIOUS. And it feeds many.
With this massive casserole dish, with only two of us to feed, we had it for dinner for many days, lunch for many days. Then dinner again. Then lunch again.
Leftovers – you are a lifesaver!!
My husband and I always say we eat like royalty around here, and with a relatively small budget. We love good food and we love to make good food. YOU can too! I am such a believer that we can make so many types of YUMMY food, just like those from restaurants, right in our homes. With just a little bit of creativity, practice, and prep work.
Try this out and let me know what you think!
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Enchilada recipe made simple! Chicken, red enchilada sauce, cheese, corn tortilla layered and baked in a casserole. YUM!
- 3 lbs chicken breast
- 18 corn tortillas
- 28 oz red enchilada sauce
- 3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
- 1/2 sweet onion diced
- 1 1/2 cup frozen or fresh or canned corn
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
Add defrosted chicken breast, enchilada sauce, diced sweet onion to crock pot. If desire, can also add one or more of these spices to enhance taste - cumin, chili powder, coriander, garlic (fresh or powdered form), salt, or pepper.
Cook on high for 4 hours. Using a fork shred all the chicken breast, and continue cooking for another hour.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F
To assemble casserole, spoon a few spoonfuls of the juice from crock pot to the bottom of a 9"x13" casserole dish.
Layer with corn tortillas, then shredded chicken (with some juice), then corn, then shredded cheese.
Repeat step 5 twice.
Bake casserole for 20-25 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro. Serve and enjoy!