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Although I’ve been baking since I was an itty-bitty thing, I didn’t start cooking dinners until I was engaged. Once my then boy friend popped the question (for real) my Mom had me start cooking for our family so I’d know what I was doing once I got married. Having a sit-down meal together for dinner was a huge part of growing up for me, and I couldn’t wait to do it with my very own family.
After we’d been married a few months I realized one very important thing, namely that my husband did not have the same set of taste buds that my father did. In fact, he had just about the opposite. While I was very proud of the fact I hadn’t burned a dinner, I could tell he was less than enthusiastic about many of the recipes I had made, simply because they weren’t his kind of food. This left me scrambling frantically and I sent an SOS email to his mom asking for some of his favorite recipes from growing up.
She came to the rescue and the handful of childhood favorites she passed along are still in heavy rotation around here, including this little gem! Although I’ve seen King Ranch Chicken recipes here and there no two are the same, with the exception of them all calling for chicken, cheese, and RO*TEL. So today I’m sharing this family favorite casserole that’s sure to please and an easy, filling meal to get on the table any day of the week.
The biggest challenge I had once I figured out what kinds of meals to cook that we would all love, was how to make sure that we didn’t have SO much of them. Our family loves casseroles, but most of the time they call for cooking huge 11X9 or larger amounts that could feed a family twice our size. While I love utilizing leftovers for lunches, there’s only so much of one meal you can eat after awhile! I have come up with some awesome hacks that includes making a semi-freezer meal, pinching pennies, and a splash of creativity that has worked wonders for us, so I hope it will for you too! Oh! And I’m throwing in an easy-peasy semi-homemade South West Salad Recipe as your side. Just because I’m awesome like that!
Here’s what you’ll need for this warm and delicious recipe!
King Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipe
Ingredients & Items Needed:
- 1 Can RO*TEL Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies (I like to buy mild for us, but they have medium and hot options, too!)
- 1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
- 1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 1/2 Can Chicken Broth
- 1/2 Onion Chopped
- 2 Chicken Breasts (for family of 4 portion)
- Tortillas (I used Whole Wheat but your favorite variety works)
- Shredded Cheese (I love Cheddar or Fiesta Blends)
- PAM Spray (I chose their Simply Coconut Oil one this time because I’m currently crushing on Coconut Oil, but all of their options are awesome)
- 8×8 Pan (glass is my favorite to cook with)
- 2 Sauce Pans for heating & boiling
Of course, I always pick up everything needed during my weekly run to Walmart! Love handy one stop shopping and I know just when to hit the “sweet spot” where I have the store nice and uncrowded for quick and easy shopping!
Step One: Preheat the Oven to 350 Degrees & put water on to boil in one of the saucepans. While these are warming up it’s time to tackle the first part of the hack!
Penny Pinching & Time Saving Kitchen Hack: Buy Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts in Mega-Packs for Cheap. Trim the fat off of them and then divide into groups of 2 breasts. Use two for the meal you’re cooking and then freeze the rest in freezer bags. Thaw when ready to use and those nights you can put the meat in the recipe right away perfectly portioned and no trimming needed!
Step 2 Carefully place the 2 chicken breasts you’ll be using for this meal into the hot/boiling water and set a timer for 30 minutes
Step 3 Dice your onion
Step 4 Mix together Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Chicken, Chicken Broth, RO*TEL, and diced onion in the saucepan. Heat to medium until well blended and then drop to low until chicken is finished boiling, stirring occasionally
Step 5: Spray the bottom and sides of your 8×8 Dish with PAM.
Step 6: Once your chicken is cooked through shred it using 2 forks (or use your mixer you fancy person, you, can you believe I still don’t have one?) & place in bottom of 8×8 pan.
Step 7: Cover your shredded chicken with tortillas of choice. If you get the extra large tortillas just one might be enough to cover it all. Since I chose the smaller whole wheat tortillas I tear them in half and put against the edges so they fit perfectly! Do this until chicken is completely covered.
Step 8: Pour half of your heated soup mixture on top of the tortillas–don’t pour it all on!! Save the 2nd half for the next part of the perfectly portion hack!
Perfectly Portion Hack: If you’re not a big fan of the taste of entire freezer meals, but like being able to portion, try freezing just one part of a meal that you have extra of. Reserving and freezing half of the soup mixture here means that the next time you put together this meal it will just be dumping and heating, which is great for a busy night! This also helps keep the portion perfect for four people!
Step 9: Top with Shredded Cheese & Place in Oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is completely melted and the dish is heated through.
While your meal is finishing up is the perfect time to put together this tasty and easy side dish!
Semi-Homemade South West Salad Recipe
Since I tend to cook more time consuming main dishes I like my side to be simple. This salad is one of my favorites because it’s delicious and fresh while being super easy to pull together in just a few minutes!
- Pre-Cut & Bagged Lettuce
- Baby Carrots
- Sliced Mushrooms
- Olives (if you really want a dump and stir you can opt for pre-sliced olives, too!)
- Guacamole (I love the mini pre-packaged ones, just the right size for this!)
- Sour Cream
- Crushed Tortilla Chips
Really you can pick any veggies you want, these all just happen to be what I was craving and what looked the tastiest in the store today!
Dump the lettuce into a bowl, chop up the veggies to taste (I just roughly chopped mine), add to lettuce and stir.
In ramekin or very small bowl combine one part guacamole to one part sour cream & stir (this makes the most delicious creamy dressing)
Dish up your salad and top with crushed tortilla chips!
Pair with your hot and delicious King Ranch Chicken Casserole and you have a meal that will make the whole family happy!
I’m always looking for new, delicious dinner ideas, and I’m sure you are too, so for even more amazing & easy to make recipes that are perfect visit this link: Yes You Can Recipes!