Chicken Tortilla Casserole

This Chicken Tortilla Casserole has earned the glowing endorsement of one of the most important food critics of our time: a toddler.




This post is sponsored by Tabasco



Layers of juicy shredded chicken, stretchy cheese, fluffy corn tortillas, and a flavorful Tex-Mex-spiced tomato sauce, all stacked together then baked to gooey perfection, this Chicken Tortilla Casserole was awarded second-helpings status by my friend’s 20-month-old little girl. I brought it over to her house for dinner, and the little lady ate her entire serving, then requested “Erin make” (toddler-speak for “what Erin made”) for lunch the next day.
My friend loved the recipe so much, she asked me for the recipe, then made a double batch, one for her family and one for a neighborhood food swap.

Forget the Michelin stars. The endorsement of a toddler and her parents is all the culinary accolades I need to know that this Chicken Tortilla Casserole is a keeper.




Part Mexican lasagna, part chicken enchilada, this Chicken Tortilla Casserole is entirely attainable on a busy weeknight. I love that it’s simple enough for even a novice of chef to prepare with success, yet it has the comforting, from-scratch taste of a real, homemade meal.
To give the Chicken Tortilla Casserole loads of Mexican flavor, I added Tabasco Green Jalapeno Sauce. I was introduced to “the green” in April, when I visited Tabasco’s headquarters on Avery Island, Louisiana. I’ve been a sincere fan of the company since, both for its products and for the company’s family history and integrity. 


The jalapeno sauce is perfect for this Chicken Tortilla Casserole because, although it is very flavorful, it’s relatively mild. A few quick dashes immediately increase the flavor complexity of the dish, without adding too much heat.





If you are looking for an easy-to-make, healthy, and/or freezer friendly recipe that every member of your family, big and small, can enjoy, this Chicken Tortilla Casserole is for you. If you try it, I’d love to know what you and your family think too!



Ingredients

  •  1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts* — cooked and shredded
  •  2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  •  1 large onion — chopped
  •  1 green bell pepper — cored and chopped
  •  1 red bell pepper — cored and chopped
  •  1 jalapeno — cored and diced
  •  2 cloves garlic
  •  2 teaspoons ground cumin
  •  1 teaspoon dried oregano
  •  1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  •  1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  •  1 can tomato sauce — (28 ounces)
  •  1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  •  3 tablespoons Tabasco Jalapeno Sauce — plus additional for serving
  •  18 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  •  2 cups freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese — (8 ounces)
  •  Optional — for serving: salsa, sliced avocados, lime juice, plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream), chopped fresh cilantro


Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9x13-inch casserole dish with baking spray. If needed, cook and shred chicken according to these easy steps.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high, then add the onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and jalapeno. Saute until the veggies are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce, chicken stock, and Tabasco Jalapeno sauce, then stir to combine. Let the sauce simmer for 12 minutes.
  3. Assemble the casserole: Spread a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange 6 tortillas on top so that they cover the sauce, overlapping as needed. Top with 1/3 of the chicken, 1/2 cup of the cheese, then 1/3 of the remaining sauce. Repeat the process twice more, sprinkling the last 1/2 cup of the cheese over the top.
  4. Cover then pan with foil, then bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil, return the pan to the oven, then bake for 10 additional minutes, until the casserole is hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted. Let rest 5 minutes. Serve hot with desired toppings.