King Ranch Chicken Casserole
I’ll have to admit, this was a new one to me, and I wasn’t prepared to love it as much as I do. First of all, I’m not a fan of corn tortillas. I think their texture is odd, and the flavor can be overpowering. Secondly, there are not a lot of ingredients that go into this, so I was expecting something on the bland side. I was wrong…
King Ranch Chicken comes from Texas, known for BBQ and Tex-Mex. Some Texians believe this Casserole is the state’s “official casserole” if such a thing exists. All I know is it was much better than I expected, and we ate every bit of the 9×13″ dish over the course of a couple of days.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
- 1 chopped green bell pepper
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken *
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can diced tomato and green chiles (Rotel works great)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 12 corn tortillas torn into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese **
- Sour Cream on the side when you serve (optional)
* I poached 2-3 chicken breasts in chicken broth and heavily seasoned it with Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning. Bring to a low boil and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes, or until an internal temperature of at least 165 F. Let cool for another 30 minutes in the cooking liquid (off heat), then dice into bite-sized chunks.
** You can use more cheese; I certainly did.
Preheat oven to 350 F and adjust one of your racks to the middle of the oven.
Over medium-high heat, sauté bell pepper and onion in a large skillet for 5-7 minutes. Make sure your skillet can contain all the ingredients listed above (bigger is better here).
Add diced chicken, Cream of Chicken and Mushroom soups, Rotel, and all the seasonings. Mix well and heat through on medium-low heat.
Lightly grease a 9×13″ casserole dish and add 1/3 of the torn corn tortillas to cover the bottom. Add 1/3 of the chicken mixture and spread evenly. Top with 1/3 of the cheese.
Repeat 2 more times until you have used all the ingredients. This is where you can add more cheese or even a different cheese, like parmesan, if you prefer.
Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes.
Serve with a small side of Sour Cream if you’re feeling adventurous.
This casserole reheats well in the microwave, and it should freeze well if you don’t eat it all in a couple of days. The corn tortillas really added to this dish; without them, the flavor wouldn’t be nearly as good. Some alternate ingredients are jalapeno peppers, fresh garlic, and more bell pepper.
What’s your favorite casserole? Share a link in the comments.
2022 Week 49 -The End is Near
It’s December & the year is coming to a close. I’m fortunate to work for a company that closes over the Christmas holiday, and I’m looking forward to 3 weeks of time off before I hit the ground running in 2023. I’m already counting the days until we get back to warmer weather so I can get back out and do more camping. I noticed today when looking at the calendar & there are 53 weeks in 2022 (because Jan 1, 2022, was on a Saturday), so we’ll have to do our year-end recap that week.
If you’ve left the house in the past 3 years you’ve no doubt seen and used a QR Code, most likely in a restaurant, to access a digital menu. QR Codes have been around for years, but it took a pandemic to make them mainstream (like video calls). But How do QR Codes Work? Review Geek has the details. Pro Tip, if you want to generate a QR Code to make it easier for guests to join your wireless network, check this site out.
And finally… Is real Parmigiano Reggiano actually worth the high price? Ethan Chlebowski breaks it down so you can make up your mind (TLDR, It IS!).
2022 Week 48 – Gobble Gobble, Sniff Sniff
The holidays have officially started, with Thanksgiving being last Thursday. As is the annual tradition at IndyScan.com, we like to share the Ode to Thanksgiving from a 2004 post by Mr. John C. Dvorak, who claims Thanksgiving is an artificial holiday created by none other than President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. I was visiting family over the holiday, and one of the first-year college students had heard the same thing & helped me tell the tale. So what do you think? Do you believe what you were taught in school, or does the Lincoln story make more sense? Leave your comments below.
A friend at work turned me onto a new recipe site run by an Egyptian lady that’s all about Mediterranean Cooking. The Mediterranean Dish has a LOT of great recipes and some new twists on old classics, like Easy Homemade Chicken Shawarma using a sheet pan.
I ended up coming down with ANOTHER head cold over the weekend. First time I remember being sick twice in such a short period of time. After picking up some additional medicine, I noticed something concerning…
I always buy Mucinex Sinus-Max for head colds. It works well for me. I went to take the Yellow pill I had been taking for the past few days and realized what I bought was the “NightShift” version, where the Yellow pill is for NIGHTTIME. The pill looks the same, with the three chevron marks and everything. What a poor design decision by Reckitt (the makers of Mucinex).
And finally… You have to tip your hat to the FBI, who conducted a sting operation called Special Operation Ironside that featured an “Anom” burner phone, targeted to criminals who snatched them up and fell right into the trap.
2022-Week 42 & 43 – Catching Up
I didn’t post last weekend because I was out of town for a wedding (and I forgot due to everything going on). So this week is a catch-up post covering a few things from the past 2 weeks.
The trees are looking quite colorful this week, and I was going to try & go camping this weekend, but most of Indiana is under a Red Flag Warning. This means no fires, and I’m sorry, but my idea of camping is building a nice fire to cook on and sit next to into the evening. I also don’t want to get into a situation where someone else starts a fire and get caught up in it. So because of the burn ban, I decided to stay home and catch up on a few things…
Last week Apple released some updated products, one of which is a new AppleTV. The AppleTV is the hub of our entertainment system (and has been for years), but it’s one fault is a really bad remote control. It’s so bad that I use a Harmony Ultimate remote to control the AppleTV. The last version of the AppleTV had a redesigned remote, but I held off because I had a solution in place. Well, the latest iteration, utilizing USB-C charging and a major processor chip, led me to order the upgrade. I should have a delivery waiting for me in Early November & I’m looking forward to trying out the new remote and increased performance of the AppleTV Hub.
If you love watching food travel shows, you’ll love these resources that help you locate a restaurant you’ve seen on TV. This is especially helpful when you travel, and you’re looking for something different
- Food Network – Browse Restaurants by Show
- TV Food Maps – Explore By State
- Explore Parts Unknown – Anthony Bourdain’s Online Travel Guide
- Food & Wine – Best Burger in Every State
And finally… It’s a great time to try a new burger. The Jucy Lucy is a cheese stuffed burger that is amazing. I picked up the burger press and waxed paper sheets shown in the video below (I didn’t try them smoked yet) & they turned out PERFECT! I think this is going to be my go-to burger for the forseable future.
2022-Week 40 – Nashville, TN
Once again, it’s that time of year for my annual Leadership Exchange trip. This year we met in Nashville, Tennesee (on previous trips, we traveled to San Diego, CA, and San Antonio, TX). The delegation comprises mainly of senior executives and a few public officials from around the Indianapolis area and is always thought-provoking and impactful. Last Friday was a travel day to get the pre-arrival team on site and ready to hit the ground Saturday morning. I’ve attended this conference for a few years as a delegate, but with my new role at the new company, I’m part of the staff hosting the event, and I get to see how the sausage is made, so to speak.
Driving to Nashville from Indianapolis was uneventful and about as heavy as expected for a Friday. There are always a few people that do everything they can to pass everyone, and this time two of them were met by a KY State Trooper just over a rise in the road. My trusty Valentine One radar detector, and some general road trip common sense, kept me on the right side of the law as the 5-hour trip ticked by without event.
Along the way, I saw a sign. A sign I hadn’t seen in years. A sign for Schlotzsky’s Delli. Remember that place? They closed all of the Indianapolis locations in the early 2000s. My main memory of Schlotzsky’s is the bread they used. Well, I had to stop and see if it was as good as I remembered. This particular location was a drive-thru attached to the side of an IGA grocery store. I ordered the original, and it WAS as good as I remembered, but I forgot one thing, the Original has black olives on it. I love every olive out there except black olives; they just taste strange to me (probably because they’re not salty). Luckily there wasn’t a lot on the sandwich, and I just picked them off and enjoyed the sandwich. In 2018 the IBJ had a blurb saying Schlotzsky’s was planning on returning to Indy, but Covid might have delayed those plans… Fingers crossed, they make it back!
Our daily sessions took place at the Nashville Entranapurial Center one day and the GEODIS Park soccer stadium the next. Fun fact, the architect that designed GEODIS Park is the same one designing Eleven Park in Indianapolis.
I attended 2 of the cultural activities available, the first being a walking tour of the murals all around downtown Nashville and another at the Country Music Hall of Fame, where the Hatch Print Show printing company is located. Both activities were very well led by people very passionate about their respective subjects.
2-weeks out from the trip, they were calling for temps in the 90s, but we had just about perfect weather with temps in the 70s and very low humidity. Nashville is an interesting town with a lot of history. Country music isn’t really my jam, but our trip focused more on business than music, and the networking opportunities were second to none. I always return from this conference with a bunch of new connections and a newfound respect for Indianapolis as we learn that we’re doing a lot of great things in this city. With the leadership I spent several days with, we have many more good things to come.
Wednesday morning got here before we knew it, and it was time to pack up and head back to Indy. I made a quick detour while leaving downtown and stopped at the Nashville Farmers Market. While it was not terribly impressive on a Wednesday, I could see this place being a great place to visit on the weekends when all the stalls and merchants were open.
I mentioned in my initial Tom Bihn Synik 30 review that I’d be traveling with the bag, and it performed flawlessly. It was way heavier than normal since I was carrying 2 laptops, an iPad Pro, and a Surface Pro (we had a lot of presentations to show), along with all the gear to keep things charged and connected. The padded straps were a lifesaver as I drug all my gear all over Nashville for 5 days. 10/10 would recommend if you’re looking for a quality gear bag for everyday use.
And Finally… October 9, 2022, will mark the 15th Year Anniversary of IndyScan.com in its current format we created in 2007. The domain was first registered in 1996 and used for another purpose, making the domain 26 years old this year. I’m going to work on a little retrospective during the month and recap where we were and where we’re going with the Blog in the future. Have a great week!
2022 Week 39 – What the Cluck is Going On?
If you follow the Indianapolis food scene, you have undoubtedly seen the explosion of chicken-focused restaurants popping up all over the place. IndyToday has an interactive map showing most of the places around town that are open or coming soon. But, unfortunately, they missed a few, namely Zaxby’s, Chick-Fil-A, and City Bird (which just opened near my house).
Existing fast food places are revamping their menu to compete as well. For example, Shake Shack partnered with Hot Ones to offer their take on the Spicy Chicken Sando, and Panera is hawking their Chef’s Chicken Sandwich. Burger King is even lacing up the boxing gloves and putting their Ch’King out there for everyone to make fun of (update: It’s already gone). That’s a LOT of Chicken action!
I’ll be the first to admit that I like a nice chicken sandwich, but I’m trying to remember the last time I actually had one! I compared Popeye’s vs. KFC when they were in the headlines & liked both equally well. The Nashville Hot spice that’s so popular these days is just too damn spicy for me. Even when I order it mild, it can be a gamble, depending on who made the sauce that morning (looking at you, Big Lug, and my favorite Willies Special salad). I have a Nashville trip on the calendar & I’m debating if I will make a trip to Prince’s Hot Chicken or just head to my all-time favorite Hugh Baby’s for a Smoked Mushroom and Swiss burger (probably the burger but MAYBE both?).
Another trend, for lack of a better term, is new Fast Food locations not building a dining room! These are pickup only, and it’s kind of like a Ghost Kitchen with a sign and drive-up window. Slate Magazine has an article detailing this new trend. I can honestly say that on the rare times I purchase Fast Food, I eat it in the car anyway, so the lack of a dining room has no impact on me at all.
If you’re going to eat in your car, you’d be wise to pick up a Steering Wheel Desk. These things are game changers, and I have used mine while road tripping to eat in my car, pull out the laptop to do some remote support (last job), or even play a game of solitaire while waiting out a rainstorm while camping. It slips in the pocket behind your passenger seat and is always at the ready.
And finally… According to Toast (the Point of Sale company being used seemingly everywhere), Indiana residents are the best tippers in the country, averaging 21% per order. BUT, is it because we’re too nice and feel the pressure when the cashier flips the iPad around and waits for us to decide between 15%, 20%, and 25%?
2022 Week 36 – Indy Today
Back in October of 2021, I reviewed the new iPad Pro. I’ve had just about every iPad version throughout the years but never went the Pro route. I didn’t know what I was missing. I’m happy to report it’s still used daily, and it’s been the best iPad I’ve ever owned. The Apple keyboard case I purchased with it is super portable and makes it like a mini laptop (although I always forget it has a trackpad on it). In fact, I find myself using it just about exclusively on weekends and after work. I’ve written countless blog posts for this site using just the iPad tethered to my iPhone as a Hot Spot. The battery life is amazing, so I’m never looking for an outlet, even after hours of watching videos or reading. I hardly use the Apple Pencil at all, so that purchase is something I could have skipped. I should have learned my lesson from the previous iPad with the first generation Apple Pencil that never got used.
A coworker of mine forwarded an article from Indy Today, and I had to subscribe after checking out their webpage. It’s written by locals for locals and contains all kinds of news and information about upcoming events in the area, as well as foodie news. Check it out!
Since 1881 people have been making a ton of royalty money off of Listerine. The Hustle had a very interesting article detailing the over 100-year-old contract that still pays people, and organizations, today.
And finally… This video from over a year ago shows the Royal Marines using an actual JET SUIT to move from an inflatable Zodiac to a Ship. It looked a little dodgy (to use a British term), but he made it. I think the Civilian version of this is still a ways off…
2022 Week 34 – Fun At The Speedway
It’s time for the 2022 Devour Indy Summerfest to begin on August 22 and run until September 4, 2022. Over 100 participating restaurants will have three-course, value-priced menus available. While not a huge savings from the standard menu prices, it’s a chance to save a few bucks and maybe check out a new place. Be sure to make reservations if you can because this event attracts a lot of attention.
Wired magazine had a great review of The Best Laptop Backpacks for Work (and Life), and it sent me down the rabbit hole of Tom Bihn bags. I used to carry a backpack with my work gear in it for years after using a messenger bag for as long as I can remember. I’ve since switched back to the messenger bag but find it a little limiting and uncomfortable to carry for long periods.
After a little YouTube research, I placed an order for a Tom Bihn Synic 30 with a Grey shell and yellow liner. It was NOT a cheap bag, but if it lives up to the hype, it might be the last bag I’ll ever need. I’ll report back in a few weeks after I get it in hand and have time to put it through its paces.
Last weekend was the 2022 Indiana Sports Corp Corporate Challenge. As a consultant, I could never participate with my clients, and my company never participated (engineering nerds). With over 4000 people in attendance, it was a HUGE event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). The map they gave us before the event made it look like it was just going to take up a small part of the IMS infield, but it actually took up at least 50%. The best way to describe the event is a giant Field Day for adults. It would be great if they held it on a Friday and had some events go into the night, but they typically do it on Saturday mornings. Events include:
- 5K Run
- 10K Run
- Basketball Shootout
- Cornhole Tournament
- Cycling Time Trial
- Football Toss
- Frisbee Toss
- Home Run Derby
- Team Obstacle Relay
- Total Body Fitness
- and lots more…
As you can see, they have something for just about everyone, and it’s a nice way to compete against friends at participating companies. I ran into several people I knew from around the Indianapolis area and had a lot of fun competing for points with my coworkers.
MacMost posted a video a while ago showing several ways to Search for Photos on your Mac. Some good stuff in this video that you’re sure to learn something new.
2022 Week 33 – Beta Fun
Although I’m no longer employed in tech, I’m still a tinkerer. So when the latest Beta versions of the next Apple operating system became available to the public, I was already in line & ready to download. Furthermore, since my Mac is no longer my work machine (I moved to Windows 11 on a smoking fast HP Z-Book in June), I can play around with the beta software and not be too impacted if I encounter a bug or two.
This was the case this morning when I encountered an issue when I pressed the Alt-Tab key to switch to another app. It just didn’t work. I was scratching my head & immediately thought something was wrong with my new MX Keys keyboard. After some troubleshooting, I realized I had a 3rd party app that makes the Alt-Tab command on the Mac work better (it shows minimized windows). Unfortunately, it was crashing with the latest macOS beta. After a brief search on Reddit, I discovered I wasn’t alone. After I disabled the app, all was well again in the Alt-Tab world (but I was missing the features the utility provided).
Such is life when you test Beta software. You’ll encounter little bugs along the way, but you also get to see some of the latest and greatest features before the general public. You also need the patience to work on figuring out issues as they pop up.
If you’ve put fuel in your vehicle this summer, you might disagree with the following article, but in the big scheme of things, the U.S. has some inexpensive gasoline prices compared with the rest of the world. Nowhere as cheap as $0.20 a gallon in Iran but less than the $8.50 a gallon price in the U.K. The Hustle Issue #220 had an interesting article titled “Why gas is actually cheap in America.” The section detailing traffic deaths based on fuel price was fascinating, in my opinion too.
And finally, it’s time to get a little nerdy and discuss the differences between what we in the U.S. call vegetables vs. what they’re called in the U.K. True Food T.V. has a fun video explaining it all.
2022 Week 29 – You Chicken?
I’ve only used delivery services like GrubHub and Uber Eats a few times and was disappointed each time due to lukewarm food, ridiculous fees, and price markups. They are nothing like the excellent, albeit limited, service you get from ClusterTruck. I’m super fortunate to be able to order from ClusterTruck from home and the office downtown. Out of 50+ orders, I’ve only had one issue: they delivered my food to the wrong location. However, they re-did the order and credited my account as soon as I reached out. That’s great customer service!
Amazon Prime members can now get 12 months of GrubHub+ for free! GrubHub+ is usually $10 a month and gets you $0 delivery fees applicable on orders with a $12+ subtotal (before tax, tip, and fees). After signing up, I looked at the restaurants on the GrubHub app and found quite a few I didn’t recognize in the area. After a little Google Maps searching, I discovered all the “new” places were Ghost Kitchens inside existing restaurants. Evidently, this is quite common & Chuckie Cheese is even in on the action with their Pasqually’s Pizza listing. It’s worth doing a little research if you’re unsure of the pace you’re ordering from.
If you’re a subscriber to Apple News+ and a foodie, you might have noticed Cooks Illustrated (CI) is now available to read on the service. CI is one of those magazines I subscribed to for years. It always seemed pretty skinny with no ads, but it’s actually fat with content. It features articles from the Americas Test Kitchen and Cooks Country staff (shows you can find on PBS’s “Create” sub-channel), product reviews, and some fantastic seasonal recipes. So if you’re looking for an unpretentious cooking magazine, this is the one to check out! Apple news replaced the Texture App, and I was a little unsure about that at first, but it’d turned out to be a better platform with a LOT more content, all for $10 a month. I can’t tell you the last time I read a physical magazine (except for Consumers Reports which I get as a yearly subscription from my father).
And finally… You can’t escape it. The Chicken Sandwich is one of the top-selling items at America’s fast food restaurants. And with good reason, they’re delicious! CNBC had an interesting piece about How Chicken Became an American Obsession.