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.
Scalloped Potato Gratin
I’ve made this dish around the holidays for years and brought it out last weekend to go with a baked ham we were eating for dinner. It’s a pretty straight forward potato dish but the flavors and textures are really incredible. You can use as much, or as little, thyme and garlic as you like. I think it’s better on the more side.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more to finish
- 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Unsalted butter
- 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices*
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for broiling
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a saucepan, heat up the heavy cream with the thyme, garlic, and nutmeg
While the cream is heating up, butter a 9×13″ casserole dish. Place a layer of potatoes in an overlapping pattern and season with salt and pepper.
Remove the cream from the heat and ladle a little over the potatoes and top with some of the Parmesian. Make 2-3 more layers, bake uncovered, for 45 minutes.
Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese browns.
*A mandolin slicer (or a food processor with a slicing disk) is the best way to get uniform slices that will cook evenly.
Broad Ripple – Ripple Bagel & Deli
I was roaming around on a Sunday morning last weekend doing a little Broad Ripple photography and found myself wanting something for breakfast. Since I was in the area, and there were not that many options given my limited time I decided to check out Ripple Bagel & Deli.
My first impression was this place is loud and full of energy. Filled with mostly 20-30 somethings I was a little “old” for the scene but the wait staff kicked in and requested my order almost immediately (probably an attempt to get this non-hipster out of there before I scared the kids off). Not having the opportunity study the menu I took a chance and opted for the ‘Morning Mess’ ($5.65).
The Morning Mess is a freshly steamed everything bagel with bacon, scrambled egg, Sriracha cream cheese (special of the day) & 3 melted cheeses. I’ll be the first one to admit it was a mess.
The bagel and ingredients were all fresh but it was pretty difficult to eat this thing due to the heat (temperature) and the slipperiness of the contents. Every bite on one end resulted in the ejection of more and more of the middle on the other end. Finally defeated I grabbed a knife and fork and proceeded to put this mess to rest.
While the Morning Mess was tasty it was VERY heavy. I was feeling that sandwich for hours and to be honest it was a little too much. I liked the concept and I loved the Ripple Bagel & Deli‘s atmosphere and food selection. I’m planing a return trip where I’m going to take a little more time to study the menu and find something that’s tasty and won’t feel like a 3-pound rock in my gut.
By the way, when I was there the staff was handing out samples of the “Indiana Chili”. It was really good and had little pieces of elbow macaroni and beans in it. I think that might have been why it’s after the Hoosier state.