Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mexican Chicken Casserole

3 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
12 corn tortillas
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 small can diced green chilies
1/2 chopped onion, sauteed
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 c. jack cheese
1 small can chopped black olives

Mix chicken, soups, chilies, sour cream and onion. Cut tortillas in half and very quickly cook in hot vegetable oil, just until soft. Layer half of tortillas in bottom of 9x13 pan. Cover with half of chicken mixture then sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat layers again then top with olives. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

From whence it came: This recipe was given to me by a great gal named Linda Costa. Linda and I worked together at a bank about a million years ago. She was just a little bit older than me and I was a new bride so she took pity on me and shared this good recipe. I have totally lost touch with her, but I'm still in touch with her Mexican Chicken Casserole.

Why it's blogable: This recipe is almost as good as enchiladas but a bit easier to make. I say almost as good because you really can't beat enchiladas. My mom makes the best enchiladas ever. I'll share how she does it in a post sometime soon. But this recipe is good, too. Good enough to eat!

Here are some pics I took this very night when I made it for the fam...

Layer the cooked tortillas in the pan. You only have to cook them for about half a second. If you cook them too long they will be crispy, and that's good news if you're dipping them in salsa, but not such good news if you're using them in this casserole. You can opt to not fry the tortillas for a lazier and more healthy version. It's a little better if you fry 'em, but it's still good if you don't. I put each one on a paper towel after it comes out of the oil to get rid of as much oil as possible.

Here it is after the chicken layer. Not too pretty, but don't be discouraged. The cheese spiffs it up!

Here comes the good part...the cheese and olives. (The Spy Who Loves Me is always happy to see me use olives, except when they are on the ends of my fingers. Then he just rolls his eyes and realizes his wife is immature! And I am!)

And...drum roll is the final product...

What do you think? Looking good? Are you wondering what those little things that look like sauteed onions are on top of the casserole? Ugh! I'm busted! They're sauteed onions. I have to admit that I was tired when I was making dinner tonight, and under the influence of cookie dough, and I forgot to add the onions to the cheese mixture. So I plopped them right on top, and it was just fine. Tragedy avoided. Because not adding onions would surely be a tragedy. Onions are a cook's best friend! They add amazing flavor to almost everything, except pancakes. And cookies. And cinnamon rolls. Well, you know what I mean. Onions add amazing flavor to almost everything.

As long as I'm confessing: Alright, I will admit that I'm less than perfect. (Like you haven't all figured that out by now.) I was halfway through this recipe when I realized I didn't have any cream of celery soup, so I used cream of mushroom instead. Then I realized I didn't have any green chilies, so I ran across the park at the end of our street to my mom's house and stole a can out of her pantry. (How cool is it that my mom lives right across the park! Very cool!) The sad story doesn't end there. Next I realized there was no sour cream to be found. And my mom, whom I'd already stolen from once, is out of town, so even if she did have sour cream it would be fuzzy, and that's a problem for me. So, I didn't use the sour cream. And it was still good. Really, it was. I suggest you make this the right way, but tonight I proved that you'd have to work awfully hard to mess this recipe up.

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

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