Y’all want some real Texan cooking? This is the casserole.
This is the creme de la creme of Texas recipes.
Any good diner will have King Ranch Casserole on their blue plate special.
Oh, what’s that? You haven’t had King Ranch Casserole?
Well, bless your heart.
King Ranch Casserole is named after the King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas. Everything is bigger in Texas, my friends, and King Ranch is one of the biggest ranches in the world. Although mainly a cow camp, King Ranch also now raises horses and produced the 1946 US Triple Crown winner Assault and 1950 Kentucky Derby winner Middleground. Thank you Wikipedia.
When I lived in South Texas, my neighbor did her student teaching at the King Ranch! That’s no small potatoes, y’all!
Enough history? Back to the food.
This is a chicken casserole chock full of “Cream of”, Red Gold diced tomatoes and green chiles, and corn tortillas. Oh and cheese, plenty of cheese.
Plus some olives on half, and only half, because not everybody likes olives. #boo
This is no casserole designed for the Whole30 program, y’all, this is pure, unadulterated, good ol’ homestyle, slap yo’mama home cookin’.
I mention that whole “Whole30” nonsense because I’ve been reading up on it. I think after a while of studying, and preparing my mind, I want to give it a shot. Basically it’s a Paleo thing. Like a diabetic lifestyle. Just whole foods, made from scratch. And, uh, ahem, no dairy.
(Here’s an affiliate link to the two books I read: It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways and Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle)
One of the reasons I’m really going to have to prepare mentally for this.
If I really do it, I know it’s a far step away from the normal contents of this blog, but I think I’ll share the recipes with y’all anyways.
If you’re like me, home cooking is good, but you’re always trying to be healthy too.
If you hate whatever I decide to post, don’t worry, in a month it will resume normal Southern Cooking.
Just don’t tell me. I get my feelings hurt easily.
Ok… on to the casserole. I’ve given y’all a little onion tutorial, because it took me a long time to stop chopping my vegetables the size of silver dollars. I had to call my mother numerous times to ask her to explain this chop to me, and I’VE FINALLY GOT IT WORLD!
Why I really like this chop is because my eyes are SUPER SENSITIVE to onions. Like, I could walk into Subway during prep time and start tearing up.
Chopping this way keeps the juicy side down for the most part, and keeps those onion vapors out of the air, and away from your eyes.
I’ll even create a separate post just for this tutorial so you can find it easy.
First, slice off the top of the onion.
Next, place flat side down, and slice in half, lengthwise.
Now you can easily pull the skin off!
Now to chop.
Make vertical cuts, going almost to the root, but not through it.
Then make 2 cuts the other way, going parallel to the board.
Super easy, right?
~ Peace, Love, and Tex-Mex Y’all!
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Yield: serves 8-10
3 chicken breasts, cooked, or 1 rotisserie chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
10 oz Red Gold diced tomatoes and chiles
10 oz enchilada sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
12 corn tortillas, cut into quarters
2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
1 can (small) sliced black olives
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place in 9x13 pan and cover with foil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, and juices run clear. Shred the chicken using two forks.
*OR, place the cooked, boneless breasts in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. On a low speed, turn the mixer on. You will have shredded chicken in 2 minutes! (Do not over mix, or you'll have chicken mush)
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium. Add chopped onions and garlic. Sautee 3-5 minutes, until onions are transparent.
In a large bowl, add shredded chicken, onions and garlic, cilantro, enchilada sauce, diced tomatoes, and "Cream Of" cans. Mix together.
In a 9x13 casserole pan, first spread a third of the chicken mixture, then top with tortillas. Continue layering with chicken, then cheese, then tortillas. Reserve some cheese and tortilla quarters for the top.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until ingredients are heated through thoroughly.
If making the casserole ahead of time, and then baking after it's been in the refrigerator, bake for 45 minutes, or until heated through.