King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Ole’! This south Texas favorite is a real winner in our family. I don’t know if it was whipped up by someone at the famous King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas, or if it was just given the name because of its proximity to that ranch. What I do know is that everytime I serve it to out-of-state guests, they want the recipe. This is my version…

Recipe of the Week:  King Ranch Chicken

small pkg. corn tortillas (if you don’t have torts, you can use tortilla chips)
4 chicken thighs
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup
1 small can of Ortega or La Victoria diced mild green chilies (adds flavor not heat)
1 tbs. butter/margarine
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. Pace chunky salsa 
1/2 c. chicken broth or equivalent
3 c. shredded/grated Mexican cheeses (cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, Colby, etc.)

Directions:
1. Boil the thighs with some salt/pepper/garlic powder and save the water. Skin, debone, and cut up the chicken. (If you have leftover chicken,  cut it into bite-size pieces. Also, put a tsp. of chicken base in a 1/2 c. water and stir to make a little broth.) 
2. While chicken is boiling, saute onion in butter in 2 quart pan. Add soups, chilies, salsa and 1/2 c. chicken water. (Do not throw out the remaining chicken broth yet.) Cook and stir until well blended.
3. Dip a tortilla in the remaining chicken broth or the completed sauce mixture to slightly soften it and place in bottom of baking dish. (Do not dip the chips.) Continue to cover the bottom of pan in this manner. Layer half of the chicken on top of the tortillas. Spread cheese on top of chicken. Spoon or pour half of the sauce on top of the cheese layer. Repeat another layer of tortillas and chicken, BUT put the rest of the sauce on top of the chicken and add the cheese last. 
4. Bake at 350 for half hour. Serve with fiesta corn, Spanish rice, and fruit.

Option:  If you prefer spicy-hot food, you can substitute a can of Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilis for the green chilis and chunky salsa above.

Notes: While you may be tempted to add more cheese, that really isn’t a good idea. I have done that and it just was not as tasty. You want the yummy flavor to come through and not be masked by cheese. Also, like lasagna, this dish tastes better the next day, so you could make it ahead of time and then warm it up. Finally, young kids do not seem to be crazy about KRC. Maybe because it’s spicy or maybe because it’s not macaroni and cheese or finger food.

Thought of the Week: Education is in dire trouble, and people who believe that teachers make too much money at a cushy job are idiots! I challenge/dare them to substitute teach for one month at an elementary or a middle school that has 30 students per classroom and not enough materials for everyone. Until these people have walked in the shoes of others, they should keep their ignorant opinions to themselves.

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About Cyranette

I have been writing since I was 11 and am now a grandmother of 9. Aside from my family, I love writing, reading, movies, gardening, genealology, and travel. I met my soulmate online and we've been married 18 years. I am a survivor of rape, abuse, and cancer. I believe in love, kindness, and common sense. I was born/raised in Indiana and have lived in Massachusetts, Texas, and California. I have visited: most of the United States, British Columbia, Germany, Austria, and Costa Rica. My husband and I would like to visit England, Europe, and New Zealand and to take a train ride along the Canadian/American border. I have written essays, articles, short stories, a romance novel, a self-help book, and several children's books.
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