I was looking for something new and freezable (you know, cook once, eat twice) to add to my menu, and I found many recipes online for this apparently famous casserole called “King Ranch Casserole.” It appealed to me because it was relatively simple, incorporated vegetables, and would also let me use the awesome Better Than Cream O’ Soup. I chose to tweak the casserole a bit further, and since all these tweaks made it healthier and more convenient, I thought the name deserved to be improved also.
It freezes well, so sometimes I double this recipe and freeze one for a later date or giving away. (Then I can just use a whole onion!) Or I freeze everything but the tortillas and cheese in a gallon ziploc freezer bag to thaw and assemble at a later date. But I warn you, a single recipe is actually pretty substantial, so you might just make two dinners out of a single recipe (it barely fits in my 9×13 pan).
Queen Ranch Casserole
1/2 a large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 or 2 celery ribs, diced
(throw in some cilantro if you like)
2 “cans” (or 2 2/3 cups) Better Than Cream O’ Soup
2 cups cooked chopped or shredded chicken
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup diced green chiles
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbl. chili powder
18 corn tortillas
I also stuck an avocado in the picture because it is just so good served with it. I get the green chiles shown here in a 30 oz. bag in the frozen dept. at Walmart, so much cheaper than the little cans I used to buy. I had my chicken as well as my “soup” already in the freezer, so I just moved them to the fridge in the morning to partially thaw. Of course you can just used canned cream of whatever soup in a pinch.
Saute first 4 ingredients in a large pan
Add next 6 and heat. This batch of Better Than C. of S. had a little more water in it, so I let that simmer off a bit, too.
Layer ingredients by lining the bottom of 9×13 (or so) pan with 6 tortillas, cover with heated mixture, and sprinkle with cheese. Repeat. Finish with a final layer of tortillas and cheese. That missing notch in the tortilla reminds me to mention that this is a good use for tortillas that have gotten a bit beat up–you can just throw the crumbs in.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
I like it with all the usual Mexican toppings–an easy way to get your salad in and you don’t even need dressing.