Foodie news | It’s in the can … chicken tortilla casserole
Special to the Sun
TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. – Until the microwave became a household fixture, my grandmother’s response to “What are you making for dinner?” was “Reservations.” I know, old joke, but I swear she invented it. What she didn’t invent, but what she did make on rare and special occasions (like, when Luke and Laura finally got married on General Hospital) was an incredible chicken tortilla casserole. Yes, she did get a little help from her friends at Campbell’s Soup, but who am I to judge? Have we all not given in to the guilty pleasure of the green bean/mushroom soup holiday favorite? Were those pork chops you served last week really smothered in an “old family recipe?” Let you who is not without canned soup among your cooking staples throw the first stone!
Grandma Vera’s Chicken Tortilla Casserole is easy to make if you have a can opener and also easy on the pocket book as it is big enough for next-night leftovers and even better the second time you serve it. Ideally, this casserole is best prepared and refrigerated the night before baking, but if that doesn’t suit your schedule, just let it sit as long as possible before you put it in a hot oven.
Grandma Vera’s Chicken Tortilla Casserole
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4 large chicken breasts, with skin, bone in or meat from one roasted chicken, chopped into one-inch pieces, about three cups
1 1/2 dozen corn tortillas, cut into one-inch pieces
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
2 cans (7 oz.) green chili salsa, or one can diced green chilies and one can salsa
1 can (14.5 oz.) black olives, chopped
2 cups cooked spinach chopped
1 large onion, diced
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
Salt and pepper chicken breast and bake at 350° for about 45 minutes. Save drippings. Cool, remove skin and bones and chop into one-inch pieces. Set aside. Pour drippings into 13 x 9-inch baking pan, coating the entire bottom of pan. Mix soups, sour cream, salsa, olives, onions and spinach in large bowl. Now begin to layer. Start with a layer of tortillas on top of drippings in pan. Next some chicken, followed by a layer of the soup mixture. Now sprinkle on a layer of the shredded cheese. Second layer, the same: tortillas, chicken, soup mixture, cheese. That should do it, though for some reason, on occasion, I find myself having a third layer. That’s OK, just make sure you don’t end with a layer of tortillas as they tend to overcook when baked. Bake at 350° for 1 and 1/2 hours.
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