Living in Texas I grew up eating a delicious layered casserole called King Ranch Chicken. It is a rich and very cheesy mexican inspired casserole that always was a huge hit with family, friends and any pot luck it was brought too.
A throwback made my way…
Since I was little my mom has been making this casserole. Sometimes she uses corn tortillas, sometimes flour. She has used grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken and even canned chicken. Every once in a while she throws in some veggies, but we try to discourage such healthy behavior. I mean this cheesy & creamy casserole does not need any veggies to make it more healthy (you know I’m kidding, kind of).
My mom always makes this casserole with canned cream of chicken soup. Canned soup is not my cup of tea so I am changing it up a bit. I decided to make my own creamy base, but don’t worry it is so easy, you will never use the canned version again!
I also used rotisserie chicken but you could use roasted chicken breasts or thighs. Canned chicken would work as well, it really is that versatile.
Layers Upon Layers
One of the best parts of this casserole are all the layers. It starts with some of the creamy sauce, and then tortillas, chicken, cilantro, sauce, cheese…repeat again and again. It is always fun to see how many layers you can get. For this casserole I got 3 1/2 (I ran out of chicken).
The key is to use a deep casserole dish so you can a bunch of layers…it really is all about the layers. It really, really is.
Brown it up
After all the layers my favorite part is the browned cheese on top. I always start baking the casserole with foil covering the casserole dish. This help to ensure all the flavors come together inside and make sure the creamy sauce gets nice and bubbly. After 20 minutes though the foil comes off so the top that has been covered with a nice layer of cheese can get nice and browned.
It is from this browning that you get just one more layer of flavor…and this layer is a must have for me. My favorite piece is always the corner, it is just so yummy.
Plan to make this ASAP
Perfect for a busy week
Another thing I love so much about this casserole is that you can prep it ahead of time and then bake it when you get home. The last time I made this I prepped everything the night before (after I cleaned up dinner) covered it and put it in the fridge. Then when I got home after a crazy day all I had to do was get it in the oven.
Please note if you are baking straight from the refrigerator bake for 35 minutes with the foil on before taking it off.
Trust me this is a must make!!