Casseroles with Chicken – Tex- Mex Chicken Casserole
Although I made this casserole with chicken, you can easily make it with ground beef as well. You can also make this with left-over cooked chicken if you would like. The combination of meat sauce with tortillas, salsa and different cheeses make this casserole a winner. It is a nice weeknight meal that freezes very well if you have left-overs or want to make more than one. Here is what you are going to need for this:
2 TBS olive oil
1 medium white onion – finely chopped
2 garlic cloves – minced
1 small bell pepper – finely diced (about ¾ cup)
½ of a whole skinless, boneless chicken breast – diced
2 tomatoes – peeled and diced
½ TBS crushed oregano
½ TBS ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 cup cooked white rice
1 TBS chopped cilantro leaves (opt)
2 ½ cups salsa of choice
500 grs. Ricotta cheese (16 oz.)
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 cup chicken stock
16 small corn tortillas
¾ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and cook until translucent – about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, mix well, and cook for a couple of minutes – until you can smell it. Add the bell peppers and the chicken, mix well and cook until the chicken starts cooking through – about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook for about 6 minutes – until tomatoes have rendered their juice. Mix in the rice, cilantro if using and ½ cup salsa. Mix well and set aside.
Place the Ricotta cheese in a bowl. Add the garlic powder and egg. Mix until uniformly blended. Add a ½ cup salsa and mix well. Set aside.
Spread a ½ cup layer of salsa in a square casserole dish. Soak the tortillas – one at a time – in the chicken stock and top the salsa with 4 of them. Add ½ of the chicken and rice mixture, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle ¼ cup of Cheddar cheese on the rice and meat. Add a second layer of 4 soaked tortillas.
Spread the Ricotta cheese on the tortillas. Top it with a third layer of 4 soaked tortillas. Spread the remaining meat and rice on the tortillas and add a final fourth layer of 4 soaked tortillas on that. Spread the remaining cup of salsa on the top. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup Cheddar cheese.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and bake for an extra 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow sitting for about 10 minutes before serving.
Cut lasagna into 8 pieces and serve with a side salad and some sliced avocado. Enjoy!