Saturday, June 4, 2011

Using Your Food Storage: King Ranch Chicken

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to casseroles.

I don't care how far the humble casserole is from "haute cuisine". I love throwing together leftovers or miscellaneous pantry items and watching them magically come together into a hot, flavorful meal. It's hard to go wrong, especially if the end result is covered in cheese!  

Here's a tried and true casserole recipe that is, of course, food storage-friendly.

One thing you have to consider with this recipe is that it calls for corn tortillas. There are several substitutions you could use for fresh, store-bought corn tortillas.

First, corn tortillas do freeze well. Stack the tortillas with pieces of waxed paper in between them and then place in a freezer bag. Simply thaw them before you use them. I like to wrap them in a paper towel and gently defrost them in the microwave. 

Second, you could add masa harina to your food storage and make your own corn tortillas. Here's a recipe for that.

Third option: use flour tortillas instead. They are easy to make from scratch and use ingredients pretty much everyone stores. Here's a recipe

A fourth, advanced option: make your own masa by 'nixtamalizing' corn kernels then use the masa to make tortillas. You have my full respect if you do this for a lowly casserole!   

Is it pretty to look at? Not really. But my family thinks it is pretty tasty!

King Ranch Chicken

King Ranch Chicken, adapted from a recipe published in Southern Living

1 large onion, chopped OR about 1/3 c. dry onion, rehydrated
1 large green bell pepper, chopped OR about 1/2 c. dry peppers, rehydrated
Vegetable oil
Cooking spray
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts OR 1 pint home-canned chicken OR 1 can of commerically-canned chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can diced tomato and green chiles (Rotel)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas (fresh, frozen and thawed, or homemade)
8 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese OR freeze-dried, stored waxed cheese, canned cheese, etc.

Sauté onion and bell pepper in a large skillet coated with a bit of oil over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender.Stir in chicken and next 6 ingredients; remove from heat.

Tear tortillas into 1-inch pieces; layer one-third tortilla pieces in bottom of a 13- x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with one-third chicken mixture and one-third cheese. Repeat layers twice.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.

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