When I told Jon I was making a casserole for dinner last night his response was "A casserole, really? But that's fall or winter food." He had a point as most casseroles I make are on the heartier side and can be considered comfort food. But the casserole I made last night was light, packed with veggies, and had the bright flavors of cilantro and lime which made it taste like summer.
I saw the original recipe for a Chicken Tortilla Casserole on Josie's blog, Pink Parsley. I liked the idea of chicken and chips in a casserole, and the fact that it was so simple meant I could add a lot of veggies and make it my own. I changed a few things including the cooking method - I poached the chicken instead of pan frying it. I prefer poaching chicken when I am going to shred it because the poaching liquid can be flavored with any herbs or spices you'd like, therefore infusing the chicken with flavors as it cooks. I also think that poached chicken is much more tender and easier to shred.
This was a really simple dish to pull together. And if you have leftover shredded chicken, even better! You could throw in whatever veggies you have lying around and have it together in less than 15 minutes.
Like many stews, casseroles, and one pot dishes, this one got better with time. I just had it for lunch and think it was even better than it was for dinner last night.
My version of the recipe is below. I didn't measure as I created this dish, so amounts are approximate. It also looks like a long list of ingredients, but you don't have to use all of the veggies I listed. I did love it with all of the veggies though, and it was so colorful!
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Enough water and/or broth to cover the chicken in a pot
- Spices - I used a few pinches of chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic, and pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 sm red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- 1 jalapeno (or less, depending on how hot it is), chopped
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
- 1/2 of a 14.5 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- Approximately 1/2 c frozen corn, thawed
- 1 tomato, chopped
- Large handful baby spinach, chopped
- 2 c chicken broth
- Juice from 1/2 of a lime
- Pinch of cumin and chili powder
- Small handful of cilantro, chopped
- 4 handfuls of tortilla chips, crushed
- Approximately 1.5 cups shredded cheese; I used a Mexican blend
- Place chicken in a pot and cover with water and/or broth. Add spices and cook on medium high (steady simmer) until internal temperature reaches 170, approximately 12 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and let rest a few minutes. Shred with 2 forks. You can do this step in advance, even the day before, and store covered in the fridge.
- Preheat broiler on high
- Heat olive oil in an oven-safe saute pan over medium-high heat
- Add onion and garlic; saute 2 minutes.
- Add red pepper, jalapeno pepper, and the chopped chipotle pepper; saute 2 minutes.
- Add the corn, black beans, and tomatoes; saute 1 minute.
- Add spinach and mix
- Add the broth, lime juice, cumin and chili powder. Bring to a simmer.
- Add about 2/3 of the chips and mix into the veggies. Let simmer 1 minute to soften the chips.
- Add the shredded chicken, most of the cheese, and cilantro; mix to combine everything.
- Top with the remaining chips and cheese. Put under the broiler until the cheese melts and the chips brown lightly.
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