King Ranch Chicken Casserole, the less processed version…


King Ranch Chicken Casserole –  that doesn’t used canned soup.

Prep Time: 2o-30 min

Cook Time Total: approx. 1hr

Serves 6-8


  • 1 1/2 pounds of chicken, without skin and bones (a rotisserie chicken can be used for this one as well).
  • 4 teaspoons of lime juice
  • 2 tbs of olive oil
  • I didn’t take this photo- I will soon 🙂
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 10oz. can of Ro-Tel tomatoes (I use mild), drained (or you can use a can of regular diced tomatoes and a 4 oz. can of diced green chiles, or if tomatoes are in season, can use two cups of diced fresh tomatoes with 1/4 cup of diced green chiles, such as a jalapeno).
  • 4 teaspoons chipotle powder (or chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 cup of  free-range chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup of half and half
  • 1/3 cup of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of green onion and scallions
  • 3 cups of grated pepper jack and cheddar cheese (I use reduced fat always).
  • 10 corn tortillas ( I like fresh homemade white corn).
  • Salt and pepper to taste.


1. Season the chicken with the lime juice, 2 teaspoons of ancho chile powder and a dash of salt. In a skillet heated on medium, cook the chicken in the olive oil on each side for about 10 minutes.

2. When chicken is done (after about 20 minutes), shred it with two forks and set aside. Taste and see if it needs more salt and pepper. Squeeze remainder of juice on the chicken. Should yield about 3 cups.

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium, and add the onions, red bell pepper and poblano pepper. Cook for 10 minutes.

4. Add the garlic, flour, cumin, cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons of ancho chile powder, and cook for 1 minute. This makes a roux like mixture.

5. Add the chicken broth and cook on low until mixture is thickened, a few minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and Ro-Tel cover the pot, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Uncover the pot, and add the sour cream, 2 teaspoons of lime juice and 1/4 cup of cilantro, and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.

7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

8. Heat up the tortillas (on stove or microwave).

9. Ladle 1/2 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of an 11 x 7 inch baking pan.

10. Layer half the tortillas along the bottom of the pan (on top of the sauce). To make sure entire pan is evenly covered, you can rip some of the tortillas into strips to fill any gaps.

11. Add half the chicken, half the remaining sauce, half the remaining green onion/scallions and 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese.

12. Repeat the layering, leaving the cheese layer on top.

13. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbling. Serves 6-8, depending on how big of a portion you distribute. Goes great with sour cream, cilantro, and green onion on top. YUM

This crowd pleaser is worth the work, your guests won’t be disappointed!  This is dish can also be pre-made the day before and refrigerated over night, just add about 20 extra minutes to cook time and make sure it’s bubbly hot.


About zestybeandog

I live in Austin with my wonderful husband, dog Ginger, and cat Skiddy. We are a pretty laid back group (except for Ginger). When I'm not teaching yoga, personal training, or dog walking... I'm in the kitchen. I'm always experimenting with new ingredients and thinking of ways to prepare fresh foods in a unique way. I hope to update the blog 4-5 times a week. I've had several friends, family, and clients inquire about my recipes so here it goes. What to expect: Healthy recipes that are good for you, some classics (that have been spruced up), some not so healthy recipes (still made with quality ingredients that can be enjoyed in moderation), and beer and wine parings/reviews! I hope you enjoy, cheers!

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