Chicken & Poultry

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

by Shawnda on November 8, 2013

in Chicken & Poultry,Freezer Friendly,Mexican & TexMex,Texas,Thanksgiving

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

That is King Ranch Chicken Casserole. And it’s Texas’ contribution to the category of amorphous, 50-Shades-of-Brown, one-dish comfort foods that taste far, far better than they look.

But I’m not doing it justice.

To describe King Ranch Chicken a little more favorably – and in a manner totally worthy of that warm bowl of comfort that’s perfect for a chilly Texas fall night – think of it as a cross between a TexMex lasagna that’s made with tortillas rather than pasta and a chicken pot pie that’s lighter on the vegetables and sports a topping of corn tortillas and golden brown and bubbly cheese rather than a flakey pie crust.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Absent in this casserole are the much-maligned cream-of soups. If you want to use them, you can. But making the homemade cream-of soup that serves as the base for King Ranch Chicken is only slightly more work than cranking open a couple of cans with a manual opener. And you get to take a pass on all those 15-letter ingredients and the extra sodium.

Present in this casserole is a generous dose of green chiles for mild warmth and a mountain of shredded cheese to contribute to that oozy, melty, and magical amorphous blob.

Did I do it justice that time? Good. Now get out your grocery list and let’s get to work.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Put it on your menu for a stretch of cold nights this winter when your schedule would high-five your for 2 nights of scoop-and-reheat leftovers. Put it on your menu for a week when store-roasted rotisseries go on sale. Put it on your menu to crush those Thanksgiving dark-meat turkey leftovers.

Either way. You’re gonna want to put it on your menu soon.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

The ultimate in Texas comfort food, this casserole is made with homemade cream of chicken sauce and corn tortillas.

Ingredients

  • For the chicken:
  • 2.5-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs and/or breasts (or the meat from 1 precooked rotisserie chicken)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • For the cream sauce:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 1/2 cup cream (I use fat-free greek yogurt instead)
  • 10 oz can of Rotel tomatoes
  • 4 oz can of green or hatch chiles, drained
  • For the casserole
  • 24 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mix of white and yellow cheddars and monterrey jack)

Instructions

  1. If cooking your own chicken, preheat oven to 425. (If not, you just shaved 30 minutes off dinner prep!)
  2. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, salt, and pepper (or your favorite general seasoning).
  3. Divide it into 2-3 foil pouches and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Let sit for 5 minutes before shredding.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, make the cream sauce and reduce the oven to 350.
  6. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan or pot over medium-high heat.
  7. Cook the onion, bell pepper, and garlic for ~10 minutes, until softened and there's no standing liquid left.
  8. Stir in the chili powder, red pepper, cumin, salt, and black pepper.
  9. Add the flour in 2 batches, stirring until all traces of white are gone.
  10. Add 3 cups of the chicken stock to the pot, 1 cup at a time, whisking until smooth.
  11. Whisk in the cream (or yogurt), and add the Rotel (do not drain it first) and the peppers.
  12. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  13. Reserve 1 cup of cream sauce before adding the chicken to the pot.
  14. Lightly oil the bottom and a 13x9 baking dish and place the remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock into a bowl wide enough to hold the tortillas.
  15. Dip the tortillas into the stock (I did stacks of 4 at a time) and line the bottom of the baking dish so that the tortillas are 2 wide and 4 long.
  16. Pour half of the chicken mixture into the baking dish and top with 1/3 of the cheese.
  17. Add another layer of dipped-tortillas in the same manner, lightly pressing on them to level the contents of the pan.
  18. Top with the remaining chicken mixture and 1/3 of the cheese.
  19. Add the final layer of dipped-tortillas and press on them to level out the dish.
  20. Spread the reserved cream sauce over the tortillas and top with the remaining cheese.
  21. Bake for 45 minutes, until bubbly and the top of the casserole is golden brown.
  22. Let sit 10-15 minutes to firm up before cutting into 12-squares and serving.

Notes

Yields: 12 servings

Slightly adapted from The Pastry Queen

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Simple Roast Chicken

by Shawnda on October 10, 2013

in Chicken & Poultry

21 Seasoning Salute Roast Chicken

Raise your hand if you, too, are a Trader Joe’s fiend.

Keep it up if you’ve ever packed less than the bare minimum just so you’d have enough room to bring back a bursting-at-the-seams suitcase full of goodies.

And keep your hand up if you’ve gotten in trouble by security at a Trader Joe’s in Chicago for taking a picture of a liquor bottle on the shelf.

No? Just me?

:oops:

It’s okay. I don’t hold any hard feelings. I’m just happy that 2 years later, I no longer have to fly all the way to Orange County to get my Sweet & Salty & Nutty Trek Mix fix. And I am perfectly capable of getting almost thrown out of a grocery store near home, for free!

But the best part – a TJs will open less than 5 miles from this very location.

21 Seasoning Salute Compound Butter

One of my (many) favorite things in the whole wide world is 21 Seasoning Salute. It’s (surprise!) 21 different herbs and spices packed a single bottle, making it perfect for shaking, baking, and roasting anything. But especially chicken.

Mixed with some lemon zest and honey, you get a compound butter jam-packed with flavor and perfect for slathering over an oven-bound chicken.

21 Seasoning Salute Compound Butter

There’s something extremely satisfying about roasting a chicken on a Sunday afternoon, with a glass of wine in one hand and a new Food & Wine in the other. Maybe it speaks to that teeny tiny sliver of traditional domesticity that’s usually kept buried as far down as humanly possible. Or maybe it’s that I now have “leftover” chicken to throw together quesadillas and enchiladas for the rest of the week without having to invest too much time in a menu.

Yeah. That’s probably it.

Simple Roast Chicken

A simple compound butter is the key to a flavorful roast chicken.

Ingredients

  • ~5lb chicken
  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp 21 Seasoning Salute (or your favorite multipurpose seasoning)
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tsp honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Using a fork, mash together the butter, spices, lemon zest, a pinch of salt, and several grinds of pepper.
  3. When mostly incorporated, drizzle honey over the butter and mash together.
  4. Gently work your hands between the skin and the chicken breast, loosening it.
  5. Take about half of the butter and spread it under the skin and spread the remainder over the outside of the chicken.
  6. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and tie the wings down and legs together with kitchen twine.
  7. Roast until a thermometer stuck in the thigh registers 165, about 1 hour (but rely on the temp, not the time).
  8. Remove from oven, loosely tent with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Notes

Yields: ~6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 1 hour 30 minutes

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Baked Chili & White Cheddar-Hatch Chile Cornbread

We’re coming up on week 4 and salty, overseasoned Houston football “fans” have already thrown in the towel on the Texans’ season. Three times.

And we’re 2-1.

This city has had a long, jaded journey with professional football. And let’s face it, those fans probably had a few too many while tailgating. BUT THAT’S NO EXCUSE THIS EARLY IN THE SEASON AND I WILL NOT PUT UP WITH IT. There’s plenty of football left. And plenty of football weather ahead of us to enjoy it all.

Baked Chili & White Cheddar-Hatch Cornbread

When my box of H-E-B’s September Primo Picks arrived this month, I spied the perfect food for football season: Chili.

Chili is the perfect tailgating food – it travels well and goes with (and on!) just about everything. Sweatshirts, a bowl of chili, and a damp, cold, and grey Sunday afternoon – it’s exactly why football was invented.

It was also one of my mom’s go-to cold-weather meals. She’d pour the chili into a big casserole dish, drop cornbread batter drop-biscuit style over the top, cover that with grated cheese, and throw it in the oven. Dinner was served. It wasn’t fancy but it deliciously fed 4 bottomless pits for 2 nights and was an easy clean-up.

Baked Chili & White Cheddar-Hatch Chile Cornbread

I took mom’s semi-homemade baked chili & cornbread and dressed it up into a dish worthy of tailgating. We added ground turkey to a jar of Cookwell & Company’s Two-Step Chili – it’s a super fresh mix and not loaded with some of the, er, less-than-awesome things that you find in canned chili. Then we loaded our favorite cornbread recipe with shredded cheese, diced hatch chiles, and corn and dropped the batter drop-biscuit style over the chili.

Baked Chili & White Cheddar-Hatch Chile Cornbread

25 minutes later, you have a bubbly, hearty, one-pan party dish that’s easy – and impressive enough – to serve to a crowd.

And also: Go Texans!

Baked Chili & White Cheddar-Hatch Chile Cornbread

Cornbread-topped chili is a hearty, one-pan party dish perfect for a football-loving crowd.

Ingredients

  • For the chili:
  • 1 jar Cookwell & Company Two-Step Chili Mix (or 4 cups of your favorite chili)
  • 1.5 lb lean ground turkey
  • For the cornbread:
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cups unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I use fat-free)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or thawed if frozen)
  • 3 hatch chiles, roasted, seeded, and chopped (directions here)
  • For serving:
  • Sour cream (or plain yogurt)
  • Pico de gallo
  • 9-oz plastic cups or bowls

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Brown the ground turkey and drain excess grease with a strainer.
  3. Return the turkey to the pot and stir in the chili.
  4. Pour the chili into a 2 1/2-3qt casserole dish and set aside.
  5. To make the cornbread, whisk the dry ingredients together and make a well in the center.
  6. Add butter, yogurt, egg, cheese, and corn, stirring to mix well.
  7. Drop the batter by the spoonful over the top of the chili until the surface is completely covered.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes until bubbly and the cornbread is cooked through and golden brown.
  9. Let stand 10 minutes and then scoop out into individual portions, topping the portions with sour cream and pico de gallo before serving.
  10. Leftovers reheat well foil-covered in the oven.

Notes

Yields: ~10 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 50 minutes

This recipe was developed in conjunction with H-E-B and I was provided ingredients as well as compensated for my time. Messy fingers, stretchy-waisted pants, and opinions are all mine. You can find H-E-B on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. And if you’re as lucky as we are, 3 locations within a 5 mile radius.

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Black Beans with Hatch Chiles, Chicken Sausage, and Quinoa

I was just not cut out to be a hoarder. I try – like really try – but in the end, neurosis kicks in and my priorities immediately shift to depleting the mountain of whatever I just bought “because it was such a great deal!” as quickly as humanly possible.

Obtaining things – not hard. But REtaining them? Completely impossible. Except toothpaste. Good Lord, do you know how long 12 tubes last?!

I had nearly 20lbs of hatch chiles in the freezer at one point. Now? Not even close. Why buy 20 lbs in August when I know I can get them canned year-round? Maybe because for a few short weeks, I happily submit to the hype and convince myself that it’s not quite the same making Pepperoni & Hatch Pizza in September with fresh chiles as it is in April with canned chiles… but we’re all adults here and we know it’s close enough that it won’t matter.

{Also, the little Fage Total yogurts were BOGO this week! Guess who has 18 now 15 containers of Greek yogurt in her fridge? And guess who eats like 2 a day?}

{Also, Target has Clif bars 6/$5 this week! Guess who will never have to buy another Clif bar again?}

So Mission:Empty The Freezer of All Signs of Hatch Chiles continues with this week’s favorite dinner to loudly protest and pout about before even taking a single bite: beans, sausage, and rice.

Black Beans with Hatch Chiles, Chicken Sausage, and Quinoa

Why’d you type it like that – “beans, sausage, and rice.” You always say “red beans & rice.” Sausage is a given. And you didn’t say “red.” Why are you being so vague? WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING OVER THERE?!

Simmah down, na’! Your red beans are actually black and loaded with hatch chiles. The sausage is made out of chicken and stuffed with cheese and hatch chiles. And no, the rice isn’t really rice. It’s quinoa.

Man, you just can’t slip anything by anybody over GChat in this house :)

Black Beans with Hatch Chiles, Chicken Sausage, and Quinoa

I took a page out of my mom’s playbook (probably called Live Free and Crock Hard) (God, I hope that doesn’t means something gross in Urban Dictionary) (I’m totally not looking – and don’t you dare tell me if you do!) and made a giant vat of beans in the crockpot so I’d have lunchable leftovers for the week in the form of Black & White tacos.

If you’re going stove top method for the beans, you’ll need to decide if you’re going to overnight soak or quick soak (check your pack of dried beans for instructions). If you’re going canned, your house won’t smell awesome all day long… but you also won’t have to run the dishwasher a second time to avoid handwashing the crock.

But seriously, go make this and put a dent in your hatch chile stash. You can’t mess it up, whatever route you take.

Black Beans with Hatch Chiles, Chicken Sausage, and Quinoa

Chicken sausage, quinoa, black beans, and hatch chiles make for a healthier - and spicier - twist on beans & rice.

Ingredients

  • For the beans
  • 1 lb dried black beans
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 slices of thick bacon, diced
  • Salt
  • 6 hatch chiles, roasted, seeded, and chopped (directions here)
  • 1 lb sausage, cut into ~1/3-inch rounds*
  • 3 cups cooked rice or quinoa (1/2 cup per person)
  • *I used HEB Hatch Chile & Cheese Chicken Sausage; it wasn't precooked so I just cooked it separately.

Instructions

  1. Put rinsed and picked-over dried beans in the crockpot with 8 cups of water, bay leaves, onion, garlic, bacon, and a couple of generous pinches of salt.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Add the chiles and sausage to the crockpot and let stand on low to heat the meat through, ~20 minutes.
  4. Serve a generous scoop of beans & sausage over 1/2 cup of cooked rice or quinoa.

Notes

Yields: 6 servings, with leftover beans

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 8 hours

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