Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Ranch Kitchen's King Ranch Chicken (or Turkey)

The Ranch Kitchen's - King Ranch Chicken (or Turkey)

I'm always surprised that this recipe of King Ranch Chicken that is a mainstay at my house, few people know about it.  It's been around since the 1970's and really is just a classic chicken enchilada recipe.  My recipe below probably doesn't stray too much from the traditional ones found on the Internet, but I wanted to share it with you all today.

As I look forward to the left over turkey from Thanksgiving, this is yet another way to use a couple shredded cups into something your family and friends with enjoy.  You can use the white or dark meat or a combination of both.  At home I frequently use the white breast meat from the can or left over rotisserie chicken meat.  Along with some pinto beans either cook whole or as refried beans, Spanish rice, Nolana's Hot Sauce, sour cream, and a side salad you have a pretty easy meal and usually great leftovers for my girls in from college.

You can see on my picture above that I had to taste test it on the side to make sure it was done!  You can also easily make this recipe earlier in the day to place in the refrigerator and later in the oven and it also freezes well uncooked.  Just add some extra cooking time if you cook it from frozen.  

It's also one of those great foods we send in the south for sick friends and family.

The Ranch Kitchen's King Ranch Chicken

2 - 3 cups chicken (or turkey), shredded
1 can Rotel Tomatoes with cilantro and lime juice, not drained (reserve 1/3 can)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 package of flour tortillas cut or torn in to 2 x 2 inch squares
1 tbsp. Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning 
2 cups shredded mild or sharp cheddar cheese or Mexi-blend cheese by Kraft

In a large bowl blend Rotel Tomatoes - reserving 1/3 of can, soups, and seasonings together.  Add to this your meat.  In a greased 9 x 13 inch glass casserole dish place reserved 1/3 can of Rotel Tomatoes and spread over entire casserole dish.  Add to this 1/3  of soup and meat mixture. Sprinkle 1/3 of cheese over this and top with 1/2 torn flour tortillas.  Layer 1/3 soup mixture once again, sprinkle with cheese and 1/2 of torn flour tortillas.  Last place remainder of soup/chicken mixture on top of that last layer of flour tortillas and cook covered with foil (I like the nonstick foil by Reynolds) in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling in the center.  The last five minutes place the remaining cheese and allow it to melt.  Cut in to squares and serve.

You can also play with the soups and substitute a can of cream of celery for the cream of mushroom for a different taste.  When you live in the country and run out of what you need for your favorite recipe, you have to improvise!  

I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as mine does!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Alise Nolan