Saturday, September 3, 2016

Kings Ranch Casserole

I found two places that have great Kings Ranch Chicken Casserole Recipes, its hard to decide which I like better... I like them both! 

Deep South Dish and Southern Living

Here are both recipes, try them... you be the judge!

Prep time: 25 min |Cook time: 35 min |Yield: About 10 servings


Chicken Seasoning:

  • 4 cups of cooked chopped or shredded chicken
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning or cayenne
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup of chopped red, yellow or orange bell pepper
  • 1 cup of chopped poblano pepper
  • 1 can of mild Rotel tomatoes with green chilies, drained
  • 1 cup of chicken stock or broth
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons of lime zest
  • 1/8 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
For Layering:
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups of shredded jack cheese or pepper jack
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Additional sour cream and cilantro, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish with non-stick spray; set aside. Place the chicken in a bowl and add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and cayenne. Toss well and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet and stir in the flour. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the chopped onion and peppers; cook and stir just until tender, but not browned. Add the drained tomatoes, cook and stir another 2 minutes. Slowly add in the chicken broth, then the cream, stirring until fully incorporated and heated through. Remove and set aside 1/3 cup of the sauce. Add the chicken to the skillet, stir to heat through, add the sour cream, lime zest, cilantro, and salt and pepper; mix well and remove from heat. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Add the reserved 1/3 cup of sauce to the bottom of the prepared baking dish and spread out. Add 6 whole corn tortillas to the bottom of the dish, overlapping them. Spoon the chicken mixture over the top of that. Mix the two shredded cheeses together; sprinkle 2 cups of the cheese on top of the chicken mixture. Repeat layers of corn tortillas, chicken mixture and ending with the remaining 2 cups of cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned on top. For nice layered slices, let the casserole rest at least 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with a dab of sour cream and a sprinkle of freshly chopped cilantro, if desired.

Cook's Notes: I used meat from a roasted chicken that I had previously cooked and frozen, broth made from Better than Bouillon, a chipotle chili powder, smoked cumin, and sweet onion. This casserole can be assembled and refrigerated or frozen. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature and bake. May also use flour tortillas.

Tip: Dip the tortillas in chicken broth before putting in the dish, and says it really makes a difference and is even better if you have some rich hen broth. She also adds some diced pimiento.

Shortcut King Ranch: Shortcut the process by using canned cream soups. Skip the butter and flour roux and homemade sauce (broth, cream, and sour cream) and substitute a family sized can of cream of mushroom, or a combination of two regular sized cans, one cream of chicken, the other cream of mushroom. Adjust or eliminate salt as needed. Instead of corn tortillas, you can also roughly crumble in some plain tortilla chips, though you'll need to consider the sodium level and likely eliminate the salt. Can also shred the tortillas, but you'll need more of them.

Beef King Ranch: Substitute 2 pounds of cooked and drained ground beef or about 4 cups of shredded, cooked beef roast or brisket and beef stock or broth.


  • Makes 8 to 10 servings


  • 1 (4 1/2- to 5-lb. ) whole chicken
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 3 pieces each
  • 2 carrots, cut into 3 pieces each
  • 2 1/2 to 3 tsp. salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 (10-oz.) cans diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican-style chili powder*
  • 3 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 12 (6-inch) fajita-size corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips


1. If applicable, remove giblets from chicken, and reserve for another use. Rinse chicken.
2. Place chicken, celery, carrots, and salt in a large Dutch oven with water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 50 minutes to 1 hour or until chicken is done. Remove from heat. Remove chicken from broth; cool 30 minutes. Remove and reserve 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Strain any remaining cooking liquid, and reserve for another use.
3. Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 6 to 7 minutes or until tender. Add bell pepper and garlic, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in reserved 3/4 cup cooking liquid, cream of mushroom soup, and next 5 ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes.
4. Skin and bone chicken; shred meat into bite-size pieces. Layer half of chicken in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with half of soup mixture and 1 cup Cheddar cheese. Cover with half of corn tortilla strips. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese.
5. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

*1 tsp. chili powder and 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper may be substituted for Mexican-style chili powder.

Lightened King Ranch Chicken Casserole: Reduce butter to 1 Tbsp. Substitute reduced-fat cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup for regular and 2% reduced-fat cheese for regular. Prepare recipe as directed through Step 4. Bake, covered, at 350° for 50 minutes; uncover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Cracker Barrel 2% Milk Natural Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

Quick-and-Easy King Ranch Chicken Casserole: Substitute 1 (2-lb.) skinned, boned, and shredded deli-roasted chicken for whole chicken, 3 cups coarsely crumbled lime-flavored white corn tortilla chips for corn tortillas, and 3/4 cup chicken broth for cooking liquid. Omit celery, carrots, and salt. Prepare recipe as directed, beginning with Step 3.

Source: Southern Living

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