Easy Comfort Food While Cruising: Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Four Ways to Create an Ultra-Easy Dish

While at anchor a glass of wine dresses up a casual meal
While at anchor a glass of wine dresses up a casual meal

Sooooo easy! It's all from cans!

Easiest Level: You Don't Need Anything From the Refrigerator

This is certainly not a gourmet recipe, but I have served it many times while cruising, at remote anchorages, and for last minute potluck gatherings with good results. I've actually got several "levels" of this recipe--this first level is made from canned and dried ingredients only. It's perfect if you're one of those die-hard cruisers who are still out there without refrigeration. Also, it's great for last-minute gatherings and unexpected guests when you don't have a thing in the fridge.Just keep the ingredients on hand and you're good-to-go at a moment's notice. This recipe is extremely flexible and very easily increased. The quantities I show will serve 4 people generously as a one dish meal. If you have beans, flour tortillas, salad, etc. as part of your meal, you can serve more people.

Equipment needed: large mixing bowl, large spoon, knife for slicing, 2 quart casserole, microwave or oven (I haven't tried it, but I believe one could also use a dutch oven on the store top)

Ingredients needed: 1 large (6-8 oz.) can cooked chicken, one can cream of mushroom soup, 2 T. dried onion bits, 1 jar queso dip, 1 can diced green chiles, 1 dozen corn tortillas

Put it together: Empty the can of cooked chicken with the liquid into the mixing bowl and break apart the larger pieces of chicken. Add the dried onion, cream of mushroom soup, green chiles, and about half the queso dip. ALL of the ingredients can be adjusted to taste but I'd be careful about adding too much dip as it has more of a processed taste. I usually add at least 2 cans of green chile. Mix together gently. You don't want to mush up the chicken.

Slice up tortillas into 1 inch slices, then chop horizontally until you have little 1 inch square pieces. They don't have to be neat! I only cut up a few tortillas at a time so I don't have left over pieces. You will probably have some leftover whole tortillas. Again, this is very flexible and can be adjusted to taste.

Layer the ingredients: Place a layer of chopped tortillas in the bottom of your casserole dish. It's about 3 tortillas worth in a round casserole, more in a larger square one. Then spoon enough of the chicken mixture over it to just barely cover the tortillas. Repeat until all ingredients are used.

Now cook it: Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the middle section bubbles. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

I only have a microwave which also works for this dish, but a regular oven is better if you have one. Microwave uncovered on high for 15-20 minutes until the middle is bubbling. Be sure to check often the first time you make this, as microwaves vary. Let sit covered for about 5 minutes before serving.

Let's eat! Sometimes we eat this as a one dish meal, but you really should add some shredded lettuce, tomato, and refried beans if you have them. A dollop of sour cream is good, too. A side of flour tortillas or sopapillas really makes this a feast.






If you can't find fresh, roasted green chile, canned green chile from Hatch Farms is the next best thing

Level Two: Still Easy but Requires Refrigerated Ingredients

Equipment needed: large mixing bowl, large spoon, knife for slicing, 2 quart casserole, microwave or oven

Ingredients needed: 2 pkgs. grilled chicken breast strips, one can cream of mushroom soup, 4 oz. chicken broth, 2 T. dried onion bits, 8-12 oz. cheddar or jack cheese(or combine both), 1 can diced green chiles, 1 dozen corn tortillas

Put it together: Dice the chicken into small bite-sized pieces. Add the dried onion, cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, and green chile. ALL of the ingredients can be adjusted to taste; I usually add at least 2 cans of green chile. Mix together.

Grate the cheese(s).

Slice up tortillas into 1 inch slices, then chop horizontally until you have little 1 inch square pieces. They don't have to be neat! I only cut up a few tortillas at a time so I don't have left over pieces. You will probably have some leftover whole tortillas. Again, this is very flexible and can be adjusted to taste.

Layer the ingredients: Place a layer of chopped tortillas in the bottom of your casserole dish. It's about 3 tortillas worth in a round casserole, more in a larger square one. Then spoon enough of the chicken mixture over it to just barely cover the tortillas. Then sprinkle the grated cheese. Repeat until all ingredients are used. Be sure to save some cheese for the top.

Now cook it: Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the middle section bubbles. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

I only have a microwave which also works for this dish, but a regular oven is better if you have one. Microwave uncovered on high for 15-20 minutes until the middle is bubbling. Be sure to check often the first time you make this, as microwaves vary. Let sit covered for about 5 minutes before serving.

Let's eat! Sometimes we eat this as a one dish meal, but you really should add some shredded lettuce, tomato, and refried beans if you have them. A dollop of sour cream is good, too. A side of flour tortillas or sopapillas really makes this a feast.






You might also try a deli chicken that's already roasted

Level Three: Still Easy but More Time Consuming

This recipe will require a larger casserole dish and serves about 8.

Equipment needed: large mixing bowl, skillet for sauteing, large spoon, knife for slicing, large casserole dish, roasting pan, conventional oven

Ingredients needed: 1 medium roasting chicken, one can cream of mushroom soup, 1 can of cream of chicken soup, 4 oz. chicken broth,1 medium onion, 2 T. cooking oil, 8-12 oz. cheddar or jack cheese (or a combination of both), 1 can diced green chiles, 1 dozen corn tortillas

First you've gotta' roast the chicken! Roast chicken uncovered in a roasting pan at 350 for one hour or until juices from the chicken run clear. Let chicken cool enough to handle, then pull meat from the bones.

Dice the onion and saute in the cooking oil until translucent.

Put it together: Dice the chicken into small bite-sized pieces. Add the sauteed onion, cream of mushroom and chicken soups, chicken broth, and green chile. ALL of the ingredients can be adjusted to taste; I usually add at least 2 cans of green chile. Mix together.

Grate the cheese(s).

Slice up tortillas into 1 inch slices, then chop horizontally until you have little 1 inch square pieces. They don't have to be neat! I only cut up a few tortillas at a time so I don't have left over pieces. You will probably have some leftover whole tortillas. Again, this is very flexible and can be adjusted to taste.

Layer the ingredients: Place a layer of chopped tortillas in the bottom of your casserole dish. It's about 3 tortillas worth in a round casserole, more in a larger square one. Then spoon enough of the chicken mixture over it to just barely cover the tortillas. Then sprinkle the grated cheese. Repeat until all ingredients are used. Be sure to save some cheese for the top.

Now cook it: Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the middle section bubbles. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Let's eat! You really should add some shredded lettuce, tomato, and refried beans if you have them. A dollop of sour cream is good, too. A side of flour tortillas or sopapillas really makes this a feast.






Level Four: For Real Cooks Only

I'm a real eater but not a real cook. I have some ideas, but I'll bet yours are better! Anyway, I'd like to try this with some better cheeses, and I KNOW that it would be delicious with fresh roasted green chile instead of canned. I'm sure a REAL cook would experiment with his or her own sauces rather that rely on canned cream of whatever soups. What about flour tortillas instead of corn? I've also thought of, but never tried, using layers of polenta instead of the tortillas. This is a super-easy recipe to experiment with; I've never had it fail, and, no kidding, I've screwed up making Jello! Good luck, and please let me know what you come up with.

Trying the Chicken Enchilada Recipe

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Comments 14 comments

De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Despite my current desire to learn how to cook, I think that canned soups and canned cooked chicken will not help me learn the fine art of cooking. Any other recipes I can steal from you? :-)


Lee B profile image

Lee B 6 years ago from New Mexico Author

Hi, De Greek! Actually my purpose in publishing this hub was to try to get people to give ME recipes. Anyway, I've given up on that and started to look around at some cooking hubs. Mark Knowles and Chef Mac have some great recipes and food related stuff.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

You sound like my kind of cook. I make homemade soups all the time and they are never quite the same. Depends what is in the pantry and refrigerator at the time. Nice to be flexible!

Your third recipe sounds more like something I would try. Could even cheat and purchase an already roasted chicken in the store!

Might try making your own cream sauce and adding fresh mushrooms and grating different cheeses into the cream sauce mixture for tasty variations.

Making me hungry!


Lee B profile image

Lee B 6 years ago from New Mexico Author

Thanks, Peggy W, for the idea of the already roasted chicken. Now, why didn't I think of that? I'm usually all about the easiest way possible.

Yes, I agree that different cheeses in the sauce would be good. And be sure to use some good green chili. I can't seem to find it here in Seattle.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

These do look very tasty and relatively easy. Like the look of that last one especially. Could be a good party dish.

Love and peace

Tony


Lee B profile image

Lee B 6 years ago from New Mexico Author

The recipe using the roasted chicken is my go-to recipe for just about any occasion. I'm a very rudimentary cook, and I've never had a problem with it. I'm originally from New Mexico where this recipe is a staple for almost any gathering. Hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for stopping by, Tony!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

your hubs are like comfort food and my appetite because of them is alays being satisfied.


Lee B profile image

Lee B 6 years ago from New Mexico Author

Thank you so much, epigramman!


Suki C profile image

Suki C 6 years ago from Andalucia, Spain

I like the way that you've shown the recipe in different formats - I think sometimes being a good cook is having the ability to adapt your ingredients according to your circumstances and you've certainly achieved that here :)

I'm just starting to write some recipes to publish as hubs. I have one published one already for a very easy salmon & spinach bake which I'm sure could be adapted in your style using solely store cupboard ingredients!


Lee B profile image

Lee B 6 years ago from New Mexico Author

Thank you for your kind comments, Suki. I'll be sure to check out your hubs, particularly the salmon recipe.


Team A profile image

Team A 6 years ago

I like your article. I am in the process of writing articles in cooking. Hopefully you get to read it once published. By the way, its really making me hungry.


Lee B profile image

Lee B 6 years ago from New Mexico Author

Thank you, Team A. I may try another cooking hub one of these days, I'll I look forward to reading your work.


iguidenetwork profile image

iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

Yum!


Lee B profile image

Lee B 4 years ago from New Mexico Author

Thanks for stopping by, iguidenetwork! This is my "go-to" recipe.

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