Spice up your evening with this hot and cheesy Chicken Enchilada Casserole. You can whip it up in a flash — and make an extra to freeze.
While the humble casserole may not be something gorgeous to look at, it has a lot going for it in other ways: taste, convenience, comfort — to name a few. One of our family’s very favorite casseroles is this super easy, very freezer-friendly, packed with spicy Mexican flavors, Chicken Enchilada Casserole.
Once I’ve got the ingredients set up, assembly happens in just minutes. I usually make 2-3 pans of it so that I freeze extras for later. It’s so nice to pull a bubbly hot casserole from the oven on busy nights!This dish has a little bit of a kick to it, depending on what kind of salsa you use. I really love the heat in this one. You can use tomato salsa, but be warned that the dish turns a little pink when you do that. For that reason, I prefer salsa verde.
And yes, this is the magic sauce you’ve seen in other recipes: Cilantro Chicken Rice Bowls, Creamy Chicken Salsa Verde, and my very favorite Poblano Chile Enchiladas. I love that stuff. If I weren’t already taken, I’d marry it. Just kidding. That makes me sound like Pioneer Woman or something. Ha!
Anyway, this Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe is a keeper. Trust me. It’s like enchiladas but so, So, SO much easier. Just mix it all in a bowl, spread it in the pan, and let the oven do its magic work.
How I make this good:
One of the things I love about this recipe is that all the ingredients are real food: chicken, cheese, sour cream, salsa, tortillas, onions, olives, and spices. I buy the Hatch Valley Salsa at Trader Joe’s which has just a handful of whole food ingredients; TJ’s corn tortillas are the best for having the cleanest ingredients list, too. I try to buy the best ingredients I can with the budget we have to work with.
How I make this cheap:
Here are some of the strategies I use to make this recipe more economical:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. For instance, when I see a great price on sour cream, I’ll buy 4-5 containers, depending on their expiration dates.
- Use a whole chicken! Cooking a whole chicken (or buying one that Costco roasted for you) can be more economical than buying chicken pieces. Plus, you can use the carcass to make homemade stock. You can easily make this Chicken Enchilada Casserole with turkey when the whole birds go on sale in the fall.
- Make your own taco seasoning. It doesn’t take but minutes and it’s much cheaper than those little packets. Tastes better, too.
How I make this recipe easy:
This past week, I used a Costco rotisserie chicken to make my prep work a little bit easier. The cost of the chicken is comparable to a whole chicken uncooked — and they taste great! Plus, the work is done for me.
I also tend to make several of these casseroles at one time. It’s not much harder to make three than it is one, as long as I have enough ingredients on hand. I stash those away in the freezer leaving us with a couple easy dinners for future nights.
Having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs. Here are the tools that I use.
- plastic cutting boards – I have blue boards for veggies and white boards for meat.
- Ergo Chef chef’s knife – I’ve had my set for several years and they work well.
- stainless steel mixing bowl – Get the biggest bowl you can find if making multiple batches
- wire whisk – I like this style with a sealed barrel. Then you can send it through the dishwasher.
- 9×13 Pyrex pan with lid – This is my favorite! These are perfect for freezer cooking!
Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe
- 1 16-ounce container sour cream
- 1 12-ounce jar salsa verde
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning mix
- 12 corn tortillas torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cup chicken (cooked and cubed)
- 12 oz cheddar cheese (shredded) can also use jack, pepper jack cheese, or a mixture (3 cups)
- 1/2 onion chopped for 1/2 cup
- 1/4 cup sliced black olives
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream, salsa, and taco seasoning. Stir in the tortilla pieces, chicken, 2 cups of cheese, and the onion. Stir well to combine.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Top with the remaining cheese and black olives. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle cilantro over top before serving.
- The casserole can be frozen or refrigerated, prior to baking. Add a few minutes to the cooking time to allot for a cold pan.