Even with the weather warming up, there’s room for a good casserole, and Mexican Chicken Casserole is good. The tortilla chips on the bottom of this casserole combine with the salsa to form a bottom soft polenta crust, while the tortillas on the top are nice and crunchy. No leftovers–again.


2-1/2 cups lightly crushed tortilla chips, divided

12 chicken tenderloins

1-16 oz jar salsa (I used Pace brand)

1-1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (I went spicy with this and used Cabot’s Hot Habanero)

2 green onions, sliced thin

1/2 cup diced tomatoes

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees; lightly oil a large casserole dish

2) Scatter 1-1/2 cups tortilla chips (reserving 1 cup) over bottom of casserole dish; top with chicken tenderloins (a single layer); pour salsa over chicken; cover with aluminum foil and bake in oven 40 minutes

3) Remove aluminum foil; scatter reserved 1 cup tortilla chips over top, followed by cheese, green onions, and tomatoes; bake 5 minutes longer and serve

Servings: 4


Obviously enchiladas are a family favorite since I make them a couple times a month. They’re all good–really can’t go wrong with enchiladas–but the roasted red pepper makes these stand out beautifully. Easy to make and too good not to eat down to the last serving.

Chicken-Roasted Red Pepper Enchiladas

3 cups chopped deli-roasted chicken

1-1/2 cups chopped roasted red pepper (I used jarred)

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1/2 cup (4 oz) reduced fat cream cheese, softened

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

9 small corn tortillas

1 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 cups chopped onion, divided

1 cup chicken broth

3/4 cup salsa verde

3 tbsp chopped jalapeno pepper, divided (yes, the picture shows minced but that’s because I let Junior Too have at it)

3/4 cup grated triple cheese (white, sharp, and mild cheddar mix)

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees; lightly oil a 13×9″ baking dish

2) To medium-sized mixing bowl, add: chicken, roasted red pepper, corn, cream cheese, cumin, salt, and pepper; mix well and set aside

3) Heat large skillet over medium-high heat; cook tortillas 30 seconds each side (2 at a time if your skillet is large enough); cut into quarters and set aside

4) To same skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil and onions; cook 7 minutes, stirring often, until softened and transfer half the onions to the chicken mixture and mix well

5) Return skillet with remaining onions to stove top and heat over medium; add chicken broth, salsa verde, and half the jalapenos; cook 10 minutes, stirring salsa mixture occasionally; remove from heat

6) Spread 1/2 cup salsa mixture over bottom of baking dish; layer half the tortilla quarters over salsa, followed by half the chicken mixture, the remaining tortilla quarters, and the remaining chicken mixture; bake in oven 15 minutes; scatter cheese and remaining jalapeños over top and cook additional 3 minutes until cheese melts; serve it up!

Servings: 6


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This tortilla dish has several great things going for it. It’s gorgeous cut in wedges and served out of the skillet (right side up or upside down), fabulously tasty, and pretty easy. All thumbs up on this one.

Tomato Potato Chorizo Tortilla

10 oz chorizo sausage, casings removed (I used Ole Mexican Foods brand)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large baking potato, sliced thin (scrubbed clean and unpeeled)

1 red onion, diced

1 cup Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

8 eggs

3/4 cup milk

sea salt

ground black pepper

5 Campari tomatoes, sliced thin

1 tsp minced parsley

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2) To large oven-safe skillet (I used cast iron) over medium-high heat, add chorizo sausage and cook 5-6 minutes; transfer chorizo to bowl and set aside

3) To same skillet (don’t wipe clean), add olive oil and potatoes; lower heat to medium and cook 8-10 minutes, gently stirring often, until potatoes are tender and lightly browned; add onions and cook 5 minutes, gently stirring often; remove skillet from heat, scatter chorizo sausage and cheese over potatoes and onions, and set aside

4) In medium-sized bowl, mix eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper; pour egg mixture in skillet over potato mixture; arrange tomatoes across surface; bake in oven 20-25 minutes until eggs are set and puffed; remove from oven, scatter with parsley, and serve

Servings: 6


This delicious chicken and black bean tortilla casserole is made in individual casserole dishes but can easily be baked in one large casserole dish. All my guys made quick work of this dinner–and quite a bit of noise with their search-out-the-last-tidbit spoon clanking.

Spray olive oil

2 cups tortilla chips, divided

3 cups cooked chicken breast, diced (deli-roasted chicken works well)

1-14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1-16 oz jar salsa verde

2 green onions, sliced thin

1/4 cup light sour cream

3 tbsp chopped cilantro

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Optional toppings: sour cream, tomatoes, avocado, minced cilantro, diced jalapenos

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly spray 4 small casserole dishes (12-14 oz capacity) with spray olive oil

2) Crush 1 cup tortilla chips (reserving 1 cup for topping) and divide between casserole dishes; set aside

3) To large mixing bowl, add chicken, black beans, corn, salsa verde, green onions, sour cream, and cilantro; mix well and divide between casserole dishes

4) Bake casseroles uncovered 25 minutes until heated through and lightly bubbling; divide reserved tortilla chips between casseroles, pushing tips into tops of casseroles; sprinkle cheese over casseroles and bake additional 5 minutes; remove from oven, add toppings of your choice, and serve

Servings: 4


I know our family will tire of the heavier dishes when the weather warms up, but we’re enjoying them as we move through fall and toward winter–especially when they come out this good. Believe it or not, the one stand-out ingredient is shoepeg corn, the cutest, tiniest pearly-whitest little nuggets ever. Chow down!


3/4 lb lean ground beef

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups frozen shoepeg corn, thawed

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese


1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

2 ancho chiles in adobo sauce, minced

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp minced cilantro

1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1 cup water

1 tbsp ketchup


3 flour tortillas (8″ diameter)

1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1 avocado (pitted, peeled, and sliced thin)

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

1) FILLING: In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until just done; drain excess oil and transfer ground beef to large mixing bowl; add black beans, corn, and cheese and stir to combine; refrigerate

2) Preheat oven to 400 degrees

3) SAUCE: Return skillet to stove, add olive oil and heat over medium heat; add onion and red bell pepper and cook 10 minutes until tender; stir in ancho chiles, salt, cilantro, diced tomatoes, water, and ketchup; reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes; remove from heat

4) To bottom of a 9″ to 10″ diameter pie dish (about 2-1/2″ deep–I used a tapered one), add 1/4 of the sauce; assemble lasagna as follows: 1 tortilla, 1/3 meat mixture, and 1/4 sauce; repeat twice more for a total of 3 layers; bake in oven 30 minutes and scatter remaining 1/2 cup cheese over top during last 3-4 minutes; remove from oven and arrange avocado slices on top; sprinkle cilantro over top and serve

Servings: 4-6 depending on hunger level


Avocados are the “icing” on this delicious dish. “Thumbs up” from all my guys and a big THANK YOU from me to them for saving room for dessert so I could enjoy leftovers for lunch.

1-8 oz pkg reduced-fat cream cheese

1-1/2 cup salsa verde (the green stuff)

4 cups coarsely chopped fresh baby spinach

2-10 oz cans chicken breast, drained (or, better yet, 2-1/2 cups of deli-roasted chicken)

12 soft taco-sized flour tortillas

2-10 oz cans mild red enchilada sauce

1/4 cup chunky salsa (the red stuff)

8 oz Pepper Jack cheese, grated

3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

1 cup diced tomatoes

1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced thin

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish

2) To large, microwave-safe bowl, add cream cheese; microwave 1 minute to soften; to cream cheese, add: salsa verde, spinach, and chicken; mix well to combine

3) Lay out flour tortillas; divide cream cheese mixture between tortillas, spooning down center of each tortilla; roll tortillas and place, seam-side down, in baking pan

4) In medium bowl, combine red enchilada sauce and chunky salsa; pour sauce over enchiladas; place enchiladas in oven and bake 25 minutes; sprinkle Pepper Jack cheese over enchiladas and bake additional 5 minutes; remove from oven

5) Scatter lettuce, tomatoes, and avocados over enchiladas and serve

Servings: 6-8

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 06/22/12.


Though this casserole carries the “breakfast” qualifier, it’s a delicious and filling dinner as verified by our guests last night (picture does not do it justice). Even the browned bits on the bottom of the dish were claimed–making for easy clean up 🙂

Chorizo-Avocado-Tomato Breakfast Casserole2

olive oil cooking spray

4 cups diced bread (I used ciabatta, but a hearty white or sourdough would work well too)

1 lb lean ground beef

6 oz chorizo sausage, casing removed (or 8 oz if really spicy is your thing)

1/2 medium onion, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1 cup baby spinach

6 eggs

1 cup milk

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground mustard

1 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese with jalapenos (or pepper jack cheese), divided

1-1/2 cups tortilla chips

3 Roma tomatoes, halved and sliced thin thin thin

1 avocado (ripe but on the firm side–mine was a bit too ripe), diced

3 scallions, sliced thin

2 tbsp fresh-squeezed lime juice

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; oil a large casserole dish (I used an oval 10×13″) and spread bread cubes over bottom; set aside

2)Heat a large skillet over medium-heat heat; add ground beef and chorizo (don’t forget to remove casing); cook about 5 minutes until meat browns; reduce heat to medium and drain off excess fat; add onion and red bell pepper to meat and cook 5 minutes until veggies soften; remove from heat, stir in spinach, and spoon mixture over bread cubes

3) In large bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt, and mustard; pour egg mixture over bread and meat mixture; scatter 1/2 cup each of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses (reserving 1/2 cup each for topping) over top; scatter tortilla chips over cheeses; cover casserole with aluminum foil and bake 40-45 minutes

4) Meanwhile, in medium bowl gently mix tomatoes, avocado, scallions, and lime juice; refrigerate until ready to use

5) When toothpick inserted in center of casserole comes out clean, scatter reserved cheeses over tortilla chips and bake an additional 5 minutes (uncovered) until cheeses melt; remove from oven and spoon tomato-avocado mixture over top of casserole; serve immediately to the delight of your hungry ones

Servings: 6-8