King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch Chicken Casserole | Pinky's Pantry
This dish is a Tex-Mex favorite. In fact, I hear you can’t go to a church social or potluck down in Texas without seeing one version or other of this dish on the table. It’s not surprising because not only is it delicious, but it can be made ahead of time and it travels well.

You can make a low-fat version of this dish by substituting reduced fat cream of mushroom soup, reduced fat cream of chicken soup, and reduced fat cheese. It turns out just as yummy.

I like to serve this dish with some sour cream and salsa on the side. I never have any leftovers when I make it. Try making this easy recipe for your next weeknight dinner or office potluck and you’ll see what I mean.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole | Pinky's Pantry

KING RANCH CHICKEN CASSEROLE

  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped (can substitute red bell pepper)
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 1 whole cooked chicken, deboned and shredded (about 3-4 cups chicken)
  • 1 can (10¾ oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can (10¾ oz.) cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can (10 oz.) Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 12 (6-­inch) corn tortillas
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or use your favorite – I like Mexican blend)
  • 2 stalks green onion, chopped (optional for garnish)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
  3. Sauté onion, bell pepper and poblano pepper until onions start to become translucent.
  4. Stir in chicken, soups, Rotel, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  5. Remove skillet from heat.
  6. Tear 4 tortillas into 1-­inch pieces and scatter on bottom of prepared baking dish.
  7. Top with 1/3 of chicken mixture and 1 cup cheese.
    NOTE:  It’ll seem like you don’t have enough chicken mixture to fill the layer to the edges of the dish, but don’t worry. Just spread the filling really thin. It’s okay to have some empty spots. Once you bake it, it’ll all fill in and be just fine.
  8. Tear 4 more tortillas into pieces and make a second layer of tortillas, 1/3 chicken mixture and 1 cup cheese.
  9. Tear the last 4 tortillas to make a final layer with the last of the chicken mixture and top with 2 cups of cheese.
  10. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until casserole is bubbling and cheese is browning at the edges.
  11. If desired, garnish with chopped green onion before serving.

NOTE:  This casserole can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. To cook from frozen, thaw in refrigerator overnight, then bake as directed.

Cheesy Bacon Tater Tots

Cheesy Bacon Tater Tots | Pinky's Pantry
Did you know that February 2nd is National Tater Tot Day? It’s an easy day for me to remember because it’s also my only brother’s birthday. Tater tots are an iconic American food that was created in the early 1950’s. The founders of Ore-Ida were trying to figure out what to do with all the little leftover pieces of potato that they had tons of everyday. They chopped up the potato pieces, mixed them with flour and seasonings, then forced the mixture through the barrel of an extruder, slicing off little one-inch pieces as the mixture came through. And so the tater tot was born.

Actually, when the little potato nuggets were first created, they didn’t have a name for them so the owners of Ore-Ida decided to have a name-the-product contest among their employees. The name “Tater Tots” was submitted by a young mother named Clora Lay Orton. Everyone loved the name and she won the contest.

It’s hard to believe that when the inexpensive tater tots were first sold in stores in 1956, they didn’t exactly fly off the shelves. Today, Americans consume approximately 70 million pounds of them per year! It’s safe to say the lowly tater tot has finally found its place in society, from school cafeterias to the ever popular food truck. It’s certainly found its way to our dinner table!

CHEESY BACON TATER TOTS

  • 1 bag frozen tater tots
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 6 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
  • 2 stalks green onions, chopped
  1. Bake tater tots according to package directions.
  2. While tots are baking, combine sour cream and ranch dressing in a bowl.
  3. Drizzle sour cream mixture over baked tater tots.
  4. Sprinkle cheeses over the top.
  5. Place under broiler until cheese is completely melted.
  6. Remove from broiler and top with crumbled bacon and green onions.
  7. Return to broiler for 2-5 minutes to warm up the bacon.
  8. Serve hot.