Wednesdays Unplugged – Chicken Tortilla Casserole



"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity." ~ Dorothy Parker


NOTE: I spend my Wednesdays Unplugged from appointments. It's my day to stay home, enjoy cooking and welcome our kids and grandkids for dinner in the evening. We end our meal with quotes from the Norwegian 'Quote Cup' passed on to me from my grandmother. I share a quote and a recipe here each week, and sometimes some photos of family fun. I love trying new recipes…and love getting recipes you would like to share!


My mother said they used to call her 'spergalerte' when she was young… I have no no idea how to spell it (it was derived from Norwegian) but she said it meant "Question-Box". Her twin brother was a research physicist so I would guess he was always asking questions as well. That must mean my constant questions and digging to know/learn more is in my genes. It certainly does help me in my work… I'm at my best and happiest when I am problem solving. We had a big day last Saturday… out with clients in the morning, then off to a family photo shoot by Mill City Museum, followed by a Prairie Home Companion broadcast… with Garrison retiring soon, he won't be hosting that many more so it was a special treat. The California Honeydrops who were guest artists were also a special treat… so talented and joyful, the music just bubbled out of them.


Both my husband and I cut out Mexican recipes in the last week and our daughter has been asking for an 'original' taco pie, said it was time to get back to our roots! So I figured it was time for a Mexican menu this week. I made an unadulterated Taco Pie for our daughter and the new dish below from Ree Drummond in the Food Network Magazine. It is very hearty, think lasgna pan serving 12-16 people. Be careful to go easy on the sauces or it can get too soupy, at least for eating right away. Allow time for it to settle before serving, has great flavor and makes great leftovers… it can even be frozen after assembling for baking and serving up to 6 months later.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil Chicken tortilla casserole1
  • 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes (about 3-5)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 12-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 16-ounce jar salsa verde
  • 10 large or 12 small tortillas
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 11-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 pound grated cheddar-jack cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • Sour cream and cilantro for serving

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the tomatoes, onion and garlic, stir and cook for a minute or two to soften the onion. Add 2 teaspoons of the chili powder, 1 teaspoon of the paprika and 1 teaspoon of the cumin. Stir and cook the mixture for another minute or two to release the flavors of the spices. Remove the mixture to a bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat the other tablespoon olive oil. Add the chicken and remaining 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute the chicken until it is deep golden brown and done in the middle, about 4-5 minutes. Add 1 cup water and stir to make a sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until it's reduced by half, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the beans and set aside.

Assemble the casserole in a large lasagna pan or disposable foil baking pan. Pour half a jar (about a cup) of salsa verde into the bottom of the pan. Add a layer of half the tortillas, overlapping on top of the salsa verde and add layers in this order: rice, tomato mixture, corn, chicken and bean mixture, half the cheese, the rest of the tortillas, the rest of the salsa verde, the rest of the enchilada sauce and the rest of the cheese.

Bake covered with foil in preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 15-20 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serve with sour cream and cilantro.

May freeze for up to 6 months before baking in 350 degree oven… foil covered for 2 hours, then remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes more until hot and bubbly.

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results - Email - Minneapolis Realtor Who Cooks


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I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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