Most of the time, I'm not the person who encourages you to open a bunch of cans and call it cooking. Today, I'm that person. Some regional ingredients, like the enchilada sauce and roasted green chiles in this chicken tortilla casserole, are hard to find in my part of the world in any other form, and if that's your situation, you have my permission to reach for your can opener. Although I call this a tortilla casserole, the recipe only calls for two tortillas -- oat bran tortillas, which are low in calories and carbs. Swap in your favorite whole grain tortillas, but don't omit them; they keep everything else from collapsing before the casserole cooks through. For an easy worknight dinner, use a rotisserie chicken or any leftover cooked chicken. You can prep the chicken-and-bean filling a few days in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Then, when you're ready to serve the casserole, assemble the layers with tortillas and cheese, and bake. Serve with traditional tortilla toppings like chunks of avocado and sour cream on the side.
Chicken tortilla casserole
4 cups shredded cooked chicken (I use a small rotisserie chicken)
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
4 oz can roasted green chiles
10 oz can green or red enchilada sauce (I use Casa Fiesta all-natural, from the supermarket)
16 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
29-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
Green (or red) Tabasco, to taste
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or more to taste
2 oat bran tortillas (8-inch burrito size) or other whole grain tortillas
8 oz cheese (I use store-bought low-fat Mexican four-cheese blend)
Shred the chicken and set it aside.
In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over low-medium heat, and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the green chiles, enchilada sauce, chopped tomato, cumin and chili powder. Stir to combine, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the black beans, reserved shredded chicken, green Tabasco (or other hot sauce) and salt. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the mixture from sticking, until the liquid is reduced by a third. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes (can be made ahead up to this point and refrigerated).
To assemble the casserole, scatter 3 Tbsp of the chicken-bean sauce on the bottom of the casserole. Top with 1 tortilla. Then, spread half of the sauce evenly over the the tortilla, and top it with half of the cheese. Set the second tortilla on top, and follow with the remaining sauce, and then the remaining cheese.
Cover the pan and bake at 375F for 30 minutes. Then, uncover, and bake for an additional 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned.
Serve hot. Can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Cheesy chicken and black bean burritos, from Noble Pig
Burritos blancos, from Budget Bytes
Spicy bean burritos, from Annie's Eats
Breakfast burrito pizza, from Poor Girl Eats Well
BBQ chicken quesadillas, from Gaga in the Kitchen
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