Tex-Mex chicken enchilada casserole is a delicious dinner main when you are craving Southwestern-style comfort food without the notorious gut-busting casserole calories. Scoring in at under 375 calories, this lightened up enchilada bake is a win-win for your taste buds and keeping your diet in check. For busy weeknights, this time extensive dish can be made ahead of time. Simply prep the casserole and refrigerate for up to two days or freeze for up to a week.
4 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chopped onion, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup salsa verde
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeño pepper
9 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 425°.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; sauté 4 minutes on each side. Place skillet in oven; bake at 425° for 10 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 15 minutes. Remove meat from bones; shred. Discard bones. Place chicken in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, corn, and next 5 ingredients (through black pepper) to chicken; toss to combine.
Return pan to medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup onion; sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 3 garlic cloves; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add onion mixture to chicken mixture; stir to combine.
Combine remaining 1 1/2 cups onion, remaining 3 garlic cloves, broth, salsa, 1/4 cup water, and jalapeño in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Carefully pour mixture into a blender; add 2 tablespoons cilantro. Process until smooth.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tortillas; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Remove tortillas from pan; repeat procedure with remaining tortillas. Cut tortillas into quarters.
Spread 1/2 cup salsa mixture in the bottom of an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 12 tortilla quarters over salsa mixture. Spoon half of chicken mixture over tortillas. Repeat layers, ending with tortillas. Pour remaining salsa mixture over tortillas; sprinkle evenly with cheddar cheese. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Top with remaining cilantro.
This recipe is very good if you like spicy food. You can cut the heat down by using less red pepper. Some people have said their casserole turned out too soupy...I think this could be due to the type of tortilla they used. You absolutely must use raw corn tortillas for this recipe! When you cook them, I bake mine on a cookie sheet in the oven, they become very dry like tortilla chips and soak up the liquid while baking so it isn't soupy at all. If you've never used them, I buy mine at the local Kroger in the refrigerated section near the dairy. These tortillas are raw so must be refrigerated.
This was a HUGE hit with our family! I used precooked grilled chicken breast instead of the thighs. It was too spicy for our 6 year old but the 9 year old twins loved it! I may have added a few more jalapenos than the recipe called for though. Great, great flavors with the salsa verde and cilantro!
This is such an amazing idea for a casserole. Not too heavy on the tortillas (which my wife usually complains about with chicken enchiladas). My wife and son both loved it. I just need to double up on all the ingredients next time. This stuff was gone in no time. And it didn't take any longer than most of my recipes do. (Which is actually quite some time since I'm really slow in the kitchen)
Terrific! I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I made a recipe for Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic using chicken thighs. Then I used those thighs in the casserole. Two meals in the time it took to make one! Delicious casserole and relatively low cal. I added more chicken than called for to boost the protein vs. carb ratio.
Loved this recipe. I did also brown the cheese on top and it gave it a great flavor. I also used the red enchilada sauce instead of salsa verde because I am not a fan of the green sauces. VERY good! Will make this again.
This turned out great. I am so glad that I read someone's review about using "raw corn tortillas" it was essential. I feel like it made the dish. This dish tends to be on the spicy side, I left out the jalapenos and only did half of the red pepper. I am a vegetarian, and my husband isnt. This was an easy dish to turn into a vegetarian dish. I just used veggie chicken and vegetable broth. I also used about half of the amount of garlic that the recipe called for. Be prepared, it takes MUCH longer to prepare than the recipe indicates. This would be a good dish to prepare the meat ahead of time and freeze it to reduce prep time. If my rating was based solely on the recipe provided and the instructions given, it would be closer to a 3. Since I read the other reviews, its taste was a 4.
This turned out to be delicious! I'm so glad I found it. Something different for the table. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because it takes way more than the hour & 5 mins it states in the recipe.
Like others, I thought the effort that went into this wasn't worth it. I even shredded a rotisserie chicken to make the process shorter, but the end result (for me) wasn't worth it. It was also very soupy, so something might have done wrong somewhere along the way for me.
The taste was pretty good, but the look was kind of iffy