Monday, January 30, 2012

Why I had a Hissy Fit over King Ranch Casserole

Last week was a hard week.  Work and life were crammed.  I caught a cold.  And my computer died.

The cold was not a minor cold, it gave me aches and pains that felt like evil meany-poo viruses had attacked every cell of my body.

Although Scott would say it's my own darn fault that I kept going despite feeling miserable (which is true)  I also felt constrained.  A colleague from Milwaukee flew in just for me to mentor her for 2 days--a very enjoyable time assuming I didn't sneeze and cough her into receiving a Boston gift she never wanted.  My sister flew in for a day and this was our chance to celebrate her 40th birthday.

Because my main language of love is food, receiving food and serving food, I kept cooking for the family through it all.  We've been back on the i-diet since January 2nd, so I really dug deep into my kindly heart to make King Ranch Casserole--knowing the kids were sick of non-creamy, non-carbohydrate laden, non-cheesy food.  Everyone was happy--even Scott, because I also made chicken soup and a really great salad with strawberries and avocados, so we were still eating within reason.

But when I returned to the kitchen in the middle of kids cleaning, my son was scooping the casserole with big plops into a Tupperware so all the cheese on top mixed with the rest of the casserole and it looked like a huge pile of creamy vomit.

I couldn't take it.  I started shrieking "What are you doing to my casserole!!!!"

"What's wrong?  I thought I was being helpful," he said, "I'm putting it away."

"Why aren't you using a spatula and cutting out pieces so the cheese stays on top and it looks nice?" I continued shrieking.  "The way I always do???"

The kids all looked at me as if I'd lost my mind, which I had.

"What's the big deal?"

Wrong words.  But my kids are getting too old and too wise to deal with their mother melting over stupid things.

"You're sick, we're cleaning, you should just go to bed," one of them said.  They sounded just like their dad.

Defeated, I slunk away.  Later, when I said sorry to 2 for yelling, one said I wasn't forgiven.


King Ranch Casserole

King Ranch Casserole is a tortilla chicken casserole that's incredibly yummy and not too unhealthy if you use whole wheat tortillas.  I'd never heard of it before Moira Goode, the wife of the rector at All Angels who married us, made it for an Urban Project I directed in NYC.  You've never seen such joy as those students and staff scarfing up this casserole.  When random folks happen into my house and try a bite, they rave about this casserole.

Moira says that everything is interchangeable and you can change proportions also.  So I often use more peppers and onions to raise the health quotient.  I also poke the sauce into the casserole to make sure it sinks in.  I find that if I use a Costco/BJs rotisserie chicken, the casserole gets too salty, so I prefer just plain boiled chicken.  Especially because then I can save the broth for soup that qualifies for the i-diet.

4 cups diced cooked chicken
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilis
2 cans cream of chicken soup, or cream of mushroom, or cream of whatever you like
½ can chicken broth
1 cup sour cream (I use light)
1 package (8-10) flour tortillas cut into small pieces (I use Trader Joe’s 100% whole wheat)
1 Large onion, diced
½ green pepper diced (or use a whole pepper if you want more veggies in it)
½ red pepper diced
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (or more if you like it cheesy)

  1. Mix tomatoes, soups, broth and sour cream in a bowl
  2. Layer 9 X 13 pan with ½ chicken, onion, peppers, tortillas, repeat the layer. 
  3. Pour sauce over whole casserole
  4. Sprinkle grated cheese on top
  5. Bake 1 hour @ 350

1 comment:

Roland said...

this sound very yummy!