If you’re struggling to decide what to do with leftover chicken, try chicken enchilada casserole. A lasagna-and-enchilada hybrid created by layering shredded chicken, cheese, enchilada sauce and tortillas, this casserole can be made with just a handful of ingredients and is easily elevated by layering in additional ingredients such as rice and beans. Since the chicken is pre-cooked, simply bake the casserole until hot and bubbly.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Shred leftover chicken with two forks, gently pulling the forks in opposite directions to finely separate the chicken into thin, finely shredded strips.
Preheat your oven to 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat the sides of a baking pan with cooking spray to prevent the sides of the casserole from sticking. Cut a few tortillas into quarters. Add a small amount of enchilada sauce to the bottom of your baking pan, making sure it coats the entire surface. This will help prevent the casserole from sticking.
Add a layer of tortilla quarters to the pan, overlapping as necessary to create a complete layer. Layer equal parts shredded chicken and cheese to completely cover the tortilla layer. If you would like, layer in additional ingredients at this time, such as black beans, rice or corn, using amounts equivalent to the shredded chicken and cheese. Drizzle enchilada sauce on top so that it covers the shredded chicken and cheese; repeat the layer once more.
Top the casserole with a layer of tortilla quarters, drizzled with enchilada sauce. Add a generous layer of shredded cheese and place in the oven. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Let it cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve the casserole with sides of sour cream and salsa.
Boneless chicken breasts work best for shredding, but you can use any part of the chicken you like; just make sure to remove all of the bones.
Customize your casserole with the addition of diced onions and peppers, minced garlic, black olives, pinto or black beans, corn or rice.
Garnish each piece of chicken enchilada casserole with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of freshly chopped cilantro.
Serve chicken enchilada casserole with pico de gallo, salsa or hot sauce.
Chicken enchilada casserole can be prepared up to a day ahead of time. Simply cover the pan with a lid or plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake it.
Let the casserole cool off for a few minutes before digging in as it will be very hot.