EatingWell King Ranch Casserole

EatingWell King Ranch Casserole

14 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2013

This healthy Tex-Mex King Ranch casserole recipe is typically made with cans of cream-of-something soup. We've lightened up this casserole recipe considerably by making a homemade cream sauce and loading it up with veggies at the same time. You'll never guess that a serving of our version of King Ranch casserole has 300 fewer calories and two-thirds less fat than the original. This recipe makes enough for two 8-by-8-inch casseroles (four servings each)—have one for dinner tonight and freeze the other for a night when you don't have time to make dinner.

Ingredients 8 servings

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Original recipe yields 8 servings
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  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium red or green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1½ cups diced fresh tomatoes
  • ½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 7-ounce can or two 4-ounce cans diced green chiles, drained
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 12 6-inch corn tortillas, cut in half, divided
  • 1 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup sliced ripe black olives, divided


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat two 8-inch-square baking dishes with cooking spray.
  2. Place chicken in a large saucepan and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until just cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a clean cutting board. Dice when cool.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the mushroom liquid has evaporated, 7 to 9 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and chili powder; stir for 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add broth and cook, stirring, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in tomatoes, sour cream, chiles, salt and the chicken.
  4. To assemble: Spread 1 cup filling in each prepared baking dish. Layer on 4 tortilla halves and top with 1 cup filling. Repeat 2 more layers of tortillas and filling, ending with the rest of the filling. Sprinkle cheese and olives on top.
  5. To serve: Bake until hot and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. To freeze: Let unbaked casserole(s) cool to room temperature. Tightly wrap with heavy-duty foil (or freezer paper) and freeze. (To prevent foil from sticking to the cheese, coat with cooking spray first.)
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4, cover and freeze (unbaked) for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 2 days. Uncover and bake at 375°F for about 50 minutes.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about 1¼ cups
  • Per serving: 356 calories; 13 g fat(5 g sat); 5 g fiber; 29 g carbohydrates; 33 g protein; 43 mcg folate; 81 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 1,365 IU vitamin A; 32 mg vitamin C; 189 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 731 mg sodium; 662 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (53% daily value), Vitamin A (27% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2
  • Exchanges: 1½ starch, 1½ vegetable, 3 lean meat, ½ medium-fat meat, 1 fat

Reviews 14

July 17, 2018
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By: beckypoe51
I'd give it a solid 3.5 stars. Held together pretty well for us. Followed the recipe to the letter except an ounce more of canned mushrooms (which I wish the ingredient list specified since you're supposed to evaporate the liquid but we had bought fresh - glad we had canned in pantry). Surprisingly tasty without drenching in hot sauce as I usually do. We will make this again - thanks for another good recipe to add to the rotation! It is heavy on prep work but worth it.
October 10, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
So disappointed!!!! I made this casserole to freeze so that it would be available when my family was visiting a week later. I followed the directions to a tee......freezing uncooked, then defrosting for 2 days, then cooking uncovered. Well just as another reviewer commented: it was totally mushy. I ended up throwing the whole thing out after all that work. My assumption was that the other reviewer didn't follow the directions properly for freezing, but apparently they I got the same result. I won't try making this without freezing as my first experience was so awful!!!
August 14, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
This is a delicious healthy version of this casserole!! I used a 9 x 13 pan for my recipe. I also modified by using about 1 lb of chicken and adding one can of black beans and also by adding a chopped fresh jalapeno pepper. 2 lbs of chicken seems like overkill. It does serve well as a leftover.
May 03, 2014
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By: HungryHawkeye
Pleasantly was delicious I tried this with low expectations for some reason, but was pleasantly surprised - the whole family loved it! I am not sure why several reviews said it was a lot of work, but we all define that differently I guess. I thought it came together pretty quickly. I did have leftover chicken so that helped. I also made it in a large pan rather than 2 small ones and we ate the leftovers over the next couple days. Otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Pros: Tastes great
February 24, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
sounds decent I'm going to try this using the meat from one rotisserie chix bought at the deli instead of boiling chix breasts. Pros: good ingredients Cons: lots of prep
February 10, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Lots of Work, but very good This is like eating a taco dip from a party for dinner, but with less fat. It is very tasty. I don't know why people are calling it bland (it is not) but maybe they mean it is not spicy (indeed, it is not hot). I would considering leaving out the corn shells and just scooping it into some taco shells. I will likely make this again but definitely will pre-chop and shred things, as the prep time is WAY TOO LONG to tackle after work. Pros: Tastes great, decent nutritionally Cons: Lots of Work
January 22, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Tasty! A bit more work than I'd like but really tasty. I put the whole thing in a 9x13 pan instead of cooking one 8x8 pan and freezing one. The leftovers are good too! I'd definitely make this again - my husband and I both really liked it.
November 23, 2013
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By: Jilary
Much better than the other EW KRC recipe I've made both of the King Ranch Casserole recipes on this site, and this one was significantly better! I used quorn chicken cutlets as I'm a vegetarian, and I subbed a variety of hot peppers instead of bell. I also used a combination of shiitake and hen of the woods mushrooms, and left off the olives. I really enjoyed this version, but it was even better topped with some Killin' me Man hot sauce that I got in Bocas Del Toro Panama. This isn't like a tabasco hot sauce, it's more like ground up hot peppers and onions. Pros: Great flavors
October 28, 2013
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By: kristenrenee523
I'm a beginner cook and this dish was very easy for me. I dont think I cooked for long enough because its very watery. I took out the dish because the cheese fell to the bottom of the stove and was burning and I never put back in. It is edible and I can still taste all the yummyness but hate the watery looking stuff surrounding the chicken! lol I think I am going to try this dish again in a bigger dish!
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