Chicken Nacho Casserole with Guacamole
Is it just another nacho dish? Is it a casserole? Is it some form of layered Southwestern lasagna? I really don’t know what to call these, but are they delicious? ABSOLUTELY!!!
Loaded with cheese, chicken, chips, and tons of flavor, these are perfect! Make for any occasion as an appetizer, a main course, or as a huge dish of food you eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for three days because you and your husband can’t eat it all at once (even though we want to). Pair with your favorite guacamole (check out the simple recipe I provide below!), salsa, and/or sour cream, and get munching!
Chicken Nacho Casserole
3-4 regular-sized chicken breasts
*We get our chicken from my neighbor and they are huge, so I only use two chicken breasts
1 bag Tortilla chips
1 15oz can tomato sauce
6 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or Mexican cheese mix)
1-2 large onions, chopped (about 3 cups chopped onion)
1 whole head garlic, finely chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped (about 2 cups chopped peppers)
2 jalapenos, coarsely chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Extra salt and pepper
Part 1: The Filling
-When making this, you can use a bunch of different pans, but I choose to use one cast iron skillet for the cooking/prep before putting in the casserole dish. I cook the chicken in it, then pull the chicken out, scrape and re-oil the pan, and use it to fry veggies and combine other ingredients. You are more than welcome to cook the chicken in one pan and fry everything else in another, I just like to use as few dishes as possible.
-Sprinkle the raw chicken in salt and pepper and bake on a baking sheet or cast iron pan for 20-25 minutes at 425F. Remove and allow to cool (this is when I remove the chicken from the pan and scrape/re-oil the pan)
-Once the chicken is out of the oven, oil a large frying pan with preferred cooking oil (I use bacon grease) and add onions, garlic, and red bell peppers on medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally.
-While this is cooking, chop up or shred chicken. Add chicken to lightly cooked vegetables and mix well. Let simmer all together on low heat for a few minutes while you get the tomato sauce ready.
-In a small bowl, mix 15oz can of tomato sauce with chili powder, black pepper, paprika, cayenne, cumin, and garlic powder.
-Turn off stove, and pour chicken/veggie mixture and tomato sauce mixture into a large heat-proof bowl and mix very well. You can also do this right in the frying pan, but I just find that it is less messy when done in a large bowl.
Part 2: The Casserole
-Preheat oven to 350F.
-Have everything set up and ready so that you can layer all ingredients. You should have the chicken/tomato sauce/veggies mix, tortilla chips, cheese, jalapenos, and tomatoes.
-Lightly oil a 9”x13”x2” pan (or equivalent/slightly larger size).
-Put down a layer of chips on the bottom and cover in cheese.
-On top of the cheese, spread 1/3 of the chicken mixture in an even layer. Cover that layer in cheese.
-Sprinkle some of the jalapenos and tomato chunks on top of the chicken and cheese.
-Top that with another layer of tortilla chips.
-Keep layering in this order: Tortilla chips, cheese, chicken mix, cheese, jalapenos and tomatoes, tortilla chips, and so on. I get three layers out of this, and it is heaping above the top of the baking pan.
-I like to bake this with a baking sheet underneath it just in case it overflows. It shouldn’t overflow, but I hate cleaning my oven and would rather avoid it.
-Cover the top with lightly sealed tin foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove tin foil and bake for another 10 minutes. (The tin foil is just so that you don’t burn the chips on top while melting the cheese throughout. No need to seal it tightly around the edges).
-Enjoy with your favorite guacamole, or sour cream! I find that it doesn’t need salsa because there is so much flavor in it already, but that is just my opinion. Below is a quick guacamole recipe that is easy and delicious.
2 Avocados, mashed
1 tomato, chopped
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
Pinch ground black pepper
Pinch garlic powder
Juice of ½ lime (about 1 teaspoon)
Mix together in a bowl and serve!