This recipe is part of the latest 21 Gluten Free Meals from Costco Plan.
I love this enchilada casserole. I love that I can make it all at once and freeze it, or that I can make the chicken and tomatoes in the slow cooker in a larger batch and freeze in meal size portion. Then make this casserole using the frozen chicken and tomatoes.
When making ‘ranchero chicken,’ I prefer to make it with 1 lb. of chicken breast and 1 lb. of chicken thighs. I like the flavors that the thighs add to sauce, and I like the way that the two types of chicken meat work together and shred together. I also love how the acidity from the tomatoes helps break down the chicken into perfectly tender shreds.
For the Gluten Free Costco Plan, here is how you can make the slow cooker chicken tortilla soup and this enchilada casserole, almost at once. Note that this fills my 6 quart slow cooker almost to the top, so if you have a smaller one, you might have to do in two batches.
1. Slow Cook the following for 8 hours.
- 2 lbs. chicken breast
- 2 lbs. chicken thighs
- 3 cans tomato sauce (or diced tomatoes)
- Couple tablespoons homemade taco seasoning, or favorite tex-mex spices
- Salt and pepper
This will give you 4 meals worth of chicken-tomato mixture.
(You can add more spices once it has cooked and you taste it.)
2. Shred the chicken in the sauce.
3. Divide in half and lightly drain the portion that you will use for this chicken enchilada casserole.
4. Make a double batch of the Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup using half of the chicken-tomatoes mixtured and drained juices. Let cool completely and then freeze in 2 large containers or plastic freezer baggies.
5. Make a double batch of this Chicken Enchilada Casserole using the lightly drained chicken-tomato mixture. Eat one, freeze the other. Recipe below is written to make 2 9×13 pans.
- 2 portions/batches of the ranchero chicken mixture (below)
- 30 corn tortillas
- 2 1/2 cups shredded cheese
- Corn, as side dish
- 1 lb chicken breast
- 1 lb chicken thighs
- 2 15 oz cans of tomato sauce diced tomatoes work too!
- 2 Tbsp taco seasoning
- Place the chicken breast, chicken thighs and tomato sauce in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the seasoning and salt and pepper over the top. Set on low and cook for 8 hours.
- Once cooked, shred the chicken in the sauce and lightly drain.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Place 5 corn tortillas at the base of each 9×13 inch baking dish or disposable baking pan, if freezing. I usually tear one of two of the tortillas to cover as much of the base as you can.
- Add 1/2 of the chicken and tomato mixture. Then top with 5 more tortillas. Then repeat with the chicken and tomato mixture and one more layer of tortillas. Top with about 1 to 1 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Repeat in the other baking dish.
- Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
- Prepare the corn as directed.
- Serve Chicken Enchilada Casserole with side of corn.
- To freeze the other dish: let cool completely, then cover with foil and freeze. To reheat, let thaw in the refrigerator over night and then bake for 40 minutes at 350, or until heated through. Cooking time may vary based on how much it thawed.