Casserole · Chicken · dinner · entree

Classic King Ranch Casserole

Let’s take a break from the holiday baking, shall we?

In the midst of my cookie fervor, I’ve been making simple dinners that will last. I’m talking casseroles, stews, and big batches of meat to make for sandwiches. This casserole is the quintessential “make in a pinch” dinner. It’s a retro classic that has stood the test of time. Even with it’s relatively bland Tex Mex flavor, it’s one for the ages.

Being from Texas, I know all about my ranches. The King Ranch is the largest ranch in the nation. It’s more than 100 years old and spans nearly a million acres. The king ranch is so big, you could take the entire state of Rhode Island and plop it down in the middle of it and the ranch would still have some more room around it.

But there’s another ranch that’s closer to my heart (and closer to where I grew up): The Waggoner Ranch.

It was once known as the “largest ranch under one fence”. At 800 square miles, the ranch takes up a good portion of Wichita and Wilbarger counties in Northern Texas.

Most notably, my grandfather, the honorable Thomas Allen Neely, was the one who tried to oversee the break-up of the ranch. Not only was he my most favorite person in the world, a lot of eyes were on him to see what would happen next.

He was a district judge in Wilbarger county while the heirs to the ranch were embroiled in 30+ years of in-fighting on how to break up the sprawling ranch. Lawsuit after lawsuit was filed. Rulings were mixed up by the newspapers. My grandfather died in 2007, and another judge took over the case(s).

Finally, a few years ago, the owner of the LA Rams, Stan Kroenke, bought the entire ranch. I’ve had friends screwed over by the deal (Lake Diversion residents, represent!) but after that—all was quiet on the western front.

So yeah, I know too much about ranches. The King Ranch might be all big and mighty (and this casseroles namesake, for some unknown reason) but the Waggoner Ranch is the one I always think of while making this dish.

It’s a hearty casserole that will warm you up from your spurs up. It’s got that homey, Texas vibe to it. It’s perfect to get dinner on the table in these busy holiday times.

Enjoy!

Classic King Ranch Casserole

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A classic, hearty Tex Mex casserole that will fill you up in no time.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (4 oz) can green chiles
  • 1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 12 corn tortillas, torn or cut into strips
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together soups and chicken stock. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, tomatoes, green chiles, bell pepper and onion.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a large, 13×9″ baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon a little bit of the soup mixture on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add a layer of tortilla strips on top of that, and then a layer of chicken. Pour some of the soup mix over the chicken.
  4. Repeat remaining layers making sure to end with a soup layer.
  5. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with sour cream.

Step-by-Step Instructions

In a large bowl, stir together soups and chicken stock. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, tomatoes, green chiles, bell pepper and onion. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a large, 13×9″ baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon a little bit of the soup mixture on the bottom of the pan. Add a layer of tortilla strips on top of that, and then a layer of chicken.

Pour some of the soup mix over the chicken.

Repeat remaining layers making sure to end with a soup layer.

Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with sour cream.

10 thoughts on “Classic King Ranch Casserole

    1. Sometimes I think very few people like the back stories! A lot of my recipes come from a special place though, and I just can’t help but share. Thanks for enjoying!

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