Chicken Tortilla Spinach Casserole

This inviting casserole is a medley of savory delights, where tender shreds of chicken, vibrant spinach leaves, and tortilla layers intertwine to create a symphony of flavors and textures. The dish begins with succulent pieces of chicken, seasoned to perfection, offering a hearty and satisfying foundation for the culinary masterpiece. As the casserole bakes, the chicken absorbs the surrounding flavors, resulting in a juicy and flavorful core that becomes the focal point of each spoonful.

Nestled among the layers is a generous helping of fresh spinach, its emerald leaves adding a burst of color and a nutritious component to the ensemble. The spinach not only contributes its earthy essence but also provides a delightful contrast to the tender chicken, creating a balanced and wholesome experience. Each bite unveils the harmonious marriage of protein and greens, a celebration of well-rounded nourishment.

Woven throughout the casserole are thin sheets of tortilla, providing a comforting and familiar element to the dish. These tortilla layers, softened by the savory juices of the chicken and spinach, meld seamlessly into the ensemble, adding a subtle chewiness that enhances the overall texture. The interplay of the tortilla with the other ingredients creates a comforting embrace that transports the diner to a realm of culinary satisfaction.

The ensemble is bound together by a velvety sauce, its flavors a fusion of spices, cheeses, and a touch of creaminess. This sauce not only bathes the chicken, spinach, and tortilla layers in a luxurious coating but also serves as the unifying element that ties the entire casserole together. As the casserole emerges from the oven, golden and bubbling, the tantalizing aroma fills the kitchen, foreshadowing the culinary delight about to unfold.

Serving a portion of the Chicken Tortilla Spinach Casserole is an experience in indulgence, as the layers reveal themselves in every spoonful. The marriage of flavors, the tender chicken, the vibrant spinach, and the comforting tortilla layers, all embraced by the luscious sauce, culminate in a dish that transcends the ordinary, inviting you to savor the richness of each meticulously crafted layer.

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

– 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
– 9-12 corn tortillas
– 2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
– 1 large onion, diced
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chilies
– 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
– 1 cup chicken broth
– 1 cup sour cream
– 1 teaspoon cumin
– 1 teaspoon chili powder
– 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
– Sliced avocado (optional, for garnish)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

2. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, cooking until translucent, then add the spinach and cook until just wilted. Remove from heat.

3. In a large bowl, mix the sautéed vegetables, chicken, black beans, diced tomatoes with their juices, sour cream, chicken broth, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper until well combined.

4. Layer the bottom of the prepared baking dish with a spread of the chicken mixture. Cover with a layer of corn tortillas, followed by a sprinkle of the shredded cheese. Repeat the layering process until all ingredients are used, finishing with a cheese layer on top.

5. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

6. Let the casserole stand for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh cilantro and optional avocado slices.

Variations & Tips

– For a vegetarian twist, omit the chicken and double the beans, or substitute with quinoa for a protein-packed alternative.
– Those seeking a lower carb option can replace corn tortillas with thinly sliced zucchini or eggplant for a veggie-rich experience.
– For a creamier consistency, consider blending the sour cream with a block of softened cream cheese before adding it to the mix.
– Spice enthusiasts might incorporate a diced jalapeño into the vegetable sauté or a pinch of cayenne pepper for an extra kick.
– To make the dish even more decadent, a layer of refried beans may be spread onto the tortillas before adding the chicken mixture.
– Keep in mind, this casserole freezes beautifully. Simply cool it down completely, wrap it securely, and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating in the oven.

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