Mexican Chicken Casserole with Charred Tomato Salsa

January 18th, 2011

I would make this dish again just for the charred tomato salsa.  We have been eating light since the first of the month, but every once in a while I get a desire for Mexican food.  Most of my recipes for Mexican dishes are heavy on the cheese and sour cream.  My good friend Maxine has been passing on her Cooking Light  magazines to me and I found this recipe for a lightened up Mexican casserole.  It add lots of vegetables, a homemade tomato salsa, chicken instead of beef and less of the cheese and corn tortillas.

I did make some changes to the recipe.  I had two turkey thighs that I simmered in some water and taco seasonings instead of the chicken breasts.  If you were pressed for time you could even substitute a rotisserie chicken.  The recipe also calls for 1 cup of crumbled feta cheese which is not one of my favorites so I eliminated that and added a little more of the Monterey Jack.  I used black beans instead of corn only because I had no corn in the freezer like I had assumed.

The charred tomato salsa uses plum tomatoes which are easy to find this time of year, a jalepeno pepper, onion and garlic.  It is easy to assemble and would be good on it’s own with tortilla chips.  For the original recipe you can go to the Cooking Light website.  Here is my version.


8 plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 seeded jalapeno pepper, quartered
Cooking spray
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup chopped onion
1 cup fresh or frozen corn ( I used black beans)
1 cup diced zucchini
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 cups shredded cooked chicken ( I used turkey thighs )
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (10-ounce) can green chile enchilada sauce
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

I halved this recipe successfully.

Preheat broiler.  To prepare salsa, combine first 4 ingredients on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Broil 20 minutes or until charred, stirring once.  Remove from oven; cool slightly.  Place tomato mixture in a food processor; add cilantro, lime juice, and pepper.  Process again.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  To prepare casserole, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Lightly coat pan with cooking spray.  Add 1 cup onion, zucchini, and bell pepper; saute 6 minutes or until tender.  Add black beans and chicken and next five ingredients; saute 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Remove from heat.

Spread 1/2 cup salsa ove the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Arrange half of tortillas over salsa.  Spoon 2 cups chicken mixture evenly over tortillas.  Top with 3/4 cup salsa.  Sprinkle with 3/4 cup cheese.  Repeat layers, starting with remaining tortillas, and ending with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until bubbly.  Yield; 8 servings. 

Printable recipe 

15 responses to “Mexican Chicken Casserole with Charred Tomato Salsa”

  1. Donnie says:

    This one really looks like something I’ll make soon. Lovely presentation too.

  2. This looks delicious, we also love Mexican food, and I agree, sometimes it is heavy. I’m going to file this recipe away for sure! Thanks for sharing!

  3. ARLENE says:

    I must have missed this one in my CL magazine, but have bookmarked it to try. I agree with omitting the feta, though I love it. Just doesn’t seem Mexican.

  4. YUM! I just copied this recipe. I’m going to have to try it one day soon. And your photo is great — it makes the casserole look so delicious!

  5. Pondside says:

    I froze the leftover turkey so this would be easy for me to put together. We’ve had soup for the last two nights, and I bet TGD would like a change!

  6. Kate says:

    Mmmm….this looks delicious! I must go back to my CL mags.

  7. Lynda says:

    Yum, I bookmarked this recipe; we love this type of casserole! The charred tomato sauce sounds delish.

  8. racheld says:

    If we hadn’t had homemade fajitas, pico, beans and corn relish last night, I’d be heading for the store right now. Oh, my, that looks and sounds good. I can tell how a dish will taste just by reading the ingredients and what’s done to them, and this reads YUMMY.

  9. girlichef says:

    I actually char the veggies for my salsas 95% of the time because the taste is so fantastic! So I hear what you’re saying here…now…to put some into a gorgeous casserole like this! It sounds so great, Penny!

  10. I do love Cooking Light Penny. I hadve had comments that people are surprised that the recuoes are tasty. You certainly don’t need to give up on glavour to make a lighter dish.

  11. These last two recipes just look divine. They are going on my menu next week! Yum!

  12. Toni says:

    I’ve made something similar and called it “White Girl Tamale Pie”. LOL!! I love this kind of thing, and that charred tomato salsa seems like the perfect touch!

  13. Yummy!!! What a wonderful Friday night dinner! Happy New Year!

  14. That looks awesome! MG was on a chair behind me while I was reading this post and I suddenly heard, “MMMMMMMM.” He was looking over my shoulder. We looked up Lake Lure on the map and it’s only a couple hours from where MG’s family lives in Athens. Maybe next time MG and I come out, we can come and meet you!

  15. Barbara says:

    This looks marvelous, Penny. So nice to see Cooking Light putting out some lo-cal Mexican dinners. You’d never know from the looks of the dish. I can’t wait to try the charred salsa!

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.