Here’s a recipe that I came up with one day when I had lots of ingredients, but nothing sounded good.

Recipe for Southwestern Chicken Casserole:

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken, cut into thin slices (breast and/or thigh meat works best)
2-3 cups pre-cooked rice (steamed cauliflower and broccoli can be substituted here for a healthier option)
4-5 uncooked corn tortillas cut into strips (alternately you can use a few handfuls of tortilla chips)
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cheese soup (or about 1/4-1/3 block of Velveeta cut into small blocks; alternately you can use 1/2 pound of real cheese, but the consistency isn’t very smooth that way)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup of salsa
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp white pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste (probably won’t need)

Directions

In a saucepan over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in the butter until they are tender.
Add both cans of soup (or cheese) and the milk. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce reaches and even consistency and just starts to simmer.
Add the salsa, sour cream, and the seasonings*; heat through while stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

*Shake or sprinkle the seasonings in slowly for best results. Dumping them all in at once may cause clumping and require more vigorous stirring to break up.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350ºF and lightly grease a 9×11 glass baking dish or similar size casserole pan.
Spread the rice (or steamed vegetables) evenly along the bottom.
Lay the tortilla strips over the top of the rice, leaving some spaces between the strips for sauce penetration.
Arrange the sliced chicken on top of the strips of tortilla.
When the sauce is ready, pour it slowly and evenly over the casserole.
Top with an even coating of cheese.
Put into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with typical taco toppings and sides. Great when topped with hot salsa and dollops of sour cream and guacamole.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

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