Casseroles are some of my favorite meals.
I love the whole process of making a casserole: cooking the meat, gathering the other mix-ins, stirring everything together in a big bowl, and finally topping it all off with cheese before sliding it into the oven.
The whole process is an ordeal, but one that feeds your family at least two meals.
But, if it’s just the two of you, it feeds you for a month! And suddenly, casserole is the last thing you want to eat on the eighth day.
Even salad starts to look appetizing with its freshness. That’s a dangerous road to be on, my friends.
So, I set my sights on miniaturizing casseroles to serve two, because no one should eat the same dinner eight days in a row. Variety is the spice of life!
First up: my favorite Tex-Mex casserole: King Ranch Chicken. King Ranch got its name because it was the largest ranch at one time in south Texas.
While it’s still operating today, it’s under much smaller ownership.
I think often of the women who had to cook for these cowboys back in the day when the ranch was almost one million acres with thousands of cattle.
I imagine this casserole came together by accident one day: torn leftover tortillas, tomatoes and jalapeños from the garden, chicken and cheese for good measure.
It’s a fabulous combination of ingredients that has stood the test of time.
To make casseroles for two, I like to use 10-oz ramekins. They are slightly larger than the typical 6-oz crème brûlée ramekins you may be used to.
If you can’t find these ramekins, I suggest a small baking dish that is about the size of half of a standard brownie pan.
If you have four to feed, double the recipe and bake it in the brownie pan.
Round up the ingredients, and put a little taste of Texas in your kitchen today!
King Ranch Chicken for Two Recipe
- 1 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast large
- 2 Unsalted Butter
- 3 All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Chicken Broth
- 1 Heavy Cream
- 1 Jalapeño small and minced
- 0.5 Onion diced
- 1 Ro-Tel
- 2 Corn Tortilla or Flour tortillas, your choice (8-inch)
- 0.5 Garlic Salt
- 0.5 Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- In a medium sauce pan, poach the chicken breast in water until it registers 165°F. Remove the chicken from the water and let cool on a cutting board.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and have ready two 10-oz ramekins.
- Next, wipe out the saucepan and return it to medium heat. Add the butter and let it melt. Stir in the flour with a whisk, and whisk constantly while cooking for about 1 minute. Next, slowly whisk in the chicken broth and heavy cream. Let the mixture come to a boil to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large bowl, combine the Ro*Tel tomatoes, the minced jalapeño and onion. Next, stream in the chicken stock mixture and stir to combine.
- Shred the chicken when it’s cool enough to handle.
- Next, tear up the tortillas into small strips. Place one-fourth of the tortillas in the bottom of each of the two 10-oz ramekins. Place one-fourth of the shredded chicken on top. Ladle one-fourth of the chicken broth and tomato mixture on top. Sprinkle a bit of the garlic salt on top. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make two layers total. Finally, top with the cheese.
- Bake on a sheet pan for 30 minutes, or until bubbling. Serve warm.