Nacho chicken casserole may sound like a bit of a weird thing, but trust us, this recipe is incredibly delicious. Being in Wisconsin, we love a good casserole recipe. Casseroles just seem perfect for after school meals on a winter’s night, or to feed a crowd for a birthday party or friendly get together. This nacho chicken casserole puts a fun, crunchy twist on the traditional “potato and cream” casserole that (in our opinion at least) is a welcome change of pace. The flavors are just like enjoying a huge plate of nachos, but thanks to our rich, creamy cheese sauce, it’s just feels like even more of a comfort food!
If you plan on serving this nacho chicken casserole after a day at work or for a party, you may want to make this dish ahead so it can be ready quickly when you get home or when the guests arrive. You can prep everything ahead of time except the tortilla chips on top. Just make the entire casserole, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until you’re ready to put it in the oven. When it’s time to bake, just take off the plastic wrap and put the top layer of chips on and you’re good to go!
If you want to freeze this meal, you can also bake it in a freezer to oven safe baking dish, cover it, then freeze the dish for several months. When you’re ready to eat the meal, just pull it out of the freezer and reheat in the oven or microwave. This is a great meal to deliver to someone who needs meals like new parents – it’s a big change up from the normal freezer meals!
For this nacho chicken casserole, we used Lake Geneva Country Meats Santa Fe Salsa Chicken. It’s an all-natural chicken breast we marinate in house with a mild salsa for great flavor that isn’t too spicy. It’s an easy way to add flavor to your chicken without having to take more time cooking. You can substitute plain chicken or your own favorite type of seasoned or marinated chicken to suit your taste. We baked the chicken in our oven to use on a salad and used the leftovers for this casserole, but you can cook the chicken however you like!
In our opinion, what really set this nacho chicken casserole apart from other casseroles was the incredible queso sauce we used inside the recipe. We made it from scratch and used the extra as a cheese dip on the side – it was incredible! It does take a little bit of time to make the sauce, so if you’d like to skip this step, that’s totally cool! You can use a store bought queso dip (probably two jars) or even a can of condensed cream of chicken soup seasoned with garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin to give it a southwestern flair.
Our last note on this recipe is that just like regular chicken nachos, you can make easily make this nacho chicken casserole your own by adding or subtracting ingredients to your taste. If you’d like to add diced bell peppers for color and crunch, add them with the tomatoes! If you don’t like black beans, that’s totally fine, omit them! Oh, and if you like spicy nachos, you can dump in a can of pickled jalapeños with the tomatoes. We topped the recipe with green onion and fresh tomato, but you can add salsa, shredded lettuce, more cheese, or whatever you like – the possibilities are endless!
Alright, that’s it from us on this recipe, but we’d love to hear from you on what you think about this recipe! Share your thoughts by leaving us a rating or comments below. Did you make any tweaks or have any tips to share with everyone else – let us know! We hope you enjoy!
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 1 can Evaporated Milk (13 oz – unsweetened)
- 2.5 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese (or a Mexican-style blend)
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp Onion Powder
- 2 tsp Chili Powder
- 2 tsp Ground Cumin
- Kosher Salt
- 20 oz Crushed Tortilla Chips (about 1.5 bags of chips)
- 1 can Black Beans (15 oz can)
- 1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (see note above, we used LGCM Santa Fe Salsa chicken – this should be cooked and diced)
- 2 can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies (like Rotel – 10 oz. cans, use plain diced tomatoes for a less spicy dish)
- 1 bunch Green Onion (thinly sliced for topping)
- 1 Fresh Tomato (diced for topping)
Make your queso sauce by melting the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the evaporated milk, then slowly added the shredded cheese, constantly stirring the mixture to melt in the cheese. Once the cheese is melted, add the garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and ground cumin. Continue stirring until the mixture becomes a silky sauce. Add salt to taste, if necessary, and pour in additional milk, if necessary, to adjust the consistency to your desired thickness. Remove from heat.
Spray a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and spread a layer of crushed tortilla chips on the bottom of the dish. Add in the black beans and diced chicken and spread evenly over the chips. Pour the diced tomatoes over the chicken and beans, then spread queso dip over the entire mixture. Top with another layer of crushed tortilla chips.
Put the nacho chicken casserole into an oven preheated to 375ºF and cook for about 20 – 25 minutes until the chips start to brown on top and then entire mixture is heated through. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Top with sliced green onions and diced tomato for a bit of extra freshness and enjoy!