Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Thighs (4)
Salt (to taste)
Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
on each side. Pop those into a warm pan over medium-high heat for 5 minutes each side.
Once the thighs have a golden-delicious color to their skin, place the pan into the oven and bake the thighs for about ten minutes until cooked through.
Once cooked through, remove the thighs from the pan and place on a plate in the freezer so that they can cool quickly. Don't worry, you won't freeze them, but you'll want them plenty cool for when you remove the meat from the bones later.
Drain the grease from the hot pan that you just pulled from the oven, but don't wash the pan yet. Over medium heat, saute half of the
Garlic (6 cloves)
Onions (1/2 cup)
until the onions are translucent.
As you are sauteing the veggies, be sure to scrape up the tidbits the chicken left behind in the pan. These little bits are packed with chicken goodness and will give your filling a lot of good flavor.
When the chicken is cooling and the veggies are cooking, mix together the
Fat-Free Cream Cheese (1/3 cup)
Fresh Cilantro (1/4 cup)
Chili Powder (1/2 tsp)
Ground Cumin (1/2 tsp)
Salt (1/2 tsp)
Ground Black Pepper (1/2 tsp)
in a large mixing bowl until well blended.
Once the veggies are cooked add them to this mixture. Take your chicken out of the freezer and remove the meat from the bones. You have the option to shred the chicken, tasty but tedious or cheat like I did and cut the chicken into fine slices.
Add the chicken to the cream cheese mixture and mix until chicken is fully incorporated.
In a large saucepot, saute the remaining onion and garlic cloves. After a minute or two (these veggies don't need to be cooked through), add the
Salsa Verde (2/3 cup)
Water (1/4 cup)
Low-Sodium Chicken Stock (1 cup)
, and to
Ro-Tel® Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies (1 can)
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until your sauce reduces by about half.
Once sauce reduces, pour mixture into a blender and puree until smooth. Careful here! Make sure you start the blender on a low speed and work up to the puree setting.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). While your oven is warming up, heat a large pan to medium and pop a
White Corn Tortillas (8)
on there. Give the tortilla about a minute and a half on each side so that it crisps slightly and develops a lovely golden tan.
Remove the tortilla from the heat and cut into quarters. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Now that your filling, sauce and layers are complete, it's time to assemble the casserole and blow everyone away. Pour 1/2 cup of sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
Lay a single layer of tortilla slices on top of sauce so they create a nice bed for your filling and mostly cover the sauce. Spread 1/2 of the filling on top of the tortillas, sprinkle a bit of
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (2 cups)
on top of the filling.
Then add another 1/2 cup sauce on top of the cheese. Repeat the layer one more time, and then add one more layer of tortillas. Top the tortillas with any remaining sauce and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of that.
Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Garnish with
Avocados (to taste)
Sour Cream (to taste)
Fresh Cilantro (to taste)
or all of the above!