Budget Friendly - Chicken Enchilada Casserole

The Healthy Cook
Budget Friendly - Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Easy on the budget, healthy, and delicious! Wow, what a combination! This casserole is only $2.47 per serving. I discovered it in one of my favorite magazines, Cooking Light, March 2011 issue and was so pleased with the wonderful layers of spicy flavors, that I made it for a sick friend and she loved it too. Most everyone likes Mexican style dishes and the amount of ground red pepper and pickled jalapeno can be adjusted for more or less heat, however you and your family like it. I like it hot!

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

  • Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 3/4 cups).


  • Cooking spray
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups chopped onion, divided
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • 1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup salsa verde
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeno pepper
  • 9 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded sharp cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; saute 4 minutes on each side. Place skillet in oven; bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 15 minutes. Remove meat from bones; shred. Discard bones. Place chicken in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, corn, and next 5 ingredients (through black pepper) to chicken; toss to combine.
  3. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup onion; saute 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 3 garlic cloves; saute 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add onion mixture to chicken mixture; stir to combine.
  4. Combine remaining 1 1/2 cups onion, remaining 3 garlic cloves, broth, salsa, 1/4 cup water, and jalapeno in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Carefully pour mixture into a blender; add 2 tablespoons cilantro. Process until smooth.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tortillas; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Remove tortillas from pan; repeat procedure with remaining tortillas. Cut tortillas into quarters.
  6. Spread 1/2 cup salsa mixture in the bottom of a 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 12 tortilla quarters over salsa mixture. Spoon half of chicken mixture over tortillas. Repeat layers, ending with tortillas. Pour remaining salsa mixture over tortillas; sprinkle evenly with cheddar cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Top with remaining cilantro.

POINTSPLUS VALUE = 10 pts. for 1 3/4 cup serving. Calories 371, Fat 12.4g, Protein 23.1g, Carb. 45.3g, Fiber 5.4g.

This recipe freezes nicely and can be made double for a larger group. It is always nice to have another potluck or maindish recipe to fall back on when asked to bring something yummy!

About the Author

The Healthy Cook - Contributor

Nancy Smith is a wife of 40 years, mother of 2 grown children and grandmother of 2. She enjoys being creative through cooking, quilting, knitting, home decorating, and tole painting. Encouraging others to learn new things no matter what age is a priority to her and is expressed through teaching piano, quilting, and sewing. She has been a life time member at goal of Weight Watchers for the past 3 years and feels strongly that eating healthy should be a delicious adventure and a worthy goal.