Mom’s Turkey Tortilla Casserole

This has been a family favorite since the 1980’s. I remember when Mom would make it and we got all excited when we found out.

One of the great features is that you can select the level of heat you want simply by the salsa you use. Personally, I like to make a simple pico de gallo (the usual tomatoes, onions, cilantro plus spices) and then throw it in the blender for several seconds.

For the protein selection, the best option is your own home-cooked meat. For years, I would use leftovers from roasted chickens and turkeys. But now I’ve discovered Costco rotisserie chicken! Did you know that Costco removes the meat from their unsold rotisserie chickens at the end of each day? And that they package it up in 2.5+ pound containers for sale the next day? It’s perfect for this recipe and one package will cover two full casseroles.

Ingredients

Casserole

  • 1.25 lb. shredded turkey (or chicken, beef, pork, roadkill, whatever)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 0.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 can diced green chiles (4 oz)
  • 0.75 small can sliced olives (see Topping for remainder of can)
  • 0.75 medium onion, diced (see Topping for remainder of onion)
  • 0.5 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 (8 ounces) package corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded jack cheese

Topping

  • 0.25 small can sliced olives
  • 0.25 medium onion, diced
  • Smoked paprika, to taste (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut the corn tortillas into 1-inch strips.
  • Grease a 13-inch by 9-inch casserole dish (I sometimes use my 11-inch by 8-inch deep-dish casserole dish and make three layers instead of two).
  • In a skillet, brown meat in olive oil with the garlic powder and chili powder. Turn off heat and mix in remaining ingredients except for tortillas, cheese and Topping.
  • Create layers (much like a lasagna): Start with equal parts of tortilla strips on the bottom, meat mixture on top of that, followed by shredded cheeses on top.
  • Sprinkle Topping ingredients evenly across the top. I’ve been known to add a light sprinkling of smoked paprika on top of that — must be the Czech in me.
  • Place in oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on desired level of browning — I prefer crunchy edges, so I go for the full 45 minutes.
  • Serve and prepare to fight your family for it!

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