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Friday, October 28, 2011

Recipe for Light Version of King Ranch Casserole

Maybe this should be called "Princess Ranch Casserole" because it is probably less than half the fat and calories of the classic recipe.  No canned soups, full fat milk, or sour cream, and a modest amount of low fat cheese.  Still delicious though!

If you like Mexican Lasagna I think you'll like this recipe.  It is full of smoky cumin/chipotle heat (on the top edge of my weenie tolerance level so adjust the seasonings accordingly) with a creamy, rich sauce-all for just under 300 calories per serving.  The crunchy bell pepper is a nice complement to the mouth-feel of the sauce.

I adjusted the already lightened up inspiration recipe by using white whole wheat flour, added lime juice, switched in chipotle powder for chili powder, used whole grain wraps instead of corn tortillas, and cooked the chicken and veggies together rather than using pre-cooked chicken.   If you are short on time, using pre-cooked chicken would help, but don't let the long list of ingredients put you off, it really comes together pretty quickly.  Just have all your ingredients ready before you start the roux.
Completed roux
Out of the oven

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 40 minutes

  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles, drained
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground smoked cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBSP canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced skinless chicken breast
  • 2 large whole- or multi-grain wraps, cut into wedges
  • 3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • While broth comes to a simmer in a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk and flour in a small bowl until smooth. 
  • Add the flour mixture to the broth and cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, for about 2-3 minutes (until thickened and smooth).
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in yogurt, tomatoes, chiles, lime, chipotle powder, oregano and cumin. 
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and chicken; cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Line the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish with half the wrap wedges. Layer with half the chicken mixture, then half of the sauce. Repeat with remaining wrap wedges, chicken mixture and sauce. 
  • Sprinkle with Cheddar. 
  • Bake until bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes.

For the wraps, I used La Tortilla Factory Whole Grain Smart and Delicious Soft Wraps-I love them for their flavor, texture and 12 grams of fiber (unsponsored endorsement!).  Serve this with a side salad for a filling and satisfying meal.

Printable recipe