Oct 12
2012

Mexican Chicken Taco Casserole with Olives, Peppers & Queso Fresco Cheese Recipe

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Mexican Chicken Taco Casserole with Olives, Peppers & Queso Fresco Cheese Recipe by Cookin' Canuck

In our family, we need very few excuses to eat olives. When I was a kid, holiday dinners with my aunt, uncle and cousins were an opportunity for the kids to scarf down as many black olives as we possibly could before the adults noticed. Of course, the adults were onto our ploy and, eventually, they started buying California Ripe Olives with the pits still in them. That way, they could track the number of olives consumed (and set a cut-off point) by the number of pits on our plates. Foiled again!

Mexican Chicken Taco Casserole with Olives, Peppers & Queso Fresco Cheese Recipe

National Taco Day, on October 4th, was as good an excuse as any to crack open a can or two of California Ripe Olives. The first can was used for this hearty Mexican Chicken Taco Casserole. The second can was quickly absconded by my two boys, as they plucked the olives out of the can and firmly planted them on their fingers, to be savored one-by-one.

To make the assembly of this casserole as easy as possible, use chicken breasts from a supermarket roasted chicken, and your favorite pre-prepared enchilada sauce. I prefer the green enchilada sauce, but red will work just as well here.

Simply layer the corn tortillas, chicken, sautéed and spiced peppers, black beans, queso fresco cheese, enchilada sauce and California Ripe Olives to form a towering lasagne-like casserole. Pop it in the oven and you’ll be rewarded 45 minutes later with a hearty, satisfying meal for your family.

The recipe:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add onion, and Anaheim and bell peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Mexican Chicken Taco Casserole with Olives, Peppers & Queso Fresco Cheese Recipe by Cookin' Canuck

Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.

Coat a 7- by 11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the dish.

Lay 4 tortillas over the sauce, tearing the tortillas as necessary to make them fit properly.

Spread 1/3 each of the pepper mixture, chicken, olives, black beans, queso fresco cheese and cilantro over the tortillas.

Mexican Chicken Taco Casserole with Olives, Peppers & Queso Fresco Cheese Recipe by Cookin' Canuck

Top with 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce and 4 additional tortillas. Repeat the layers two more times, ending with corn tortillas, 1/2 cup enchilada sauce and queso fresco cheese.

Cover the baking dish with foil and place it on a baking sheet. Bake until the casserole is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove the foil and cook for additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.
Let the casserole cool for about 15 minutes to allow it to set. Cut and serve.

Mexican Chicken Taco Casserole with Olives, Peppers & Queso Fresco Cheese Recipe by Cookin' Canuck

California Ripe Olive Prizes:
On October 16 at 7pm EDT, Kitchen PLAY and California Ripe Olives, along with some of your favorite food bloggers, will be hosting a Twitter party. Come chat with us about this tasty and versatile food, There will also be chances to win some great olive prizes! Register here.

If you want a leg-up on the olive trivia for the Twitter party (and more great recipe ideas for incorporating California Ripe Olives into your taco recipes), be sure to read all 10 posts at Kitchen PLAY. Each post contains an “olive fact” that may appear as a trivia question during the Twitter Party. A new post and fact is revealed each day, October 1-12.

My CA Ripe Olive fact: There are only two canners in California, both multi-generation family businesses.

Mexican Chicken Taco Casserole with Olives, Peppers & Queso Fresco Cheese

Yield: Serves 8

From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large Anaheim pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce (I prefer green)
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • 2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1/2 cup sliced California black olives
  • 1 can (14 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 oz. queso fresco cheese, crumbled (plus more for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add onion, and Anaheim and bell peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Coat a 7- by 11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the dish.
  5. Lay 4 tortillas over the sauce, tearing the tortillas as necessary to make them fit properly.
  6. Spread 1/3 each of the pepper mixture, chicken, olives, black beans, queso fresco cheese and cilantro over the tortillas.
  7. Top with 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce and 4 additional tortillas. Repeat the layers two more times, ending with corn tortillas, 1/2 cup enchilada sauce and queso fresco cheese.
  8. Cover the baking dish with foil and place it on a baking sheet.
  9. Bake until the casserole is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes.
  10. Remove the foil and cook for additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.
  11. Let the casserole cool for about 15 minutes to allow it to set. Cut and serve.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Kitchen Play and California Ripe Olives. Additionally, they provided product to make the recipe.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 bellini October 12, 2012 at 6:12 am

It looks so delicious. I even have all of the ingredients including California olives.

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2 Robyn | Add a Pinch October 12, 2012 at 7:00 am

This looks so delicious, Dara. Love anything with olives!

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3 Bev @ Bev Cooks October 12, 2012 at 7:58 am

Have. Mercy.

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4 Sprigs of Rosemary October 12, 2012 at 8:34 am

I remember — quite well — doing that with olives myself. This looks wonderful, and a kid pleaser, to boot. Saved!

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5 Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen October 12, 2012 at 8:45 am

I am a fool for olives!!

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6 Traci October 12, 2012 at 9:17 am

What a fantastic looking good for you casserole! I love it!

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7 Liz @ The Lemon Bowl October 12, 2012 at 9:24 am

My husband could eat an entire jar of black olives!! This recipe looks delish.

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8 Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings October 12, 2012 at 9:26 am

I want to eat this right now! Love olives!!!

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9 Laura (Tutti Dolci) October 12, 2012 at 10:34 am

I love this casserole, what great flavors!

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10 Nancie McDermott @ October 12, 2012 at 10:53 am

Gorgeous and irresistible. I love the play-by-play illustration of how this casserole comes together, from corn tortillas on the bottom to black olive-abundance on top. Favorite photo: chopped onions and pepper/blue bowl of black olives/sauteed vegetable in all their glory. Cannot wait to make this.

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11 Cassie October 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Totally digging this, Dara, this would be an instant hit in my house!

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12 Lana @ Never Enough Thyme October 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Oh, wow, this looks incredibly delicious. Love everything single thing about this recipe! Yum.

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13 Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles October 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm

This recipe would go over fabulously in our home. Especially preparing it with the girls, with olives on our fingers! I’ve completely enjoyed getting to know you in OR, Dara – hope we can meet up again soon! :)

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14 Cathy @ Noble Pig October 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Ah yes, the olive fingers at Thanksgiving, I remeber it well. But this is a fantastic way to eat olives, what a beautiful dish!

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15 Jen @ Savory Simple October 13, 2012 at 6:50 am

This looks great! I love how it’s a healthy Mexican meal. It’s hard to come by those!

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16 Lauren @ Part Time House Wife October 13, 2012 at 7:34 am

Black olives are the one food I just can’t trick myself into loving… but this dish…this dish looks incredible! I’ll take it minus the olives! lol

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17 addie | culicurious October 13, 2012 at 8:42 am

oh my, this looks great, Dara. I love olives too :)

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18 Julie October 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Just wanted to let you know, the translation of “queso fresco” is “fresh cheese”. So, every time you type “queso fresco cheese” you are saying “fresh cheese cheese”. :)

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19 Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily October 14, 2012 at 6:51 pm
20 Deborah October 14, 2012 at 8:26 am

I love this!! And I love watching all of the kids every holiday, grabbing for the olives to put on their fingers like your adorable boys did.

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21 Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily October 14, 2012 at 6:51 pm

That’s so funny and so true. Olives ment Thanksgiving as a kid and now we eat them almost every day (great MUFA ;) of course)

queso fresco is a fav of mine and luckily it’s readily available here in the south west.

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22 monica October 14, 2012 at 8:58 pm

awesome! This looks great. Thanks for sharing. I’m now starving. ;)
aloha!

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23 Gerry @ Foodness Gracious October 14, 2012 at 11:38 pm

I never ate olives until I moved here to the States, now I love em’!! Great looking recipe :)

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24 kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts October 15, 2012 at 6:56 am

How clever-to tear the tortillas!
Thanks for the recipe-even though I’m not a black olive fan I’ve come away with inspiration!

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25 Virginia October 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm

This was super tasty…I left out the red bell peppers since I did not have them on me, but it was still excellent

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