Anytime a dish is topped with tortilla chips, the kids come running. That’s probably because it looks almost like nachos after you add the tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro to serve it. If you’ve got a picky eater, you may want to give this fantastic casserole a try. It’s great for nights when I have leftover chicken. Leftover rotisserie chicken is particularly perfect for this dish. It’s a good idea to either shred or roughly dice the chicken into bite-sized pieces to make it easier to eat.
Tortilla chips are always a favorite and I just use my favorite snacking back for this recipe, however, if you wanted to buy a more inexpensive brand than you normally use for snacking that would work perfectly fine. I think white or yellow corn tortilla chips work best. Restaurant-style chips are the ones I prefer, but any tortilla chip should work.
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While I do crack some black pepper into the soup mix before I layer the casserole, I do not add extra salt to this dish. The chips add a lot of salt to the dish, and the cream of chicken and taco seasoning come pre-salted as well. I’ve also found that different brands of tortilla chips have varying salt levels, so If you’re concerned the dish will be underseasoned without extra salt, I recommend just putting the salt shaker out on the dinner table for your family to add more if they need it after they’ve had a taste.
I think mozzarella works best with this dish, but any shredded cheese would probably work. I like mozzarella because it seems to find its way into every nook and cranny of the chip layers to make sure you get that gooey cheesy goodness in every bite.
If someone in your house hates black olives, leave them out or try just spreading them on one half of the casserole — that just means more for the olive lovers! Sometimes I make this recipe without making a trip to the store for fresh produce, and in that case I just substitute with a good fresh salsa, since I usually have one on hand. Although I must say the fresh tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro are delicious and absolutely elevate the whole dish.
We usually top each serving with a little dollop of sour cream. When I’m feeling really ambitious, I make up a little homemade ranch dressing and mix it with sour cream to really kick each serving up a notch. A splash of hot sauce on each serving can add some spice for those who want it. In our house, parents get hot sauce and the kids get a little extra sour cream.