If you love chili, you have to try this chicken chili casserole. It’s filled with lean protein, lots of vegetables, and topped with crushed tortilla chips and melty pepper jack cheese. A delicious and filling budget dinner for weeknights!
A friend recently told me that he eats out on most nights because it’s more expensive to cook at home. I couldn’t believe it. Instinctively, I thought his statement couldn’t be true. Cooking fresh, healthy meals at home shouldn’t be more expensive than eating out, right? For the record, I eat at home 90% of the time, and I live in California where fresh foods are readily available. I admit, I might not be the best person to judge whether eating in or out is more affordable.
Anyway, his words lingered in my mind for a while, and I started thinking about the recipes that I share in this space. I’m going to make a concerted effort to share more easy, affordable meal ideas. Every week, I’ll aim to share at least one dinner recipe that costs $20 or less to make—not per serving, the entire dish. I firmly believe that you don’t have to break the bank to eat healthy, and I want to show you how.
This chicken chili casserole is a great example of a budget-friendly dinner. It’s made with easy-to-find ingredients and it’s packed with flavor. Hope you enjoy it!
LEARNING FROM MY MISTAKES / COOKING NOTES
- Enchilada sauce: For this recipe, I am using my own enchilada sauce. You can definitely use any enchilada sauce that you find at the grocery store. However, I find many store-bought versions to be quite bland. If you decide to use the stuff from the stores, I recommend adding dried oregano, garlic or chili powder.
- Prep ahead: Prep the dish a day or two ahead by chopping up all the vegetables and cooking the chicken. Refrigerate the ingredients in an airtight container.
- Browning the cheese: I’m sure most of you won’t do this, but I thought it would be a good idea to stick the bake into the broiler for 10 to 15 minutes to brown the cheese. Well, the cheese turned out to be too brown (verging on burnt), forming a firm crust on the top of the casserole. In this case, it’s better to melt and brown the cheese in the oven.
- Substitutions: You can easily make this casserole vegetarian by substituting the meat for sweet potatoes. Another good idea would be to take out the meat and top the casserole with fried eggs!
Want to see how to cook the chicken chili casserole? Here’s my video on how to make the dish!
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