Monday! Bam. You sneaky thing.
Skillet Chicken Tortilla Pie is my every Monday’s dream dinner. For whatever reason, Monday is almost always the one day of the week where I’m tempted to go out for dinner, have Bjork pick up sushi on the way home (♡), or have some sampler platter of cheese, crackers, spoonfuls of almond butter, popcorn, a Lara bar, and maybe if I’m being extra good, a green smoothie and call it all “dinner.” And you guys, that’s a total lie. I want that EVERY day of the week.
So when it’s Monday dinnertime and I know I can make something superfast that involves perfectly seasoned chicken layered with blankets of melted cheese, homemade tomato + onion + garlic + chili sauce, and sauce-soaked corn tortillas, that’s it right there. Stop the train. End of story. Done and done.
Even though this weekend went way too fast and somehow *snap* it’s Monday already, I did manage to get, like, three things done between Friday and Sunday.
- I participated half-way in taking down the Christmas decorations. I say half-way because, uhmm, isn’t the big part actually taking down the tree and then vacuuming the five hundred million needles embedded in the carpet? Especially when that carpet happens to be shaggy-shag carpet that traps all the things in its long yarn-ish pieces? Annnnd maybe Bjork did that part. So I half-way helped, and now, joy of joys: Lazy January Christmas in our house is now over. Gloria!
- I made this Skillet Chicken Tortilla Pie. And then I oohed and ahhed as we scooped out each piece and gazed at its melty cheese strings. YUHMMMMS.
- And finally, I finished a load of laundry after going through not one, not two, but THREE outfits during the aforementioned Skillet Chicken Tortilla Pie event. Yes, ladies and gentleman, I am a master of the red-sauce-on-new-Target cardigan-stains. And I didn’t almost cry.
I hate to be predictable, but by far the highlight on my list of three things I got done was the Skillet Chicken Tortilla Pie – specifically standing at the stove, simmering this super fragrant homemade sauce and making our house smell wonderful, all while talking to Bjork and looking out the window at the fresh falling snowflakes since now we can talk to each other while I cook because THERE’S NO WALL THERE ANYMORE. Which reminds me: Kitchen remodel! –> Kitchen is done! –> Full kitchen reveal this week!
But Skillet Chicken Tortilla Pie.
Those were some happy happy good food Sunday times.
This Skillet Chicken Tortilla Pie is nothing more than a slight upgrade from the five ingredient enchilada casserole involving a c-a-n of red enchilada sauce, chicken, cheese, and tortillas. I’m not going to lie – I made that version a few times in the development of this recipe. There’s a time and a place, absolutely for surely. But the upgrade happened when I went from opening a can of enchilada sauce —-> to simmering all that is wonderful (and probably already in the fridge or pantry?) together in a large pot and then pureeing it all into a beautifully rich, velvety tomato sauce that ties this whole thing together with mild spice and rich flavor and sauciness.
You guys? Do you mind that this is, like, 0% fancy? It’s just deliciously seasoned chicken, shredded cheese, corn tortillas, and really fragrant, mild homemade red sauce. Like, I didn’t even go overboard and add a million other things and I held myself back from the bajillion spicy peppers. I KNOW, restraint.
This is simple and mild ingredients made into down-home comforting food. And if that isn’t your definition of Monday, I’m not sure I know who you are.
PS. As you can see from the first few pictures, I sort of forgot it that this was a pie and just started scooping it out in heaping piles like the hungry cavewoman that I am (MEE WANT FOOD NOW), but look, sophisticated reader! You can cut it into slices after you let it stand for a while. Is that fun or is that fun? Hi, Pie!
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 3 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1½ cups chicken broth
- 2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons southwestern or taco seasoning - this is my favorite blend!
- 30 small corn tortillas
- 4 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese (Mozz melts the best!)
- cilantro and Cotija cheese for topping
- SAUCE: Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and saute for 5-10 minutes. Reduce heat and add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and garlic. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until very fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the chicken broth, garlic, and tomatoes and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sauce is very deep red in color. Transfer (half at a time - it's a lot of sauce) to a blender, puree, and set aside. Taste and adjust for saltiness as needed.
- CHICKEN: Coat the chicken breasts with the seasoning. Heat the pan from step one over medium low heat with a little oil and add the chicken. Cook for a few minutes on each side until nicely browned. Cover with sauce and simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes so the chicken finishes cooking gently in the sauce. Remove chicken from sauce and shred with two forks. Set aside.
- ASSEMBLE: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Dip five tortillas in the warm sauce and layer in the bottom of a 9-inch round skillet or baking dish. Add a scoop of chicken, a handful of cheese, and about ¾ cup sauce. Repeat layer. End with one more layer of tortillas, a scoop of sauce, and cheese. (Now go make another one! You should be able to make two pies/skillets with this recipe.)
- BAKE: Cover with foil that has been sprayed with nonstick oil to prevent it from sticking on the cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is ooey-gooey-perfection. Top with cilantro and Cotija.
I've made a version with pico de gallo layered in as well as corn - both were yummy!
Also, if you are in a pinch and you need to move quickly, you can replace the sauce with canned enchilada sauce. But I will warn you - I made it that way, too, and it's not nearly as good as the homemade sauce.