Take-out Tuesday, Travelin’ Casserole

I discovered something the other day that I can’t believe I had never tried before.  Seriously.  This is insanely genius!


Use your slow cooker to cook chicken for casserole recipes!  Uh oh. Are you rolling your eyes? As in, what a dummy, doesn’t she know this?

When I need cooked chicken for a casserole I usually saute it in a skillet.  I decided to try a slow cooker method this time and put it in the crock pot to cook while I was busy doing other things.  3-4 hours on high with a little broth, salsa or other liquid,  and you have tender, delicious chicken that will shred with your touch!

Forgive me if you knew this, I am a slow learner 🙂   and if you didn’t know this, well, I hope you will try it!


Okay, tip #2 or, the second thing you are going to roll your eyes about~

Do you ever cook with boneless chicken thighs?  Well, until recently I was a huge “boneless breast only” chicken snob.  Until I had a boneless thigh. I might never go back to the boring breast.  Seriously, they have so much more flavor and are so much more tender~ and they’re cheaper!

Since I was planning a Mexican casserole,  I put the chicken in the slow cooker with 1/2 jar of leftover salsa, added a dash of broth.  For a non spicy casserole recipe just use chicken broth, and for an Italian chicken casserole use canned tomatoes with juice.  You just want enough liquid to cover chicken, it doesn’t need to swim.

This method makes incredibly tender and flavorful chicken.


I fully intended to assemble this casserole in advance to take to the beach for the first meal of our Laborless Day weekend, because it is one of the easiest and most popular dishes I make.   I ran out of time so instead, I put the cooked chicken in a ziplock bag, tucked it in the cooler with the other ingredients. and assembled it when I got to the beach.

It was much easier to travel this way than with an assembled casserole!


This casserole comes together so quickly, it was a snap to assemble after arriving.  Cooked chicken, already grated cheese, tortillas, sour cream, creamed corn and an easy sauce.  I put the sauce on to simmer and combine while I prepared the enchiladas.  The sauce is so simple, just open 3 containers, Rotel tomatoes and green chiles, sour cream and Cream of Celery soup, heat and stir~


With the tortillas laid out on paper towels, I topped each with shredded chicken, some cheese, a little sour cream


and  a couple of spoonfuls of creamed corn~I know it looks like raw egg, gross, but let me tell you, this added so much to the filling!  The guys raved about this, and trust me that rarely happens~ well, my SIL always raves because you know he is THE nicest guy, but HH and HHjr are a little more difficult to get compliments from, so I definitely take note when they say something!


Season with salt and pepper and roll them up and place them on the bed of sauce


Top with remaining sauce


a little more cheese



chicken enchiladas thepaintedapron.com

And this simple dish of cheesy comfort was ready for weary travelers!

NOTE: If you’re not a fan of Mexican food, you can still make this dish.  Substitute Cream of Chicken or Cream of Mushroom Soup for the Celery Soup and add one can of chicken broth instead of the Rotel.  Instead of creamed corn you can use sauteed mushrooms or just omit altogether and assemble the casserole as described.  You can substitute the Cheddar for Fontina, Gruyere or Jack if you prefer.

Flour enchiladas are great to bake with, sort of a cross between a crepe and a manicotti or cannelloni noodle, and much easier to stuff!

For a similar non-Mexican chicken recipe, that uses flour tortillas, California Cannelloni, click here

California Cannelloni thepaintedapron.com

Here’s the recipe for today’s dish:


Use a slow cooker to cook chicken
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Slow Cook 4 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Tex-Mex
Servings 8


  • slow cooker


  • 6-8 boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups light sour cream divided
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes & green chilies
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese


  • Place chicken thighs in an oil sprayed slow cooker. Cover with salsa and add a dash of chicken broth or water so they are covered in liquid but not submerged. Cook 4 hours on high [or 6-8 on low]. Remove from cooker and shred. At this point you can store chicken in refrigerator for up to 2 days or freeze.
  • To make casserole. Combine sour cream, soup & Rotel in large sauce pan and simmer over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. Once combined, spoon about 1/3 of sauce into a sprayed casserole dish and spread out into an even layer.
  • Lay out tortillas on clean counter top or paper towels. Divide chicken among tortillas and sprinkle with 1-2 T cheese. Top with 1-2 T sour cream, and 1-2 T creamed corn.
  • Roll up and place seam side down in dish, squeezing to fit. Cover with remaining sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 325 until bubbly, 45-60 min. If casserole is cold it will take at least an hour. If cheese is getting too brown, cover casserole loosely with foil. Serves 6-8.


Leftovers freeze well.
Keyword casserole, chicken enchiladas, salsa, slow cooker, Tex-Mex

This is really good…in fact…I might just go make this right now!


I’ll be joining these super fabulous blogs:

Memories by the Mile

Clean & Sensible

Posed Perfection

Easy Life

Rattlebridge Farm

Love Bakes Good Cakes

10 Responses to “Take-out Tuesday, Travelin’ Casserole”
  1. Mary says:

    This looks great Jenna with all that cheesy goodness melted on top! I’ve never thought to cook a chicken for a casserole in a slow cooker, I need to put it to work more! We are chicken thigh converts though 🙂

  2. dianne says:

    This looks wonderful and the California Cannelloni does too. I will have to decide which one to try first! Thanks for your visit and kind comments.

  3. jp says:

    This sounds delish….i love anything super cheesy!

  4. Sign me up for the dummy club…I never thought to cook my chicken for casseroles in my slow cooker…what a great idea. I’m excited about the Chicken Salsa Enchilada recipe. This will definitely be a hit with my Garden Friends Bible Study. Thanks! Cherry Kay

  5. Liz says:

    Great recipe Thanks so much.

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  1. […]   The Travelin’ Casserole from Jenna @ The Painted Apron […]

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