Spinach and Chicken Tortilla Bake

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Spinach tortilla

My husband usually likes my food, but occasionally I make something that isn’t his favorite.    The great thing about my husband is that he gives his honest opinion about everything he tries.   If he doesn’t like something, he’s very diplomatic, but he’s clear about his dislike.   When I made this, I wasn’t sure what he was going to think about it because I’ve never made anything like it before.    Well, you should have seen the smile on Charles’ face when he ate this.   He said he loved it and wanted to know when we’d have it again.   It has to be a really good recipe for Charles to be so enthusiastic about it.    We had it again last night, and boy was he happy.

This recipe is spicy!    You can control the heat by varying the salsa and the cheese that you use in the recipe.  The first time I made it, I used pepper jack cheese and a salsa verde that said, “HOT!” on it.    I was only able to eat a single piece, which filled me up for the rest of the evening.   I have heard that spicy food fills you up and suppresses your appetite, and I can certainly attest to that fact based on eating a single slice of this.

This is a quick and easy dinner that will become a staple in our dinner rotation.  It’s great heated up as a leftover also.

Spinach and Chicken Tortilla Bake
Recipe from Rachel Ray

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 chicken cutlets (about 1 pound)
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups store-bought salsa verde
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
4 large (8″) flour tortillas
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 cups baby spinach (about 1/4 pound)
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 450°. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the pan and cook, turning once, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then shred the meat.

Whisk together the salsa verde and ricotta; season with salt and pepper. In a greased 9-inch square baking dish, layer one-third of the salsa mixture, tortillas, chicken, onion, spinach and pepper jack; repeat twice. Bake until golden-brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield:  4 servings

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43 comments to Spinach and Chicken Tortilla Bake

  • This sounds great. Wonder if I could cut the spice a bit so my kids would dig in too. Great idea!

  • I just found your blog via Tastespotting and I really like it. Love your design, too. This recipe sounds like it’s right up our alley, Tex-Mex, spicy, fast, and easy. I’ll be giving it a try soon.
    I subscribed to your RSS feed and will be looking forward to more great posts!

  • The Rachael Ray Everyday Magazine promotes a few tips for this recipe that I found helpful too:

    -Swap in 3 cups crushed tortilla chips for the flour tortillas for added crunch.

    -Try monterey jack instead of pepper jack cheese for a mild, less spicy dish.

    -Use a 15-ounce can of your favorite beans in place of the chicken for vegetarians.

  • Carol Anne

    This dish tastes great and assembles surprisingly quickly and easily! We will definitely do this again! I substituted 2-3 cups of leftover chicken — big time saver. Instead of a 9″ square baking dish, I used a 10″ cast iron skillet; better suits the round tortillas. The tortillas, I cut into 6 wedges. When layering the ingredients, I lined up the wedges so to make cutting the dish easier. Next time, I will use three tortillas, rather than four; four seemed a bit much.

  • Tina,

    Thanks for the additional suggestions for the recipe.

    Diane

  • Carol Anne – I’m so glad to hear that you’ll make the recipe again. I will too. My husband keeps asking for it.

    Diane

  • Emma

    I live in a group home and made it for the 5 girls I live with. They liked it but didn’t love it, I also thought it was good not great.
    Any suggestions on making it great?

    Emma

  • Hi Emma,

    Sorry you didn’t love the recipe. What didn’t you like about it?

    Diane

  • Kasey Yetman Broocks

    Loved this! I also used a round baking dish which was a perfect fit for the tortillas. I used medium salsa and monteray jack cheese so it wasn’t too spicy. I served it with mexican rice, refried beans, and sliced avocado :)

  • This looks tasty and easy! Will be trying it out on the family sometime this week.

  • Chantelle

    This looks and sounds very good, but I’m kind of confused as to how it is placed in the pan. Will all of the edges be open? It kind of looks like the back of the one in the picture is somehow closed off, or is that just an illusion?

  • Hi Chantelle,

    I just made this again for dinner tonight. It’s really delicious. If you buy the large tortillas, they fit very well in a 9″ square pan. If you cut the resulting tortilla bake into wedges, all of the edges are indeed open, but the cheese used holds all of the layers together nicely.

    Hope this helps.

    Diane

  • Rich

    Over the years I’ve come up with something very similar. Same basic idea but with the following:

    Large tortillas
    Refried beans
    Chopped Spinach
    Cubes of chicken
    Diced tomatos
    Kraft Mexican Shredded Cheese
    Garlic Powder

    Assemble and spray exterior of tortillas lightly with Pam
    Put on baking sheet and bake at 350 until tortillas start to turn crispy
    Serve with sour cream and picante sauce

    I’m sure with a little imagination you can come up with your one favorite ingredients! The nice thing is that it is just about as fool proof as it can get.

  • Paul

    Had this last night and everyone loved it. Instead of using fresh spinach, I used two frozen packages. After they thawed out, I used a spoon to press out as much water as possible. I also used small tortillas and cut them into quarters. Thanks!

  • Carole from CT

    I made this using mild salsa, frozen spinach, and mild cheeses, and it was delicious. Even the person who claims to not like Mexican cuisine LOVED it! The leftovers were even better. Another winner!

  • I’m glad you liked this one too. Charles likes this EXTRA spicy, and I prefer it slightly milder. Next time, I might make half spicy and half mild.

    Diane

  • kellyg

    I making this tonight! I’ve already made it before and loved it. It’s almost dinner time!

  • Colleen Connor Doig

    This is a very easy and tasty recipe. My husband always likes it when I make a new dinner recipe. He LOVED this one. I used a medium salsa verde and a mild cheese. I think I might spice it up a little more next time.

  • Hi Colleen!

    I’m so glad that you and your husband liked the recipe. My husband LOVES this one as well and he’s always happy when he sees me making it.

    Diane

  • Danielle Porak de Varna

    Culinary Greetings from Colorado.

    This recipe is — to die for delicious. It’s also perfect as leftovers. Just fabulous. Thanks Diane!!

  • Hi Danielle,

    I’m so glad you liked the recipe. It’s Charles’ favorite!

    Diane

  • Vivian

    I made this today and my mother, brother and myself thought it was tasty. I made my own salsa verde instead of store bought. It was satisfying and filling and I’d make it again.

  • Ann

    I appear to be the only one confused about this… Do I use three tortillas or four? It sounded like I should layer everything 3 times. Is there a fourth tortilla on top of the three layers of everything else?

  • StylishCuisine

    Hi Ann,

    If you follow the recipe exactly, you only use three tortillas, and you end with a layer of cheese. Lately, when I’ve been making it, I use 4 tortillas. I add the extra one at the end, making the tortilla the top layer.

    -Diane

  • Kitty

    I did simplify it by using already made rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. I also used the medium tortillas which fit perfectly into a pie plate. I could not find the verte sause so used regualr salsa instead with 1/2 of the pepper jack cheese and 1/2 mexican cheese blend. My family loved it! Can’t wait to try it with the verte sauce next time!

  • Suzy

    Just to confirm – the first layer is salsa, not a tortilla?

  • StylishCuisine

    Hi Suzy,

    Yes, the first layer is the salsa mixture, not a tortilla.

    Diane

  • lisa

    Why is the first layer a salsa mixture? Wouldn’t that be messy, soggy and wasteful? I would think tortillas would be where to start, like a pie crust.

  • StylishCuisine

    Hi,

    The first salsa layer doesn’t make the dish soggy at all. It’s much like making lasagna, where a layer of sauce is the first thing you put in the baking dish.

  • Courtney

    Found this recipe on Pinterest and made this tonight for dinner. My husband and I loved it! I used mild salsa verde and a blend of mexican cheeses to control the heat and it was perfect! Thanks for posting!

  • Lydia

    It’s in the oven right now…

  • Jessica

    I made this last night and it was awesome! The boyfriend loved! I made a few changes…made my own salsa verde and slow cooked a pork shoulder mexican style. The pork shredded nicely and had lots of flavor! I also used colby jack cheese as well as pepperjack and added pickled jalepenos in one of the layers. So delicious! Thank you for this recipe.

  • Lauren

    I made this last night and we really liked it. Mine was not as pretty as yours but still tasted yummy! I didn’t put in all the spinach because it seemed really tall with the fresh leaves but will stuff it in next time!

  • Ana

    Delicious! It was like an easy way of getting the flavor of my grandmother’s enchiladas. Loved it.

  • StylishCuisine

    So glad you enjoyed it Ana!

  • Heather Wall

    Thank you so much for this recipe :) I made it tonight however because I’m not a spicy food fan I substituted the salsa verde with Alfredo sauce. It was so delicious. No leftovers. This will definitely something I will be making over and over again.

  • Aneisha Prince

    I deviated from the recipe as I’m trying to eat healthy. I used whole wheat tortillas, low fat cottage cheese in place of the ricotta cheese , reduced fat Colby jack cheese, and added a layer of mushrooms . It came out very good!

  • [...] first recipe was actually found on Stylish Cuisine.  I adapted it a little to make it a bit lighter, to serve 8 and I used rotisserie chicken so I [...]

  • Jill

    I’m making this ahead of time, for tonite’s dinner. The picture you have shows the tortilla as the top layer, however from how I read our instructions the top layer is cheese? Yours looks prettier… Any hoo, I subbed s cream/gr yogurt for the riccota (all I had on hand), and sautéed the onions along with some corn & peppers. Looks good & easy to make!

  • Nancy Stinson-Lollich

    Nice concept but way too bland, very midwestern churchy potluckish if you are into that. Fills the bill for that but would lose as a standout main dish with regard to interest and blend of flavors. Needs
    Roughly 1tsp of cumin, minced garlic, garlic salt or powder to taste and a dash of ground chili pepper. some canned diced green chilis and a little plop of sauce/and or sour cream with a sprinkle of cilantro and or green onion to give it the “Blam”.

  • Katie

    I made this last night and, oh boy, is this a keeper. Definitely going into our regular meal rotation. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Van

    I made this with papaya/mango salsa and mozzarella cheese…it was very good!!!

  • Laurie

    This has become one of our favorites! Thank you!

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