As much as I like to fancy myself a highfalutin foodie, the sad reality is cooking for kids has knocked me down off my high horse many years ago. A nice example of how my children have humbled me: decent casseroles and crockpot dishes excite me as much as truffle oil. More so, in fact.

Years ago my friend Bonnie shared a recipe which won a contest in the Sunday Parade Magazine (that’s a division of Food & Wine, no?), and its many incarnations have been a hit with the family ever since. I rarely make this the same way twice, but this is a very forgiving recipe which allows much room for improvisation and substitutions. Leftovers are always rare.


1 pound of chicken, poached and shredded

2 cups restaurant style tortilla chips, crushed

1 can red kidney beans, rinsed well and drained

1 can black beans, rinsed well and drained

1 can of corn, drained

8 oz. can of tomato sauce

1 cup salsa

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

1 red or green pepper cut into 1/4 inch dice

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 clove of garlic, minced

12 – 16 oz. grated cheddar

Diced tomatoes to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom of 13 x 9 inch baking dish and line with crushed tortilla chips. Combine everything but the cheese in a large bowl and mix well. Place half the mixture atop the tortilla chips, and sprinkle half the cheese over the mixture. Cover with the remaining half of the chicken-bean mixture, and then top with remainder of cheese. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.