This recipe has been a family favorite for years… since my teenage daughter was a toddler. At the time, I had been working on putting together favorite recipes with a group I volunteered for, and this one got top reviews from everyone who tried it. Same response from my family when I made it for them. I did alter the recipe a tiny bit over the years, to make the process easier (the original recipe had instructions to roll each piece of chicken in the crushed chips, but that was more hassle than it was worth).
Many favorite recipes have fond memories attached to them, and this one is no exception. At the time I first started making this recipe, a loving aunt, who has since passed away, lived nearby and would come to dinner weekly. One time when she walked in my house as I was cooking Mexican chicken, she breathed in the wonderful aroma and called out, “Smells like seconds!” … I had never heard that expression before, but I use it now when I know what I’m about to eat will be so good that seconds will be in order…. And I think of her.
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup taco seasoning mix
4 boneless, skinless boneless chicken breasts or 1 package chicken tenders (*Note: the tenders cook quicker and are the perfect size for younger appetites)
olive oil or canola oil or butter, for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Heat oven to 350F.
In a large plastic zipper bag, mix flour and taco seasoning mix. Rinse chicken then shake each piece in flour mixture.
In casserole dish, grease the bottom with a light layer of olive oil, canola oil, or butter (whichever you prefer), then distribute 1/2 cup of the crushed tortilla chips on the bottom of the pan.
Place prepared chicken on top of chips (do not overlap the chicken pieces).
Sprinkle chicken with remaining flour mixture then cover with remaining crushed tortilla chips.
Drizzle all with melted butter.
Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.
Remove from oven; spoon salsa over chicken and distribute shredded cheese over salsa.
On the upper most rack, bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese melts.