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Growing up in Southern California, my family lived across the street from a large Mexican family.

Their house was always filled with laughter and love and a generous "more the merrier" attitude. They were always happy to host an impromptu pool party or water balloon fight at the drop of a hat. If any parent in the neighborhood was looking for their kid on a sunny summer day, they usually knew where to find them.

It's no surprise that I would run over to their house every chance I got — not to play, but to hang out in the kitchen.

As is true in many houses, the kitchen was where the action happened. Whether you were looking for family drama or a bite to eat, something was always cooking in the kitchen.

Although I was too young to appreciate any drama, the food was a different matter entirely.

Fragrant and delicious tamales, tostadas, mole, pozole, sopes and chile rellenos are all stamped into my memory and are still my gold standard when it comes to Mexican fare.

One dish that stood above all the others, though, was their famous chicken enchiladas verdes.

They started with a vibrant tomatillo salsa, which coated fresh corn tortillas. Shredded roasted chicken, mixed with cheese and chopped raw onions, were rolled inside and nestled into a baking dish before being covered with more salsa and cheese and baked just until hot.

Memories of this dish are what inspired this week's Creamy Green Chicken and Roasted Corn Enchilada Casserole.

While the dish is different from my neighbor's more classic enchilada dish, it's become a family favorite in my house.

For this casserole, we are stacking the enchiladas in a lasagna-like fashion. To bring out the corn flavor in the tortillas, they're first brushed in oil and toasted in a skillet. Not only does this intensify the flavor, but it also helps to keep them from becoming mushy in the casserole.

Another twist is the addition of corn to the filling. And, similar to the tortillas, roasting the corn helps draw out the flavor and gives it a lovely toastiness.

Like any layered casserole, there are a few ingredients you have to pull together before assembly, but every element of the dish is ultra-easy and can be pulled together in minutes.

The heat level is entirely dependent on the chosen salsa, so it can be calibrated to suit anyone's taste.

And while rice and beans are always welcome side dishes, this casserole could, and probably should, be considered a one-pan meal that will hopefully become as memorable for others as it has been for me.

Creamy Green Chicken and Roasted Corn Enchilada Casserole

Serves 4 to 6.

Ultra easy and quick to pull together, this hearty enchilada casserole is a surefire winner you'll want to make time and time again. From Meredith Deeds.

• 2 c. fresh or frozen corn kernels

• 3 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas

• 16 oz. homemade or store-bought tomatillo salsa (about 2 c.)

• 3/4 c. sour cream, plus more for serving

• 3 c. shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (or a combination of both)

• 3 c. shredded rotisserie chicken

• 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped


Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 9- by 9-inch baking dish.

Arrange corn on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over the top and season with salt. Toss to coat. Roast for 10 minutes. Stir and continue roasting for another 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, brush both sides of the tortillas with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Working in batches, cook the tortillas in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until both sides are browned in spots. They will be firm, but not crispy. Transfer to a rack to cool. Cut the tortillas in half.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the tomatillo salsa and sour cream. Pour 1/2 cup of the salsa mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Place 4 tortilla halves on top of the enchilada sauce with the cut sides against the edges of the pan. Place one half to cover the middle and tear one half into 4 pieces to cover the corners. Top the tortillas with 1 cup shredded cheese, 1 1/2 cups chicken, half of the roasted corn and 2/3 cup of the salsa mixture. Repeat one more time. Cover the top with the remaining tortillas, salsa mixture and remaining 1 cup cheese. Sprinkle the chopped jalapeño over the top.

Bake until filling is bubbling around edges and top is browned, about 30 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Serve with additional sour cream on the side.

Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at Follow her on Instagram ­at @meredithdeeds.