1 (4 1/2- to 5-lb. ) Whole chicken (I prefer boneless chicken breasts)
2 Celery ribs, cut into 3 pieces each
2 Carrots, cut into 3 pieces each
2 1/2 to 3 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Medium onion, chopped
1 Medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
1 Garlic clove, pressed
1 (10 3/4-oz.) Can cream of mushroom soup
1 (10 3/4-oz.) Can cream of chicken soup
2 (10-oz.) Cans diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained
1 tsp. Dried oregano
1 tsp. Ground cumin
1/8 tsp. Ground Red Pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
3 Cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
12 (6-inch) Fajita-size corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips
If applicable, remove giblets from chicken, and reserve for another use. Rinse chicken.
Place chicken, celery, carrots, and salt in a large Dutch oven with water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 50 minutes to 1 hour or until chicken is done. Remove from heat. Remove chicken from broth; cool 30 minutes. Remove and reserve 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Strain any remaining cooking liquid, and reserve for another use.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 6 to 7 minutes or until tender. Add bell pepper and garlic, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in reserved 3/4 cup cooking liquid, cream of mushroom soup, and next 5 ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes.
Skin and bone chicken; shred meat into bite-size pieces. Layer half of chicken in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with half of soup mixture and 1 cup Cheddar cheese. Cover with half of corn tortilla strips. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese.
Bake at 350° F for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.