Chicken, Food, Main Dishes

Cheesy Chicken Southwest Pasta Casserole

 As soon as I saw this casserole posted on Lauren’s Latest blog, I knew I had to make it.  And this time, instead of “pinning” it on my pinterest and then forgetting about it, I actually got around to making it pretty soon.  It was calling my name.
It is perfect fall food- a warm, cheesy, saucy, comforting casserole.  I love the southwest flair to it and the hubby even enjoyed his with some salsa on top.  Don’t skip out on the jalapeño even if you don’t like spice – it doesn’t make it spicy but just adds flavor.  (Don’t forget to remove the seeds and ribs and wear some gloves while cutting the jalapeño, just in case!)
**Note: Do not be like me and forget to add the salt.  It will be quite bland without the salt to bring out the flavors.  I would have put the specific amount of salt in the recipe, but I don’t know how much I added since I forgot to salt the dish as a whole.  We had to add salt afterwards to our individual servings, but at least it still tasted good!



Cheesy Chicken Southwest Pasta Casserole
Adapted from: Lauren’s Latest
Yield: 2 quart casserole
1 1/2 – 2 cups uncooked whole wheat rotini (need about 3 cups cooked)
2 Tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 cups bell peppers, diced (or 2 bell peppers)
1-2 jalapeño peppers, diced
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 Tablespoon cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
plenty of salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 cup cooked black beans (drained)
1/3 cup heavy cream or half & half
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 1/2 cups tortilla chips, crushed

1. Cook pasta for about 3/4 of the time on the package directions.  Drain and remove.
2. In same pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Saute bell peppers and jalapeño for several minutes and then add corn, and onion and cook til tender.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.  Stir in flour and cook 1-2 minutes longer.  Add chicken broth and cook for several minutes longer, or until slightly thickened.  Add cilantro, cumin, chile powder, salt, pepper, black beans, cheeses, cream, and chicken.  Stir until combined.  Add more salt, if necessary.
3. Pour into a large 2 quart casserole dish.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350° for 20 minutes. Remove and top with crushed tortilla chips.  Return to oven for 5 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

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