Loaded with all kinds of good for you veggies (red/orange/yellow bell peppers, grape tomatoes, spinach, onions) and with a good dose of protein (refried beans and chicken breast), this is a great all-in-one meal. I took quite a few liberties with the original recipe and lightened it up a bit, using fat free refried beans and omitting the nacho chips. I’m sure the crunch is a nice addition, but I didn’t have any on hand, and it did save some calories and sodium. The spinach was an add-on, and I switched up the noodles for tri-color rotini (I think filled shells would be prettier, but this involves less work). Instead of the taco seasoning and enchilada sauce it called for, I slow-cooked my chicken breasts in a fresh salsa that I added some extra seasoning to. The result? A very fresh tasting casserole with a lot of flavor. I especially like how the beans thicken it up without adding a ton of cheese. This also makes for a great “round two” recipe you can toss some leftover chicken into!
Recipe Located At: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/pasta/chicken-enchilada-pasta/
This doesn’t have the extra cheese and green onions on top, since it’s a photo of leftovers. Imagine this—but nicer!
- 12 ounce package dried pasta
- 3 3/4 cups chopped large green and/or red sweet peppers (3 large)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped red onions (3 medium)
- 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped* Please don’t be like me and rub your eyes later on in the evening without even thinking about it, until you feel the massive burning. I think I do this every time.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken* I cooked the chicken in the slow cooker with one container of refrigerated fresh salsa (16 oz) from the store. If you prefer to cook the chicken another way, add the salsa to the pan with other ingredients. I liked how this kept the chicken very moist and flavorful, and I cooked an extra chicken breast that I sliced and saved for another night!
- 16 ounce can refried beans
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups shredded Mexican-style four-cheese blend (8 ounces)–I used 2% cheese.
- 1 cup sliced green onions (not pictured in my “leftovers” photo)
- 1 package (8oz) frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
- 1 (8 oz) package grape tomatoes, sliced
- Greek yogurt or sour cream for topping, if desired
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again.
2. In large skillet cook sweet peppers, red onions, and jalapeno pepper in hot oil over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, salsa, beans, spinach, tomatoes, and the salt. Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese and 1/2 cup of the green onions.
3. Spoon chicken mixture into the pasta and stir. Spread into 3 quart casserole dish and top with remaining cheese.
4. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with remaining green onions. Serve with Greek yogurt if desired.