Tex-Mex Pasta Bake

Tex-Mex Pasta Bake

This dish uses Mexican flavors and ingredients and turns it into a “pasta bake” – a casserole of sorts. This is always my go-to dish for big cabin weekends, family gatherings, or anytime I need to feed a crowd! The serving size listed is for a 3-4 person dinner sized portion, but it is very easily scaled up to fit your needs. You can make most of it ahead of time and just pop it in the oven when you’re ready to eat!

A few quick notes:

  1. This recipe can easily be made vegetarian by subbing the chicken for any extra veggies like zucchini, more bell peppers, or squash!
  2. It can also be made vegan by using tofutti cream cheese and daiya (or any other dairy-free brand) cheese in place of the cheddar.
  3. You can double or triple this recipe for a very easy crowd pleasing casserole. I’ve made it for upwards of 16 people and it was just as easy and such a hit!

RECIPE

Servings: about 4. More if you don’t have a hungry husband.

Ingredients:
-2 cups noodles of choice*
-1 cup black bean noodles**
-2 bell peppers, diced
-1 jalapeno, diced (optionally omitted for less spice)
-1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil (or any cooking oil of choice)
-1 pound organic chicken breasts, cubed and marinated in:
    -1 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce or coconut aminos)
    -1 tbsp lime juice
    -1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
    -1 tsp chili powder
    -1 tsp cumin
    -1 tsp cayenne (optionally omitted)
-2 tbsp cream cheese OR heavy cream
-1/2 cup enchilada sauce
-1 can Rotel (tomatoes with green chilis), strained
-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions:
1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.
2. Cut your chicken into cubes and marinate it in a bowl or zip-lock in the fridge using the ingredients listed.
3. Cook your noodles, strain, and set them aside in an oven safe casserole dish. I used an 8×8 Pyrex dish.
4. In a skillet at medium heat, saute the bell peppers and jalapenos in the cooking oil of choice. Remove and add to the noodles.
5. Cook your chicken in the same skillet at medium heat until thoroughly cooked through.
6. Once all the way cooked, add the cream cheese to the chicken. Stir until it is all coated.
7. Remove from the heat and add to the noodles and peppers.
8. Add the rotel and the enchilada sauce and mix everything together.
9. Top with cheese*** and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove and serve warm.

*I often use gluten free fusilli for this dish if there are any gluten free friends or family. Always rinse your GF pasta before you boil it to reduce starchiness. Any sort of noodle works in this dish.

**I use Trader Joe’s brand black bean noodles. Option to omit these and use 3 cups of normal noodles.

***This dish can be saved for later at this stage if you simply cover it and put it in a fridge or freezer. Before you are ready to serve, bring it back to near room temperature and bake for about 20 minutes. If you wish, you can try putting it right in the oven and bake for a bit longer, but I have not tried this route.

Tex-Mex Pasta Bake

This casserole-type cheesy pasta dish is perfect for a quick small dinner or double (or triple!) it for a party or a gathering.
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fusilli noodles gluten free or wheat
  • 1 cup black bean noodles see notes below
  • 2 bell peppers diced
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast marinated (see below)
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or any cheese of choice

Chicken Marinade

  • 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp worcestshire sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne optional

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 375 F.
  • Cut your chicken into cubes and marinate it in a bowl or zip-lock in the fridge using the ingredients listed.
  • Cook your noodles, strain, and set them aside in an oven safe casserole dish. I use an 8×8 Pyrex dish.
  • In a skillet at medium heat, saute the bell peppers and jalapenos in the cooking oil of choice. Remove and add to the noodles.
  • Cook your chicken in the same skillet at medium heat until thoroughly cooked through.
  • Once all the way cooked, add the cream cheese or heavy cream to the chicken. Stir until it is all coated.
  • Remove from the heat and add to the noodles and peppers.
  • Add the rotel and the enchilada sauce and mix everything together.
  • Top with cheese and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove and serve warm.

Notes

If using gluten free noodles, make sure to rinse them before you boil them to avoid extra starchiness.
I use Trader Joe’s brand black bean noodles. Option to omit these and use 3 cups of normal noodles.
This dish can be saved for later before placing in the oven if you simply cover it and put it in a fridge or freezer. Before you are ready to serve, bring it back to near room temperature and bake for about 20 minutes. If you wish, you can try putting it right in the oven and bake for a bit longer, but I have not tried this route.
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