Mouthwatering Wednesday: Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Pasta

How many times have you stressed about what to cook? You rack your brain for just the right flavor combination, roam the aisles of the grocery store aimlessly hoping something will just stand out; stressing until you just revert to your fall back of frozen pizza or chicken nuggets and macaroni. Well, we’d love to spice up your recipe book just a bit! Each week we will bring you a recipe from a local that’s old hat to them but new and exciting to you!

This week, we get to start with a submission from yours truly! This is one of my absolute favorite easy dishes because who isn’t a fan of excessive cheese, fresh bell peppers, and delicious pasta? For this Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Pasta dish you’ll need just a few ingredients;

3 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
32 Oz Chicken Broth
1 lb penne pasta
1 Red bell pepper (seeds removed and chopped)
1 Green bell pepper (seeds removed and chopped)
2 Tablespoons butter
30 Oz red enchilada sauce
8 Oz cream cheese
6 Whole green onions chopped
1-1/2 cup Mexican blend cheese
Optional – 1/2 cup milk (for a creamier sauce)

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Start by bringing your chicken broth to a boil and adding the chicken breasts. Water may need to be added depending on the size of the pot so that the chicken is able to be fully submerged and cooked thoroughly. Let the chicken boil for roughly 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked completely though. Once Cooked, drain the broth and cut the chicken into bite sized pieces or shred for a finer texture and put back into the large pot to combine with the sauce we will make.

On another burner, start your pasta boiling but only allow a cook time of about 7 minutes to make it very al dente as it will finish cooking in the oven. Once cooked, drain off the water and set the pasta aside.

While the chicken and pasta are boiling, get your fresh bell pepper and green onions to chop. Admire how delicious your fresh veggies look! These will be the flavor of the dish! First chop the green onions and set aside, these will be to garnish the dish. Next you’ll want to chop the bell peppers into small chunks and add them to a medium sized skillet to sauté. Add in the butter and place the lid on the skillet to trap in the moisture. Sauté for about 6 minutes stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.

In the pot with the chicken, pour in the enchilada sauce and add the cream cheese. Turn the fire on medium heat and stir the cream cheese around until it’s blended in with sauce. Next add in the bell peppers, 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, (optional milk), and stir until all combined. Once combined, add in the pasta and allow to simmer on medium for about 3 minutes stirring frequently.

Finally, pour the pasta mix into a large casserole dish and cover with the remaining shredded cheese and top with the chopped green onions. Place the dish into the oven on 350 F. For about 20 minutes to allow the cheese to completely melt. This simple dish is quick and delicious for a family meal. Best of all, it makes for the perfect leftover meal!

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