Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Friday, September 28, 2012

This is my new favorite pasta.  I know, I have probably said that about a billion times on this blog but for real, this pasta is totally boss.  Yeah, I said it, BOSS.  

Mr. Schwartz and I sat down to steamy bowls of this the other day and couldn't get over how good it was.  During and after each bite we would each say "this is SO good" "no seriously this is the best thing you have ever made" "not to toot my own horn but this is SO good" "oh my Good I could" eat this every day."  Yeah, we like this pasta.  It actually tastes like cheesy enchiladas. Like for real.  
Start by cooking the chicken in the largest skillet you own.  Season each side with salt and pepper.  Cook until the middle is no longer pink.  
After the chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the pan and cut into bite sized chunks.  Set aside, for now.
Marvel at this beauty of a red pepper.
Then chop it to bits.
Chop up a bunch of green onions as well.  Set aside for now.
Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta just shy of al dente.  Very shy.   I actually cooked it for 6 minutes instead of the suggested 12 minutes.  I hate soggy pasta in pasta bakes.  It needs to be al dente enough that it will finish cooking in the oven.
Drain the pasta and set aside.
Add some butter to the large skillet you cooked the chicken in.  See all those brown bits, yeah, you want those.
Stir things up getting the bits from the bottom of the pan. Note: this smells terrible. Second note: I'm very sarcastic.
Add some flour
Stir it up and cook the flour taste out of it.  This will thicken our sauce.
Pour in a jumbo sized can of enchilada sauce.  I used mild and it was perfect but if you want to spice it up a bit use hot or a combination of the two.
Stir it up.  Look at how thick that is!
Add some cream cheese.  This takes a bit of the heat out of the pasta making it perfect for a family with young kids.
Stir it up.  Seriously, look at that luscious sauce.
Add the veggies into the pan.  You might ask why I didn't sauté these.  Well, I'm glad you are wondering, I left them raw because I wanted a little texture.  It worked out perfectly. 
Add the chicken into the pan as well.
And the pasta.
Stir it up.
Pour into a 9x13 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Top with cheese.  I used this Kraft with a Touch of Philadelphia 4 Cheese Mexican Blend.  It melted perfectly.  I think I have found my new obsession.
Seriously look at that melted goodness.
Oh my word. 
Yeah, it's really good.

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Pasta
3 chicken breasts,
Salt and Pepper for seasoning
1 lb penne pasta
1 red pepper, chopped
6 green onions, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
28 oz enchilada sauce, mild or hot
4 oz cream cheese (I used 1/3 the fat and it was great)
1 1/2 cups Mexican Blend Cheese (I liked Kraft with a Touch of Philadelphia 4 Cheese Mexican Blend)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Start by heating the largest skillet you have on medium heat.  Spray with a bit of cooking spray and place the chicken breasts in the skillet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook until the chicken is fully cooked and no longer pink in the middle.  Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and cut into bite sized pieces.  Set aside.

While the chicken is cooking bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta for about 6 minutes or just a little over half of the suggested cooking time.  You want the pasta very al dente because it will finish cooking in the oven.  Once cooked, strain the water and set aside.

In the pan you cooked the chicken, add the butter scraping the bottom of the pan.  Once the butter has melted, add the flour and cook for about 2-3 minutes to get the floury taste out.

Pour the enchilada sauce into the pan and whisk until thick and bubbly.  Add the cream cheese and stir until fully incorporated.  Add in the red pepper, green onions, chicken and pasta into the pan.  Stir until everything is coated with the sauce.

Pour into a 9x13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pour the pasta into the pan and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese melted.

Top with additional red pepper, green onions and a dash of hot sauce.

Enjoy!

Recipe by: Mrs. Schwartz

18 comments :

  1. This looks so good. I love the kraft cheese with a touch of philly it melts so wonderfully. I made your spinach dip today and seriously it was my dinner tonight.

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    1. Hi Burgundy! Seriously I can't believe I hadn't tried it until just recently. I'm in LOVE!

      So glad you enjoyed the Spinach Dip. I'm kind of obsessed with it :)

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  2. Oh my word, this looks amazing! You combined my love of carbs and my love of Mexican food!

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  3. We had this last night, it was very good! I had tried a similar recipe before but this one was much better. Thank you for the recipe!

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  4. Do you think it would work to prepare this in the morning, throw it in the fridge, then top with cheese and bake for supper? Worried about the sauce withstanding the cooling and reheating...

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    1. I do think it would! Just be careful to not cook your pasta quite as long so it doesn't get mushy.

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  5. Caramelized 1/2 onion in 2 T of olive oil, added 2 chopped garlic cloves, and one chopped poblano pepper (didn't add red pepper or green onions). Took these out then did chicken and the rest of recipe as is. Gracias!

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  6. I do think it would! Just be careful to not cook your pasta quite as long so it doesn't get mushy.

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  7. I used rotisserie chicken from my local grocery store instead and it turned out delish! Great recipe, thanks!

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  8. I made this tonight and it was WONDERFUL!!!!! Even my husband, who has got to be the pickiest eater alive, loved it. We're going to a party this weekend and this is what I'll be bringing. BTW, I also used a rotisserie chicken.

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  9. Just made this, ALSO used a rotisserie chicken :) This recipe was so easy, not really much to clean up, and delicious! Used gluten free pasta also.

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  10. My son just informed me that this is now his number 1 fave meal...thanks so much for the recipe! This will be a staple in our house from now on!

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  11. Do you think this recipe would freeze well? I'm all about cooking a large casserole and freezing half for another time. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Jamie! Yes I think it would freeze just fine!

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