Sunday Special: Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Casserole

. I've slowly made my way through worldy cuisines, some American fare, Mediterranean (okay, I guess only two...) and last weekend I decided to try my hand at some Mexican influences (from the title, it was obviously Americanized a tad.  But work with me!).

Okay, so I do have to let you in on a little tid bit about me.  I LOVE [x10] Mexican food.  More than I can explain.  I'm half-Japanese but my parents always joked that I'm Mexican at heart.  I love burritos [especially], quesadillas, refried beans (oo yum!!), and pretty much any other item that classifies as Mexican food.  I don't know what it is but I can't get enough of it.  Ever.  For example?  Every one of our birthday dinners growing up, my mom let us decide what we wanted to have.  My choice?  Yep, you guessed it.  The majority of the time my mom didn't even need to ask, she knew we'd be having tacos and burritos the first week of every March.  Oh, those were the days ☺

So back to this casserole.  FAB!  Truthfully, as I started making this dish I wasn't too optimistic on how it would turn out.  I didn't realize this until I was doing my grocery shopping, but the recipe calls for boxed rice.  Now, I'm not opposed to boxes of any sort [except that I shy away from them heavily when I'm baking] but I seem to always find that non-boxed (?) ingredients are a little better.  However, since I'm a pre-beginner chef, boxes help out A LOT!  So I went with it.

And the end result supremely passed my expectations!  I'll admit, Mexican food can get a little heavy with all the cheese (but who actually minds that), sauces, you know the deal-io.  But this dish was actually very light and not grease-laden in the least.  It calls for only a small amount of cheese across the top to add a great creamy texture that you MUST have with any Mexican dish but the rest of the flavor all comes from the herbs and spices and of course, some peppers are thrown in there.  I also served the casserole with a loaf of rye bread (bread with my dinners seems to be a recurring theme...) that went very well with everything.  My boyfriend and I both found ourselves taking slices of bread and laying atop the casserole for a little more hearty dinner (see, I told you it was pretty light).  And what do you know, we ate almost the entire thing.  Crazy!

All in all, last weekends dinner was another fun success.  If you're a lover of Mexican food [like myself] but just don't feel like anything too heavy, this is your dish!  I won't even tell you to try to restrain yourself from eating too much...because we didn't.  Sorry ☺ .

Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Casserole
Better Homes and Gardens


1/2 c. chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 (6.9 oz.) package chicken-flavored rice and vermicelli mix
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
2 c. water
2 c. cooked chicken or turkey, chopped
1 c. seeded tomatoes (about 2 medium), chopped
3 tbsp. canned diced green chile peppers, drained
1 tsp. dried basil, crushed
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

  1. In medium saucepan, cook onion in hot oil over medium heat until tender.  Stir in rice and vermicelli mix, including seasoning mix.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Stir in broth and water.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes (liquid will not be fully absorbed).
  2. Heat oven to 425°F.  Transfer rice mixture to large bowl.  Stir in chicken, tomatoes, chili peppers, basil, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper.  Transfer to 2-quart casserole.
  3. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 280 ; Fat: 10g ; Cholesterol: 52mg ; Sodium: 931mg ; Carbohydrates: 28g ; Sugar: 3g ; Protein: 20g

Happy to get some savory food once in a while!

*My Notes:
  • I made this casserole with the ground turkey I also used for the Sloppy Joe's.  It was very, very good but I wouldn't be opposed trying chicken the next time around.  Either way, both choices are very healthy and yummy!

1 comment:

  1. This looks so yummy!! I'm going to have to try it!!


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