Thursday, April 24, 2014

Southwest Chicken Bake

So, I think I've mentioned before that I normally come up 
with most of these little concoctions when I have nothing in 
the house. 
That was sort of the case today. I had taken chicken out for dinner, but, I didn't want to make the same old stuff. I decided on a chicken casserole 
because, I hadn't made it in a while and it was quick. 
Needless to say, it didn't take long for me to veto that idea.
So, off I went, in search of something to make. I looked up some chicken casseroles and saw the same thing over and over. Then I saw some sort of chili Mac recipe and thought it looked super delicious. The problem with that recipe was obviously that it was intended for ground beef and I had chicken. So I checked out a few more recipes, some with chicken, some without and I started building my own recipe.

Ok, now, I'm gonna go ahead and be honest, I eyeballed every.single.thing in this recipe. I literallyhave no exact measurements aside from 1 box of pasta shells and 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts. So, unless you have a big family, a 
huge appetite (or a man with one), you might wanna 
invite some friends for dinner......

Alright, put on some boots, and saddle up (I'm trying to talk like a's not working), & let's make some grub. First, you're gonna need a few things...I'll list them below (I'm gonna do my best to estimate the measurements).

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into small chunks)
1 box of shell pasta
1 can of cream of chicken & mushroom soup
1 can of bushes "Cocina Latina frijoles negros machacados" (these beans have bacon in them...
THAT is why i choose these beans specifically)
1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 chipotle pepper (I removed half the seeds and kept half the seeds in, the more seeds the spicier it'll be)
1/4 of a white onion (chopped fine)
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 packet of taco seasoning
2.5 cups of shredded cheddar or shredded Mexican blend cheese
1&1/2 cups of milk
2 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons of butter
Olive oil

Alright....let's see if I can remember this.
So, pour about a tablespoon or 2 in the bottom of the skillet of your choice. Turn the heat on 
medium low and add the minced garlic & onion. You just wanna make the garlic & onion sweat in the pan, so stir frequently and watch to make sure the garlic doesn't burn. Burnt garlic will get bitter, and that's not a pleasant experience for your taste buds.

While the garlic and onions are doing their thing, boil the water for your pasta. Make sure you salt the water first and once the water is boiling add your pasta in. By now, your onions & garlic 
should be ready to add some flavorful love to your chicken. So add the diced chicken into the 
pan with the onions and garlic. Mix it all up and let the chicken cook. Once the chicken is white and no more pink is visible, add the taco seasoning and a cup of water stir it up and let it cook til the water evaporates.

By now your pasta should be ready, go ahead and drain it. Leave the pasta in the colander so it 
dries a little, It will help the cheese stick to the pasta better.

Your chicken should still be doing it's thing, go ahead and give it a little stir, sing it a song, show it you care (about how delicious it's going to be) and then leave it alone so you can go about your merry business and assemble this sauce.

Ok. So first, you need to make a rue (ruex? roo? ru? not the one from winnie the pooh...Whatever, you get the point...) to do that just take the butter, melt it in a pot (I should specify, you should 
use a medium sized pot for this). Add the flour little by little to the butter stirring as you add it. 
Once the flour has been added add in 1&1/2 cups of cheese & stir until it's been blended & 
melted in completely. Then add in the milk & cream of chicken & mushroom soup. Mix, mix, mix. Thennnnnn, add in the fire roasted tomatoes and your chopped up chipotle pepper and mix, mix, mix some more. (You might wanna check on your chicken at this point & turn it off if all the liquid is gone.) go ahead & add the beans to the cheese sauce and mix it up all nice like. 
Add the drained pasta to the chicken & mix that up together. Once it's nicely coated, pour your 
cheesey, beany, tomatoey sauce on top of it and mix it all up again. Add in a little of the 
remaining cheese here just for kicks, transfer to a baking dish/casserole pan and top with the 
remaining cheese.

Place it under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the cheese gets bubbly & starts to turn this....

Let it cool for a few minutes before serving (that cheese is lava hot, liquid magma). Then...Stuff.your.face

As always.....Let me know if you like it.