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This is my version of a King Ranch Chicken Casserole.
It has so many advantages... Inexpensive Macaroni Pasta helps to stretch your dollars. I used the always easy, always tasty, always perfectly cooked Rotisserie Chickens for the meat. One of those you can buy pre-cooked at most grocery stores (and big box warehouse joints)... Often for a lower cost than the uncooked versions.
I loaded it up with frozen vegetables (Peas and Corn), Added some fresh Veggies (Onions and Sweet Bell Peppers). And then added spices through the use of canned Chunky Ro-Tel Tomatoes. Just enough to give the dish a little ZING!
Top with a little Taco Seasoned Cheese and you have a diet - healthy dish that looks fantastic, costs can be as low as $10 for 8 servings (watch those sales, I always stock up on Ro-Tel, Frozen Vegetables, basic Pasta and cheese when I see them on sale, almost making this a pantry meal).
Of course this is only a winner if it has the right taste. This is a Tex-Mex type dish. The Ro-Tel Tomatoes have Green Chilies mixed in to add a spice (diet food does not need to taste diet). Add additional seasonings to taste (I always add Cumin anytime I cook with Tomatoes) and you have a filling dish with lots of flavors that your family will love!
And of course it makes a beautiful dish to take along to any big PotLuck style meal, as a take along dish for a family gathering. Bright, colorful and tasty combination!
OK... Here's what I did...
Chicken and Veggie
1 Medium Size
Onion, Large Dice
1 Medium Size
Green Bell Pepper
2 to 3 Cups
Cooked Chicken, diced (I used the emat from 1/2 a Rotisserie Chicken, can substitute 2 Chicken breasts (cooked and diced).
2 Cans, NOT Drained (10 ounces each)
Ro-Tel brand Chopped Tomatoes and Green Chilies
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup,
1 tsp (Optional - To taste)
- 1 Cup Frozen Peas (thawed under HOT water for a few minutes).
- 1 CUp Frozen Corn (thawed under HOT water for a few minutes).
1 Pound Cooked
Elbow Macaroni Pasta, Cooked Al Dente, 1 minute less than advised on the box
Taco Spiced Shredded Cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a large 9X13 Casserole dish with non-stick spray. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Be sure to under cook the pasta slightly. It will finish cooking as the casserole cooks.
Heat the Olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the diced Onion and Bell pepper and saute for about 5 minutes until peppers are soft and the onions are translucent.
Add the cooked Chicken and Garlic to the pan and saute for another minute.
Add the Ro-Tel tomatoes and the can of Soup. Season with the Cumin and optional Chili Powder.. Stir to evenly mix.
Run the corn and peas under HOT water for a few minutes to thaw. Add Corn and Peas to the pan and mix well.
Dump the cooked pasta into the casserole dish. Add the contents of the Pan, covering the pasta evenly. Spread the cheese over the top.
Bake COVERED with aluminum foil for about 45 minutes until the sauce is bubbly. UNCOVER and bake an additional 15 minutes, allowing the cheese to get golden brown and delicious.
Let rest for 5 minutes, serve HOT and ENJOY!
This recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Church PotLuck Dishes
A list of something NEW worthy of being shown off at a neighborhood BYODish (Bring Your Own Dish) Party, a Family special occasion dinner, Any Big Holiday Gathering or of course that glorious day when you bring a dish to share with your Church family...
Ages ago, literally almost a half century ago I was listening to our pastor talking about a PotLuck Dinner. It happened to be scheduled around a church work day when we were expected to weed, polish and do general cleaning and maintenance around the church (you know, back in the day when there were no no-wax floors and church pews smelled of Old English furniture polish). I am of course paraphrasing, but as I recall the pastor said,
"A potluck, like a church requires work. At a potluck everyone is expected to contribute.. At a church no one should come empty handed and no one should leave unfed".
I will confess that in my youth I brought more store bought plastic spoons and forks than I ever brought covered dishes and crock pots of fresh made love and caring delights. But now that I have become a hobbyist cook, I occasionally am reminded of those days and people from my youth. I reminded and I do wish that I could drop a dish of some new creation on those old tables at my fondly remembered Liberty Baptist Church. Tables covered with newspapers and loaded with God's bounty prepared with love and caring... Enjoy
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