Cheesy Southwest Chicken and Rice Casserole

Photo Credit: Sweet Little Bluebird

This cheesy southwest chicken and rice casserole recipe is a one-pan dish perfect for the entire family. Kids are often fussy eaters, but they will love the saucy nature of this baked chicken breast, which includes enchilada sauce, cheddar cheese, and white rice. What’s more, this Mexican-inspired recipe includes only seven ingredients and takes just an hour to prepare, which means this can be dinner any night of the week. This baked chicken recipe is also very versatile since you can easily switch out the black beans for chickpeas if those are what you have on hand or the cheddar cheese for fresh Mexican cotija cheese if you are lucky enough to get hold of it.

Easy dinner ideas, like this chicken recipe, are excellent through the busy week because they involve little to no chopping and very few ingredients. Red enchilada sauce is a combination of tomatoes, chili, cumin and other spices, and it is relatively easy to find at the grocery store. If you would rather make your enchilada sauce from scratch, however, there are several enchilada sauce recipes online that take minutes to throw together and could take your chicken dish over the top. These recipes usually just involve mixing a few ingredients and simmering it on the stove for a few minutes, so it wouldn’t be much additional effort compared with buying a store-bought sauce.

This chicken casserole recipe uses long-grain white rice, which cooks in with the casserole. If you are looking for healthy dinner recipes for your family, you may prefer to use brown rice instead, which has more fiber, magnesium, and phosphorus compared with white rice. Just be prepared that brown rice sometimes requires a longer cooking time or additional liquid, so you may have to adjust your timing and proportions of chicken stock when making this chicken dish. Alternatively, you could try subbing in quinoa, which is South American in origin, and would, therefore, be a somewhat fitting choice in a Mexican-inspired dish. One cup of quinoa can give you 43% of your daily-recommended iron intake, as well as 48% of your daily-recommended intake of fiber, which makes it an even healthier alternative to rice. It is also gluten-free and easily digestible, making it a suitable replacement for rice for gluten-free diets.

Nutrition Facts for: Cheesy Southwest Chicken and Rice Casserole from Sweet Little Bluebird

Ingredients: Long grain white rice, black beans, chili powder, chicken stock, chicken breasts, enchilada sauce, cheddar cheese.

* Percentages (%) are based on a 2000 calorie diet

* The entire recipe has been calculated for 6 servings.

* Per Serving: Calories 840, Calories from Fat 157, Total Fat 17.5g 27%, Saturated Fat 7.1g 35%, Cholesterol 104mg 35%, Sodium 247mg 10%, Potassium 2473mg 71%, Carbohydrates 127.5g 42%, Dietary Fiber 35.1g 140%, Sugars 2.2g, Protein 59.4g, Vitamin A 13%, Vitamin C 32%, Calcium 64%, Iron 178%

If you are busy through the week, chicken breast recipes are a good choice because chicken breast doesn’t take very long to cook. If you choose to cook a longer cooking grain in the oven, however, you may want to adjust to another cut of chicken. Bone-in chicken thighs are a good substitution because they can hold up to a significantly longer cooking time than chicken breasts without drying out. Whatever you decide, this chicken casserole recipe is an excellent basis for many future meals, because it is fast to make and uses just seven ingredients. Thank you to Mary, the author of ‘Sweet Little Bluebird’ recipe blog, for sharing her cheesy southwest chicken and rice recipe with us.

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