For someone that used to say they didn't like pasta very much, I sure have been making a lot of it lately. Guess I like it now - you think?
I think this Taco Pasta and this Cheesy Chili Mac are what jump-started my new found love for pasta, but both of those use ground beef and I wanted a chicken version of a Mexican pasta. I wanted a creamy dish, but I didn't want to have to make a roux. What could work instead of a roux? How about cream of chicken soup? I took that idea and turned it into a Mexican style dish by adding some Rotel, cumin, chili powder and cilantro. It totally worked.
It turned out creamy, cheesy and yummy.
Cheesy Chicken Taco Pasta
1 1/2 - 2 c. cooked and seasoned chicken, diced
2 c. shell pasta, cooked (measure before it is cooked)
1 3/4 c. Cheddar cheese, divided
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
1 can mild Rotel, undrained (diced tomatoes and green chiles)
3/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper
2 - 3 Tbl. chopped cilantro, opt.
1/4 c. milk (or more if needed)
Combine cream of chicken soup, Rotel, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, chopped cilantro and milk. Add the cooked chicken, cooked pasta and 1 1/4 cups of cheese. Stir to combine. If you think it needs a little extra milk, now is the time to add it (I did not add any extra to mine). Taste and add more seasonings, if needed. Pour into an 8x8 inch casserole dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Garnish with more cilantro, if desired. Serves: 4-5
Jenn's Notes: I baked one very large chicken breast that I had seasoned with some salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder. I accidentally cooked a little more than 2 cups of pasta, so your dish might end up looking a little more saucy than in my photo. If you are not a pasta person, I think this would taste great with rice too. Feel free to switch this up however you like. You could add Pepper Jack cheese if you want a little extra kick, you could add some corn and beans or you could even use ground beef instead of chicken.