I have been on a Mexican food kick lately. Well, that kick has been going for the past 29 years. My mission lately, however, has been to make tasty, flavorful, and hearty Mexican inspired dishes without so much cheese. A lofty task, I know, but I have had great success. Less cheese is good for my conscience, my waste line, and my intestines. An overall win, if I do say so myself.
I bet you are confused right now–Tex-Mex Casserole that is healthy and doesn’t have much cheese? Sounds crazy, but it’s true! This casserole is just a little thicker than a stew, and certainly could be re-created as such. The chicken, tomatoes, peppers, vermicelli/rice, spices, and hint of cheese come together perfectly. This meal is perfect after a long day skiing or playing in the snow. Without any cheese at all, it would also be perfect as a cold side dish at a summer time picnic. I can’t wait to make it again!
Tex-Mex Tomato and Chicken Casserole:
Inspired from this lovely blog that I love.
- 1/2 of a large sweet onion, chopped
- one red pepper, chopped
- a touch of olive oil
- 1 package of chicken flavored rice and vermicelli mix (I used the low sodium Rice-A-Roni)
- 14 ounces of low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups of water
- 2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
- 1-2 cups diced tomato (because Alaskan tomatoes are disgusting, I used one can of no salt added diced tomatoes instead)
- one small can of diced green chile peppers (you can also use a few healthy glugs of green chile sauce like La Victoria)
- 1 1/2ish teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2-1ish teaspoon cumin (depending on your taste preference)
- 1/2 or so teaspoon of paprika
- 1ish tablespoons of Italian seasoning
- shredded Mexican blend cheese
- In a saucepan heat olive oil and saute onions and peppers until tender.
- Stir in rice and vermicelli mix, including the seasoning packet.
- Cook and stir to coat, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in broth and water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, and cover. Cook for 20 minutes. (The liquid will not be completely absorbed.)
- Turn off heat and add chicken, tomatoes, green chiles, and all of the spices.
- Transfer to a baking dish. (I found a 9 x 13 pan to work well.)
- Bake covered, at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with a little cheese if you are using it. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes or so until the cheese begins to brown.