Monday, September 5, 2011
Queso Chicken Penne
Let me start off by apologizing for what could possibly be the worst picture in the history of food blog pictures. Not only was/is the lighting in my house horrible but while I was trying to get “just one good shot” my dear hubby was standing in the background moaning and groaning because he was starving. Geez. I have learned through blogging that the worst thing you can do with a dish is plate it up while it is still crazy hot. All it is going to do is run all over the plate. And that’s exactly what happened. Sorry, but I wasn’t going to sacrifice my hungry husband for the sake of the blog. And thus the ugly picture was born. But while the picture was less than stellar, let me tell you the pasta was FAB. When the hubs requested it 3 days later, I knew we had a keeper.
Queso Penne Pasta
makes one 9x13 casserole dish or 2 square casserole dishes
1 lb. penne pasta
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (leave some seeds for heat)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk (I used skim)
1 tsp. salt (more to taste)
8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, cut into cubes
2 cups shredded cheese of choice (I used a Mex-blend)
1 can Rotel
4 cups shredded chicken
1. Heat the oven to 350° and spray a 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick spray (I separated this dish into two smaller casserole dishes and froze one for future use)
2. Cook the pasta according to the directions for al dente. Drain and set aside
3. In a large pan over medium heat, cook the onion and peppers until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, and salt and cook until spices become pungent.
4. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly to cook the flour taste out. Gradually whisk in the milk and stir until smooth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow to thicken. Turn heat to low and add the cream cheese and a handful of the shredded cheese. Whisk until completely melted. Stir in the can of Rotel.
5. Mix the chicken and cooked pasta and pour into prepared casserole dish. Pour the sauce over the top, moving the mixture around slightly to let the sauce run through the pasta. You can mix it all together if you prefer. Top with remaining shredded cheese.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until bubbling. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Evil Shenanigans