Now that fall is in the air, all I crave for are comfort foods. Usually this means some sort of soup or casserole dish when it comes to dinner. Don’t even get me started on the numerous desserts that are on my comfort food list – you’d be here for a while, and I’m sure your time is valuable.
Mac & cheese in casserole form is perhaps one of the best comfort foods ever. What’s better than a ooey gooey spiced up mac & cheese with onions, peppers, and seasoned chicken?!
Okay, I know a warm brownie with a molten chocolate center served with a side of vanilla bean ice cream probably comes to mind, but stay with me here – right now we’re talking about dinner.
You’re going to laugh at me, but this is the first time I’ve ever bought a block of cheese and shredded it myself with a grater. Yep, first time. I’ve always been lazy and used pre-shredded cheese, but I was told those are usually coated with some sort of a flour-y substance that can change the texture of your dish. So this time I put my grater to use and shredded two blocks of cheese myself, and let me tell you what, I don’t think I’m ever going back to the bagged kind anymore. There’s something about fresh shredded cheese that tastes so much better!
The two cheeses we use for this dish are Wisconsin sharp cheddar and pepperjack cheese. Pepperjack is perhaps one of my favorite cheeses ever, and it gives the dish a nice little kick that pairs well with the paprika, cumin, and green chiles.
- 12 oz of your favorite pasta
- 2 tablespoons EVOO
- 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- A pinch of cayenne pepper, more if desired
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles, drained
- ½ cup sour cream
- 6 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 6 oz shredded pepper jack cheese
- Toppings such as diced tomatoes and cilantro, if desired
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon EVOO over medium high heat. Add the chicken, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper, stir until chicken is coated with the spice mixture. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
- In the same skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of EVOO. Saute the garlic, green peppers, and onion over medium high heat until onions turn translucent. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add in the green chiles and cook for another minute or two.
- Pour the vegetable mixture into the large bowl containing the chicken. Stir until combined. Add in the sour cream and the two cheese. Stir some more until everything is thoroughly mixed and there are no clumps of cheese.
- Transfer the chicken/vegetable mixture into a 3 quart baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes or until pasta is slightly brown and bubbly.
- Serve immediately. If desired, top with diced tomatoes, cilantro, or other garnishes.
- Serves 6
I also chose to use rotisserie chicken to save some time – it’s a good way to get rid of leftover rotisserie chicken! If you prefer to cook your chicken yourself, just substitute the rotisserie chicken with two diced up chicken breasts instead.
On a totally different subject, I really shouldn’t have mentioned that warm brownie. Now I need to go make myself a brownie in a mug…
What’s your favorite comfort food?
Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats
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