I just adore casseroles. I have never been the eater that likes to keep my food completely separate, or only take a bite of one item at a time. I like to mix it all up and experience as many combinations of flavors as possible.
Well, as long as it’s reasonable.
I’ll never understand the whole ketchup on eggs or macaroni and cheese thing.. that’s disturbing.
But a reasonable combination of a wide variety of flavors? I’m down.
I’ve been on a little bit of a black bean kick lately, and I have also been looking for reasons to come up with an ooey-gooey, melt-in-your-mouth casserole. I had a perfect excuse this week, as my husband and I are going out of town for a bit, and I am in the “use whatever is in the kitchen without buying anything new” mode.
After raiding my own kitchen, I discovered more salsa than necessary tucked in every corner of the fridge, 3 chicken breasts that needed to be consumed, half of a Costco sized block of sharp cheddar, a small chunk of Monterey Jack, a bag of frozen corn, and a jar of basmati rice over halfway full. It was pretty much a no brainer for me to come up with a Mexican chicken bake.
Luckily, I almost always have a cabinet full of spices, so I did not even have to question whether or not I had the right flavors.
I decided that I really wanted to do a layered casserole rather than mixing everything up from the beginning, because, I mean, I still like the fun and thrill of mixing up my food on my plate.
So I dove right in, rice first. The beans, corn, salsa, and cheese followed closely behind, and the chicken found a home at the very top… but only until the cheddar cheese smothered it.
It pretty much only took a few steps- cooking the rice, layering the dish, baking for a bit without the cheese on top, and then adding cheese to bake a little bit longer.
And it was entirely delicious and full of flavor.
Oh, and the best part?
The husband loved it.
No grocery shopping, mostly hands off cook time, a happy tummy, and a happy husband?
That’s a win.
Go be a winner.
Mexican Chicken Bake
Here's What You Need:
1c dry basmati rice
2c black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4c Monterey Jack cheese
3 small-medium chicken breasts, sliced (see photo)
1tsp cumin powder
1tsp chili powder
1tsp garlic powder
1c sharp cheddar cheese
Here's What You Do:
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a medium saucepan, combine water and dry rice and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 20 minutes or until rice begins to tunnel and is almost completely tender. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
Spread rice evenly in a casserole dish. Top with black beans, followed by corn. Pour salsa evenly across the top, then cover with Monterey Jack cheese.
Arrange raw chicken breast slices across the top of the layered ingredients.
Combine all spices in a bowl, then sprinkle across the top of the chicken.
Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until chicken is almost done. (It should be starting to brown but still a tad bit glossy). Remove from oven and cover with sharp cheddar cheese. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted and begins to bubble.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Add additional salt and pepper to taste, or serve with hot sauce if desired.