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Mexican Chicken Orzo Bake

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Mexican Chicken Orzo Bake
  • Prep Time 30 min
  • Total Time 1 hr 15 min
  • Servings 6
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This riff on arroz con pollo uses rice-shaped orzo pasta and easy boneless skinless chicken thighs for a flavorful dinner that’s sure to please kids and adults alike.

Ingredients

1/2
lb uncooked orzo or rosamarina pasta (1 1/3 cups)
1/2
cup Progresso™ chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
2
teaspoons chili powder
2
tablespoons butter
1
cup diced white onion
1
medium red bell pepper, diced
1
jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
1
teaspoon salt
1
can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen™ organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
2
tablespoons vegetable oil
1
package (1 oz) Old El Paso™ original taco seasoning mix
1
package (20 oz) boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)
3/4
cup crumbled queso fresco cheese (purchase later if freezing orzo bake for a later date)
2
tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves (purchase later if freezing orzo bake for a later date)

Directions

  • 1 Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  • 2 In 4-quart saucepan, heat 2 quarts water to boiling over high heat. Add pasta; reduce heat to simmering. Cook 4 minutes; drain. Return to saucepan; stir in broth and chili powder. Set aside.
  • 3 Meanwhile, in 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeño chile and salt; cook 6 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are soft and beginning to brown on edges. Add tomatoes; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture thickens. Stir into saucepan with pasta mixture; pour into baking dish.
  • 4 In medium bowl, mix vegetable oil and taco seasoning mix; add chicken thighs, and toss to coat. Place chicken on top of pasta mixture in dish; cover tightly with foil. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until chicken reaches 165°F when instant-read thermometer is inserted into center of thigh, OR freeze and bake later as directed in step 5. Let stand 5 minutes. Top with queso fresco and cilantro.
  • 5 If making ahead to bake and serve at a later date: Line 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with 2 layers of plastic wrap, leaving enough overhang to completely enclose assembled casserole. Spread pasta mixture in large shallow pan; cool mixture completely, covered, 30 to 45 minutes in refrigerator before assembling casserole. Assemble casserole in dish; cover with another layer of plastic wrap. Freeze unbaked casserole about 8 hours or until completely frozen. Transfer frozen casserole to labeled 2-gallon resealable freezer plastic bag. Remove air; seal and freeze up to three months. To bake: Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Remove plastic wrap from casserole; place in baking dish. Cover tightly with foil; thaw completely in refrigerator, 24 to 48 hours. Heat oven to 375°F. Bake, covered, 55 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes or until hot and bubbly on edges (165°F in center). Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Top with queso fresco and cilantro.
Tips  

Expert Tips

Snip the fresh cilantro leaves with scissors directly over the finished dish for a quick garnish.

Need a little more heat? Opt for a hotter chile, such as a serrano.

Nutrition Information 

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories
546.7
(
Calories from Fat
150
)
Daily Value
Total Fat
29.8g
46%
(
Saturated Fat
9.9g
49%
,
Trans Fat
0g
)
Cholesterol
117.2mg
39%
Sodium
1558.7mg
65%
Total Carbohydrate
40.9g
14%
(
Dietary Fiber
3.0g
12%
,
Sugars
7.2g
)
Protein
25.4g
Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
35%
35%
Vitamin C
49.60%
50%
Calcium
12.10%
12%
Iron
12.10%
12%
Exchanges:
2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 3 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 1 1/2 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
3
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
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