Sunday, June 26, 2011

Queso Chicken Pasta

Let’s talk guilty pleasures.  We all have them.  Those embarrassing little things that we secretly love and crave even though we know we shouldn’t.  Maybe it’s rich desserts, trashy reality shows, or teeny bopper pop music.  Maybe it’s all three.  (And if it is, don’t be embarrassed.  I’m with you on two of the three.  Which two, though, I’m keeping secret.) 

I am, however, willing to tell you about my new guilty pleasure.  Its name is queso.  Yup, queso, as in the melty, cheesy, gooey dip you get at Mexican restaurants and consume with obscene amounts of tortilla chips.  The one I never craved or desired before a new Mexican restaurant opened nearby.  A restaurant that has a great happy hour with delicious, cheap margaritas.  And what are you supposed to eat with those margaritas?  Chips and queso, of course. 

The problem here is that we like this restaurant a lot.  It’s in one of our favorite neighborhoods, it has a nice patio, and like I said before, they have good, cheap margaritas.  Needless to say, we go there fairly often.  And I eat an unreasonable amount of chips dipped in queso.  And then I feel guilty.  But I still crave more.  See?  Guilty pleasure.

Today’s recipe got me all fired up because it combines my all-time love, pasta, with my new-found love, queso.  It tastes just like it sounds: pasta mixed with queso.  And if that doesn’t sound good to you, just trust me.  Imagine tender pasta baked with a creamy (yet still somehow light-tasting) cheese sauce flecked with onion and chile.  The addition of shredded chicken ups the protein and makes the dish a complete meal.  Served up with some veggies (cause a little green is a good thing), this Queso Chicken Pasta is a winner – and one that I feel slightly less guilty about since it doesn’t involve multiple baskets of chips. That being said, I gotta know, what are your guilty pleasures??

Queso Chicken Pasta
Adapted from Evil Shenanigans

8 oz. penne pasta
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. coriander
1 T. flour
1 1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
3 T. cream cheese
8 oz. Monterey jack cheese, shredded, divided
1/2 cup diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken

Preheat oven with 350 degrees.  Spray a medium baking dish with non-stick spray.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, but reduce the cooking time by 2 minutes.

 Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno.  Cook for 3 minutes.

 Add the cumin, coriander, and salt.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.  Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.

Gradually whisk in the milk, a little bit at the time.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until it thickens.

Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the cream cheese, 3/4 of the shredded cheese, and the tomatoes.

 Stir the pasta and chicken into the cheese sauce. 

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the pasta.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the pasta is bubbling.   Let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4.


  1. This is so amazing! Fantastic flavour!

  2. Made this last night! It's exactly as it sounds...tastes like you pour queso dip over chicken and pasta! It was very tasty and my 2 year old gobbled it! Will keep this one! Thanks!



Related Posts with Thumbnails