Hearty Tex-Mex Chicken Casserole

It’s hard to stray from my love of pasta, but I can’t forget to incorporate protein into my diet. I’ve been thinking a lot about a pasta dish that included both (but knew I couldn’t make another mac and cheese recipe…), so I thought some kind of Tex-Mex dish would be the way to go. I’m not a big fan of ground beef, so I opted for pulled chicken, but feel free to customize the recipe however you’d like.

I took the casserole approach and tried to use ingredients that could easily be picked up in the store. This way, it’s a simple weeknight dinner that can be made when you get home from a long day at work—or you can make it on a Sunday and eat the leftovers throughout the week.

Ingredients: Makes 4-6 servings
1 lb boneless, skinless, thin chicken breasts
2 cups uncooked noodles
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 teaspoon flour
2 cups Mexican-blend cheeses
1 1/3 cup enchilada sauce
1/2 cup olives, sliced
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1/2 cup black beans

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Cook chicken on medium low for about 4 minutes on each side (chicken should always be cooked to at least 165 Fahrenheit). Cook noodles according to package instructions. In a small pot, combine milk and cream cheese and heat on low until cream cheese is fully melted. Add flour and whisk. Add 1 cup of cheese and stir while it melts in. Leave the cheese sauce on low.

When chicken is cooked, shred it with two forks. In an 8×8 dish, layer the bottom with about half of the enchilada sauce. Add half of the noodles, then half of the chicken chicken, then all of the olives, jalapeño, and beans. Pour cheese sauce over the top. Top with remaining noodles, then chicken, then remaining cup of shredded cheese. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over top and bake for 20 minutes.

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