Creamy Chicken Enchilada Casserole (With Gluten Free Swaps)
Creamy, rich, flavorful pasta dishes are usually a family favorite that will bring the entire family to the table! But healthy? Usually not.
I have made this “healthified” meal for my family and friends and everyone loves it! It’s not what you typically expect from a cheesy pasta dish; it is spiced up with antioxidant filled Mexican spices, extra veggies chopped up fine (good for sneaking to picky eaters) to boost the nutrition and it ends up tasting like creamy chicken enchiladas – only easier!
Give it a try – this is a comforting meal perfect for a cozy fall evening!
I hope this recipe brings more life to your family table…Enjoy!
~Chef Kirsten, Mesa de Vida…Table of Life
Creamy Chicken Enchilada Casserole
4 oz 100% whole wheat penne pasta, cooked according to package directions (OR brown rice/quinoa pasta to make gluten free)
2 tsp healthy oil/fat of your choice
¾ lb chicken breasts, chopped into approximately 1” cubes
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch Kosher/sea salt
1 tsp Ancho chili powder (or your favorite dried chili powder)
1 tsp dried ground cumin
1 lime, juiced
2 Tb whole grain flour (OR cornstarch to make gluten free)
1 cup vegetable broth (homemade or high quality organic)
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (preferably organic, or use sour cream)
1 cup salsa verde (make your own by roasting 2 tomatillos, ½ onion, 1 clove garlic until softened then blending with the juice of 1 lime and a handful of cilantro – OR buy a high quality store brand with only natural ingredients)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (preferably organic, or you can omit completely if you wish)
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees if you wish to bake the casserole, but it is also fine served straight from the pan!
While the pasta is cooking you can start your sauce. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, when hot add oil, swirl to coat. Add the chicken, onion, zucchini, bell pepper, garlic and seasonings. Stirring occasionally, sauté for approximately 8 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the onions are tender. Add the lime juice, stir and cook about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour or cornstarch over the mixture, stir to incorporate then add the vegetable broth. As soon as the mixture thickens, lower the heat and stir in the yogurt, salsa verde, cheese and drained pasta (save a bit of cheese for the top if you wish.)
If you want to bake the casserole to get a golden brown top, pour the mixture into a casserole dish and bake (with reserved cheese on top if you wish) for 15-20 minutes. If you want to serve straight from the pan, just leave the mixture to rest over low heat for about 5 minutes.
Serve, topped with additional cilantro if you wish and enjoy!
“Photos by Aileen – Fooderazzi”
Kirsten Helle is a personal chef, nutrition consultant and CEO of Mesa de Vida…Table of Life. Besides being a personal chef, Kirsten shares recipes, nutrition tips and tools to help others reach their goals at Mesadevida.com. Kirsten has a weekly gluten free, low glycemic, healthy dinner menu subscription plan, Menus by Mesa de Vida, that makes busy moms ROCK STARS in the kitchen! You can connect with Kirsten on Twitter (@mesadevida), Facebook (Facebook.com/mesadevida) and YouTube (Youtube.com/mesadevida). Kirsten is the proud mom to 2 crazy kids, 11 & 6 and has a wonderful boyfriend. Kirsten enjoys healthy food, exercising for fun and enjoying fabulous meals and good wine with family and friends. Cheers!