HomeDinnerMexican Chicken and Rice Bake Recipe

Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake Recipe

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Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake Recipe

Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake is a delicious and comforting dish that combines the flavors of Mexican cuisine into a simple, one-pan meal. This casserole is perfect for busy weeknights or a family gathering. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to create this flavorful and hearty meal from scratch.

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1. Introduction to Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake

Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake is a hearty and flavorful dish that brings together tender chicken, fluffy rice, and vibrant vegetables, all seasoned with a blend of spices that capture the essence of Mexican cuisine. Topped with melted cheese and baked to perfection, this casserole is a crowd-pleaser that’s easy to make and perfect for any occasion.

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2. Ingredients Needed

To prepare Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake, you will need the following ingredients:

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Chicken and Marinade Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Rice and Vegetable Components

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice (or brown rice)
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh, canned, or frozen)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Toppings and Garnishes

  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Sliced avocado
  • Lime wedges
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa

3. Preparing the Ingredients

Marinating the Chicken

In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, minced garlic, ground cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well to create the marinade. Add the chicken breasts to the bowl, ensuring they are fully coated with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours for best results.

Cooking the Rice

Cook the rice according to the package instructions, using chicken broth instead of water for added flavor. Once cooked, fluff the rice with a fork and set it aside.

4. Making the Mexican Chicken and Rice Mixture

Sautéing the Vegetables

In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onions and bell peppers to the skillet and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until they are tender. Add the corn and black beans, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Stir in the can of diced tomatoes with green chilies and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes to combine the flavors.

Combining the Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables

Remove the chicken from the marinade and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken to the skillet with the vegetable mixture and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the cooked rice and mix well to combine all the ingredients.

5. Assembling the Casserole

Layering the Ingredients

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Spread the chicken and rice mixture evenly in the baking dish. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top of the mixture, covering it evenly.

Adding the Cheese

Ensure the cheese is spread evenly to cover the entire surface of the casserole. This will create a delicious, melted cheese layer that adds richness to the dish.

6. Baking the Casserole

Preheating the Oven

Ensure your oven is preheated to 375°F (190°C) to guarantee even cooking and a perfectly baked casserole.

Baking Time and Temperature

Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the casserole is heated through. If you prefer a slightly crispy top, you can broil the casserole for an additional 2-3 minutes, keeping a close eye to prevent burning.

7. Serving Suggestions

Pairing with Sides

Serve the Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake with a side of fresh green salad, tortilla chips, or a bowl of guacamole. Mexican street corn or a side of refried beans also pair wonderfully with this dish.

Presentation Tips

For a beautiful presentation, garnish the casserole with freshly chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, and lime wedges. Serve with extra sour cream and salsa on the side for added flavor.

8. Variations and Customizations

Using Different Proteins

This recipe is versatile and can be made with other proteins such as shrimp, beef, or pork. Adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure each protein is properly cooked.

Adjusting the Spice Level

To make the casserole spicier, add diced jalapeños to the vegetable mixture or use a spicier variety of diced tomatoes with green chilies. For a milder version, reduce the amount of chili powder and cumin in the marinade.

Making it Vegetarian

For a vegetarian option, omit the chicken and add more vegetables such as zucchini, mushrooms, or spinach. You can also use tofu or a plant-based meat substitute.

9. Tips for Success

Ensuring Even Cooking

Cut the chicken into uniform bite-sized pieces to ensure even cooking. This will prevent some pieces from being overcooked while others are undercooked.

Keeping the Chicken Juicy

Avoid overcooking the chicken by removing it from the heat as soon as it is cooked through. Letting the chicken rest for a few minutes before cutting will also help retain its juices.

Storing Leftovers

Store any leftover casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or oven until warmed through. Leftovers can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

10. Health Benefits of Ingredients Used

This recipe includes several nutritious ingredients. Chicken is a great source of lean protein, while bell peppers and tomatoes provide vitamins and antioxidants. Black beans are high in fiber and protein, and fresh vegetables add essential nutrients. Using brown rice instead of white rice can increase the fiber content and add more nutrients.

11. Conclusion

Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake is a delicious and satisfying dish that’s perfect for any occasion. The combination of tender chicken, flavorful rice, and vibrant vegetables, all topped with melted cheese, creates a comforting and hearty meal that everyone will love. Follow the steps and tips provided in this article to create a delicious and satisfying dish that will become a family favorite.

12. FAQs

1. Can I use brown rice instead of white rice? Yes, you can use brown rice instead of white rice. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time according to the package instructions, as brown rice typically takes longer to cook.

2. How long should I marinate the chicken? For the best flavor, marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours. However, if you’re short on time, even 15 minutes can impart some flavor.

3. Can I make the casserole ahead of time? Yes, you can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking. Add the shredded cheese just before baking.

4. What can I serve with Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake? This casserole pairs well with a fresh green salad, tortilla chips, guacamole, Mexican street corn, or refried beans.

5. How do I store and reheat leftovers? Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven until warmed through. You can also freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.

Enjoy your flavorful and hearty Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake!

Source: 40aprons.com

Yield: 8

Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake Recipe

Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake Recipe

Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake is a delicious and comforting dish that combines the flavors of Mexican cuisine into a simple, one-pan meal. This casserole is perfect for busy weeknights or a family gathering. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to create this flavorful and hearty meal from scratch.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the Chicken
  • 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 2 large chicken breasts sliced into cutlets; approximately 2-3 pounds total
  • salt to taste
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • For the Rice & Bean Layer
  • 2 cups cooked rice white or brown
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans drained, well-rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels see Notes
  • ½ teaspoon salt more or less to taste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 16-ounce jar salsa any flavor, any brand; 2 cups, divided
  • 2 cups freshly shredded cheddar cheese
  • To Serve (All Optional)
  • sour cream
  • crema or queso
  • chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Lightly spray casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.

  • Lay chicken breasts on cutting board. Season with plenty of salt and black pepper, then sprinkle ½ tablespoon taco seasoning over chicken. Flip chicken breasts over and repeat on other side. Set aside.

  • Add cooked rice, black beans, corn kernels, garlic powder, 1 ½ cups salsa, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to greased casserole dish. Stir well to thoroughly combine all ingredients, then spread mixture out to all edges of casserole dish in one flat, even layer.

  • Place seasoned chicken breasts on top of rice mixture in casserole dish. Cover chicken with remaining ½ cup salsa.

  • Place casserole dish in preheated oven. Bake uncovered 30 to 35 minutes or until chicken is just cooked-through. Cook time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts. Instant read thermometer should read 158° Fahrenheit.

  • Remove casserole dish from oven. Sprinkle shredded cheese over top of chicken, then return casserole dish to oven. Bake uncovered 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.

  • Remove casserole dish from oven. Divide chicken breasts and rice mixture into servings and top with desired toppings. Serve warm.

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