Cheese lovers will love the combination of queso dip and cheddar cheeses in this easy to make casserole. Leftover chicken is perfect for this dish. Together with some pasta and fresh broccoli you’ve got a delicious meal. More importantly, the queso dip brings the zing to the table in this Cheesy Chicken Casserole.
This is a go-to kind of recipe, mostly because it’s so versatile. You can make it exactly as the recipe says, or you can change some things based on what’s in your pantry. I used the small shells for my pasta, because that was all I had that day, but other pastas work great, too. For example, spaghetti noodles, penne, or fusilli (corkscrew pasta). Also, use shredded Mexican cheese, or Jack/Cheddar if you prefer that to the Sharp Cheddar I used. Vary the heat as well; make the queso dip mild or as hot as you want.
Let’s get started
Preheat your oven to 350° and chop your broccoli into bite-size florets. Get out a large stock pot for the pasta and cook in generously salted boiling water until it is al dente. One minute before your pasta is done, however, add the broccoli to the water. Drain them both together and set them aside. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat and saute the onions for about 3 minutes. Add in the minced garlic cloves and continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. This part always smells delicious to me.
Making the Cheesy Chicken Casserole sauce
Next, sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir until everything is combined nicely together. Add the queso dip, chicken broth, and diced tomatoes with green chilies…salt and pepper. Once this begins to gently boil, add 1 cup of the shredded cheese, stirring until melted, then turn off the heat. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
Putting it all together
Combine the cooked chicken, cooked pasta and broccoli in your prepared dish and pour the saucy onion mixture over the top. Stir to where everything has been evenly coated. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Finally, sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes.
The broccoli is perfectly cooked, tender, but not soggy. The chicken is moist and flavorful covered in that creamy queso cheese, which is where the zing comes from. Yummy zing! The pasta, depending on what shape you use, holds the cheese and sometimes a diced tomato, and cooked onions are just delicious. The blended combination of these bold flavors makes Cheesy Chicken Casserole a wonderful family favorite.
Cheesy Chicken Casserole
- 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped to bite size
- 8 oz. uncooked pasta (like small shells or penne)
- 1 large head broccoli, chopped into bite size florets
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1 cup Queso dip (found near tortilla chips)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 10 oz. diced tomatoes with green chilies
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- Preheat oven to 350°. Chop cooked chicken and set aside.
- Cook pasta in large stock pot per directions on box until al dente. One minute before pasta is done, however, add broccoli to pasta water. Drain both and set aside.
- In saute pan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for approx. 3 minutes, stir. Add garlic for another 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Sprinkle flour over onions and stir until combined. Add queso, broth, tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to gentle boil. Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese, stir until melted. Remove from heat.
- Spray bottom of 13 x 9 baking dish. Combine chicken with pasta and broccoli in the baking dish and pour saucy onion mixture evenly over top. Gently stir so that everything is evenly coated.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining cup of cheddar cheese over top. Continue baking for 10 minutes uncovered. Enjoy!
Looking for other casseroles? Try this seriously delicious Chicken Chilaquiles Casserole or the breakfast Bacon Hash Brown Casserole. Dessert time…life is short, right? I’m hoping you’ll love this No Bake Lemon Blueberry Dessert or some Chewy Gooey Walnut Brownies.
I sincerely hope you find a recipe you love here on Sweet Ordeal. Most of all, I hope you have a blessed day and thanks for stopping by.
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