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Mexican Chicken Orzo Bake

Saturday - June 2, 2018 11:18 am , Category : RECIPES

Ingredient:

1/2 lb uncooked orzo or rosamarina pasta (1 1/3 cups)
1/2 cup Progresso™ chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
2 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp butter
1 cup diced white onion
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen™ organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 package (1 oz) Old El Paso™ original taco seasoning mix
1 package (20 oz) boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)
3/4 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese (purchase later if freezing orzo bake for a later date)
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves (purchase later if freezing orzo bake for a later date)

Method:
Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In 4-quart saucepan, heat 2 quarts water to boiling over high heat. Add pasta; reduce heat to simmering. Cook 4 minutes; drain. Return to saucepan; stir in broth and chili powder. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeño chile and salt; cook 6 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are soft and beginning to brown on edges. Add tomatoes; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture thickens. Stir into saucepan with pasta mixture; pour into baking dish.
medium bowl, mix vegetable oil and taco seasoning mix; add chicken thighs, and toss to coat. Place chicken on top of pasta mixture in dish; cover tightly with foil. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until chicken reaches 165°F when instant-read thermometer is inserted into center of thigh, OR freeze and bake later as directed in step 5. Let stand 5 minutes. Top with queso fresco and cilantro.

If making ahead to bake and serve at a later date: Li3x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with 2 layers of plastic wrap, leaving enough overhang to completely enclose assembled casserole. Spread pasta mixture in large shallow pan; cool mixture completely, covered, 30 to 45 minutes in refrigerator before assembling casserole. Assemble casserole in dish; cover with another layer of plastic wrap. Freeze unbaked casserole about 8 hours or until completely frozen. Transfer frozen casserole to labeled 2-gallon resealable freezer plastic bag. Remove air; seal and freeze up to three months. To bake: Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Remove plastic wrap from casserole; place in baking dish. Cover tightly with foil; thaw completely in refrigerator, 24 to 48 hours. Heat oven to 375°F. Bake, covered, 55 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes or until hot and bubbly on edges (165°F in center). Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Top with queso fresco and cilantro.
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