Bring the vibrant flavors of Tex-Mex to your table with this irresistible chicken and rice casserole – a delicious medley of tender chicken, perfectly cooked rice, and a savory blend of spices, topped with melted cheese.
It’s casserole time! And today I’m serving it up Tex-Mex style!
This healthy Tex-Mex chicken and rice casserole is a fun and tasty meal for any day of the week. You’ll Season the rice with an array of spices (basil, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper) before tossing it with chicken, colorful bell peppers, and tomatoes in a casserole dish.
Then pop it in the oven for twenty minutes before serving warm with fresh grated aged cheddar cheese.
Easy weeknight dinner
There’s something about Tex-Mex dinners that always feel like a party to me. Maybe because these dinners are perfect for serving family style. Doesn’t it feel like a party when you can sit down and enjoy a meal with your entire family and celebrate the little things in life?
And here in New York there’s plenty to celebrate this week as spring seems like it has finally arrived. At last the weather is reaching the 70s.
It snowed earlier this month so this is definitely a pleasant change — soon it will be time to start planting the vegetable garden. I can’t wait.
What are you celebrating this week?
So let’s get this party started!
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- Chicken breasts are cut into bite size pieces.
- Bell peppers are diced into similar sizes to the tomatoes so they cook evenly.
- Rice absorbs all the flavorful liquids, complementing the savory flavors of the chicken and other ingredients, and serves as a tasty filling, resulting in a well-balanced and satisfying meal. I use Lundberg family farms rice.
The remaining ingredients are:
- Salt to season the chicken.
- Chicken broth to cook the chicken (1 cup), and to cook the rice (3 cups).
- Butter adds rich flavor to the rice.
- Extra-virgin olive oil to sauté the onions.
- Onion diced and sautéed to bring out the sweetness.
- Tomatoes are seeded and diced for a burst of fresh and juicy flavor, as well as adding vibrant color to our dish.
- Spices include basil, chili powder, cumin, and pepper.
- And grated cheddar cheese to top the finished casserole.
*Free printable recipe card is available at the end of the post.
First, let’s talk about the rice. I recommend using Lundberg basmati rice. I love Lundberg because of their eco-positive farming methods.
And here’s a special rice cooking tip: Substitute chicken broth for the suggested amount of water on the rice instructions. You’ll love the extra flavor.
And stir in sautéed onions and seasonings when the rice is done.
Meanwhile cut up the chicken into bite size pieces and season with salt. Then simmer it in chicken broth for just 10 minutes.
Combine the chicken and rice together in your baking dish. Next stir in diced fresh tomatoes and a combination of freshly chopped red, yellow, and green bell peppers. This adds such a wonderful burst of colors.
Now you’re ready to pop the casserole dish in the oven for just 20 minutes. When it’s ready, sprinkle grated aged cheddar cheese on top.
Now for the most important step: dig in. 😉
What goes with this casserole?
I love the versatility of this casserole; it can be enjoyed in various ways such as stuffing it in Arepas, filling corn tacos, rolling it up in a gluten-free tortilla, or just tossing it in a bowl with a slice of lime on top.
But the fun doesn’t have to stop there. It can be piled high with your favorite toppings: guacamole, homemade paleo salsa, sour cream, and even chili peppers if you like a little heat.
Pro tips and recipe notes
Can I use pre-cooked chicken in the casserole? Yes, if you have leftover chicken in the fridge or rotisserie chicken just cut it up into bite-size pieces for a time-saving option.
What type of rice is best for chicken and rice casserole? Long-grain rice, such as basmati or jasmine, works well in chicken and rice casserole recipes. Brown rice will work, but typically requires more time and liquid.
What are some variations of chicken and rice casserole? Variations include adding your preferred vegetables, trying different cheeses, or using other spices to customize the flavor.
Can I make chicken and rice casserole ahead of time? Yes, assemble the casserole and refrigerate it before baking. Adjust the baking time as needed.
How do I store chicken and rice casserole leftovers? Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Can I freeze chicken and rice casserole? Yes, you can freeze chicken and rice casserole for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
So what kind of toppings would you add? And remember to let me know what you’re celebrating. 🙂
Enjoy! Have a happy and healthy week!
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Healthy Tex-Mex Chicken And Rice Casserole
- 2 cups rice follow package instructions for 8-9 servings
- 4 cups gluten free chicken broth divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 pounds chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1/2 cup onion diced
- 2 tomatoes seeded and chopped
- 1 pound of bell peppers chopped
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup aged cheddar cheese grated
- Cook rice:Combine rice, 3 cups of the chicken broth and butter in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat with the lid on and let the rice steam for 10 more minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.2 cups rice, 2 tablespoons butter
- Cook Chicken:While the rice is cooking, heat the remaining 1 cup of the chicken broth in a pot. Season bite size pieces of chicken with salt. Simmer in chicken stock for ten minutes.2 pounds chicken breast, salt to taste
- Remove chicken with a slotted spoon to a dish and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425℉
- Saute onion: Add oil to a skillet. Sauté onion until tender, about 4-5 minutes.1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup onion
- Combine: Stir onion into cooked rice.
- Season rice mixture with basil, chili powder, cumin, and pepper. Stir.1 teaspoon basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, 1/8 teaspoon cumin, 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- Transfer rice mixture to your baking dish.
- Stir in cooked chicken, bell peppers, and tomatoes.1 pound of bell peppers, 2 tomatoes
- Bake: Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
- Top with grated cheddar cheese.1 cup aged cheddar cheese
- Serve with gluten free salsa.
- Can I use pre-cooked chicken in the casserole? Yes, if you have leftover chicken in the fridge or rotisserie chicken just cut it up into bite-size pieces for a time-saving option. What type of rice is best for chicken and rice casserole? Long-grain rice, such as basmati or jasmine, works well in chicken and rice casserole recipes. Brown rice will work, but typically requires more time and liquid. What are some variations of chicken and rice casserole? Variations include adding your preferred vegetables, trying different cheeses, or using other spices to customize the flavor. Can I make chicken and rice casserole ahead of time? Yes, assemble the casserole and refrigerate it before baking. Adjust the baking time as needed. How do I store chicken and rice casserole leftovers? Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Can I freeze chicken and rice casserole? Yes, you can freeze chicken and rice casserole for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
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