Healthy Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole
A healthier version of Mexican Chicken Casserole. This dish is packed with veggies and lean protein, covered in a delicious enchilada sauce. Garnish with some queso fresco and cilantro for a perfect Mexican dinner!
Servings 4 people
- 1 cup par-boiled (minute) white or brown rice This recipe is written for par-boiled rice!! standard dry rice will not cook the same!! (tested with Uncle Ben's White Parboiled Rice, and Minute Brown Rice)
- 1 T cilantro, chopped
- 2 fresh, boneless skinless chicken breast, cut in half lengthwise giving you 4 thin chicken breasts
- season chicken with: chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper
- 1 10 oz can red enchilada sauce divided
- 1 cup **chicken broth (optional, can use water instead)
- 1 cup fresh bell pepper, diced any color
- 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved about 15-20
- 1 cup (heaping) fresh zucchini, 1/2-1 inch dice
- 4 green onions, white and light green parts chopped
- 1/2 small jalapeno, diced **optional can use more if you like the heat!
- Queso Fresco crumbled
- 1 T Olive Oil
- zest of 1 lime
- 2 T fresh lime juice (1-2 limes depending on size)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- lime wedges, extra cilantro, guacamole, or fresh diced avocado
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
In a large bowl mix together the peppers, beans, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, green onions, and jalapenos. Set aside.
Whisk together all the ingredients for the lime vinaigrette and pour over the veggie mixture. Set aside.
In a 9x13 glass baking dish pour the par-boiled dry rice evenly over the bottom, sprinkle with the chopped cilantro. Lay the seasoned chicken breasts over the rice. Mix 1 cup of the red enchilada sauce with 1 cup chicken broth (or water). Pour that around the chicken into the rice, then shake the pan or shimmy the chicken a little to get the liquid to all the rice.
Pour the seasoned veggie mixture over the top of the chicken and pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the veggies. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.((NOTE: YOU MUST cover the pan with foil or your rice will not cook through!! This step is not optional)) Remove the foil and bake for additional time- 10 minutes if using white rice or an additional 15 minutes if using brown rice, until the liquid is absorbed into the rice and the chicken is cooked through and reaches 165 degree internal temp. Let the casserole sit for 10 minutes before serving. Crumble Queso Fresco over the top of the chicken and veggies.Serve this Healthy Mexican Casserole garnished with cilantro, lime wedges, or guacamole!