This Cheesy Crock Pot Southwest Chicken Casserole is too easy to be this good. Plus, it is lower in fat and calories, so it will fit many diet types. But mostly, it is just a great everyday dish that is bursting with flavor.
This takes almost no skill. Just open a few cans and shred a chicken breast. Or you can even skip the shredding by using rotisserie chicken.
We all need a few easy meals we can just make and get a few meals. It is even better if the meal is good for you and tastes great.
Ramblings of An Old Blogger
Sometimes I think I'm back in organic chemistry lab. This recipe started as an experimental beef recipe while my wife was out of town.
The texture and the basic taste was right, but spices were just way too hot. I didn't give the RoTel enough respect. It does add taste but also some heat.
I have almost stopped precooking anything other than ground meat that goes in a crock pot. Even ground meat would be ok in most situations, but there is usually more moisture and fat released than you want. You also sometimes want a Maillard reaction to add flavor.
Pro Tips: Recipe Notes for Crock Pot Southwest Chicken Casserole
Just add a couple of cans, a little spice to uncooked pasta, and chicken breasts. Shred the chicken and add some cheese late in the cooking. You are rewarded for your laziness with cheesy, tasty goodness.
You want about 2-3 cups of shredded chicken. It is a casserole, so you can vary that for your tastes and what you happen to have.
I suggest two skinless boneless chicken breasts. They can go into the dish raw and be shredded near the end of cooking.
You could use previously cooked chicken like a rotisserie chicken. You do not want that already cooked chicken cooking for the 4 hours. Add it near the end with the cheese.
The Tomato and Spices
As written, the heat is about 3-4 out of 10. Maybe a little too spicy for little ones.
Most of the heat comes from the Rotel. You may use a can of drained diced tomatoes to replace it. That will leave the dish a bit bland so a small can of diced mild chilies and increase the other spices a bit.
Other Tex-Mex Casseroles
Trim two skinless boneless chicken breast of any visible fat.
Add one 14 oz can tomato sauce, 14 oz can black beans rinsed, 10.5 oz can of RoTel, one teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1 cup dry pasta (uncooked) to a smaller crock pot. Here I use my 3.5 qt pot. Mix well.
Add two trimmed skinless boneless chicken breasts. Push down into the liquid until covered.
Cook on low for 4 hours total. At 3 hours into the cooking, remove the chicken and shred.
Add chicken back along with 3/4 cup shredded cheese of your choice. Mix well then top with 1/4 cup of the cheese.
Cook for the final hour.
Crock Pot Southwest Chicken Casserole
- 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
- 14 oz tomato sauce
- 14 oz black beans - low sodium, rinsed
- 10 oz RoTel
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup dry pasta
- 1 cup shredded cheese - like Cheddar or a Mexican blend
- Trim two skinless boneless chicken breast of any visible fat.
- Add one 14 oz can tomato sauce, 14 oz can low sodium black beans rinsed, 10.5 oz can of RoTel, one teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1 cup dry pasta (uncooked) to a smaller crock pot. Here I use my 3.5 qt pot. Mix well.
- Add two trimmed skinless boneless chicken breast. Push down into the liquid until covered.
- Cook on low for 4 hours total. At 3 hours into the cooking, remove the chicken and shred.
- Add chicken back along with 3/4 cup shredded cheese of your choice. Mix well then top with 1/4 cup of the cheese.
- Cook for the final hour.
- While this is a smaller crock pot recipe (3-3.5 qt), it will be fine in a larger crock pot.
- You need about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of shredded chicken. You can use pre-cooked chicken if you want but the pasta will still take about 4 hours on low. Add the precooked chicken the last hour of cooking, not at the beginning.
- Dry pasta in crock pot dishes is generally standard American dry pasta. Whole wheat pasta has less gluten and is more likely to turn to mush. Gluten-free even more so. So if you use a non-standard pasta, the results may not be good. Also, since crock pots vary, the cooking time of the pasta may vary some, so check it a few times.
- I use the Rotel for both some tomato and spicing. It provides most of the heat. If you don't want that, use a drained can of diced tomatoes. Be sure to drain. You probably will want to up the other spices a bit and consider a small can of chopped mild chilies.
- This is already low-fat and low calorie. You can skip the cheese if you want even lower numbers but you want the cheese.
- Good refrigerated for 3-4 days and can be frozen for 3-4 months.
ADJUST THE RECIPE SIZE:You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
Nutrition is generally for one serving. Number of servings is stated above and is my estimate of normal serving size for this recipe.
All nutritional information are estimates and may vary from your actual results. This is home cooking, and there are many variables. To taste ingredients such as salt will be my estimate of the average used.
Originally published November 23, 2014. Updated with expanded options and discussion along with refreshed photos.