This might sound a little weird when you read the title, but think mozzarella mac and cheese with some spicy chicken.
Even as I am writing this, my mouth is beginning to water.
Because this ranks as one of my favorite meals, second only to buffalo chicken nachos. You can’t go wrong with Mexican-spiced chicken, pasta and tons of cheese.
This meal sort of evolved into the picture you see above from the simple college staples of noodles, frozen vegetables and Parmesan cheese (the saw dust kind).
It wasn’t long before I started adding additional cheese and chicken to the mix. Then, hot sauce. Eventually, I took the veggies out all together and began spicing the chicken and throwing in even more cheese.
By that point, this dish took on the consistency of mac and cheese. The spice blend used for the chicken in this recipe is something that has been featured on this site before. It’s Mike’s all purpose Mexican blend. That was actually created to use in quesadillas.
Somewhere along the line I had the crazy idea to throw the spicy chicken in with the noodles and cheese and POOF! My second favorite meal was born.
This dinner is stupid easy to make. Not easy like Crock Pot chicken, but close. And speaking of chicken, this is one of the few times that I actually recommend using boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
That said, let’s get cookin’. I tend to make this recipe for one, so just double everything you see below. For starters, get a pot of water on to boil.
Next grab the chicken. I find it helps if the chicken is still a little frozen, because it’s easier to slice that way. Cut it into strips.
If you are cooking for one, I would recommend using an 8 inch skillet, 10 inches for two. Here’s why: you need to coat the pan thoroughly with olive oil and using a bigger pan means more olive oil. And that gets expensive. Also, fatty.
So plop the chicken in and get to spicing. Like I said, use my special blend.
Let the chicken simmer in the skillet for a bit. Since you are using olive oil, cook it over medium heat. Once you have at least one side of the chicken bits looking a healthy white color, start to chop them into smaller pieces with your spatula.
You do have a non-plastic spatula, right?
By now your water should be boiling, so throw in the pasta. I like rotini or corkscrews, so use either of those. The beauty of this meal is the chicken can simmer for the entire time your noodles are cooking. Just add olive oil if things start to stick.
It’s OK if you have too much oil in the pan, because all those lovely spices will diffuse their flavors. Why is that good? We’re going to use the oil for a sauce on the dish. Healthy!
Once the noodles are cooked, get a big bowl and mix your chicken, noodles and a large helping (usually about a good fistful) of cheese. Give it a good stir. FYI, the cheese is going to stick to the fork when stirring. Just scrape it off from time to time. Go ahead and eat it. In fact, eat the whole thing! Just make sure to wipe the excess oil off your face.
Makes 1 gigantic serving
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
- olive oil to coat small saucepan
- 1 recipe Mike’s All-Purpose Mexican Spice Blend
- 1/4 box of pasta, any shape (we like the curly, bendy corkscrew kind)
- 1/2 cup Mexican or mozzarella cheese, shredded
In an 8-inch saucepan, add enough oil to coat the bottom and heat over medium heat. Add chicken and spices. Mix well. When chicken is just browned on one side, flip and begin to cut strips into smaller pieces using the sharp edge of your spatula.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Place cooked pasta in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Once chicken is fully cooked, add entire contents of pan to your mixing bowl along with the cheese. Stir thoroughly to combine and enjoy straight from the bowl, in front of the television.
Makes enough to season 4 quesadillas
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. cilantro
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- dash of hot sauce
Combine all ingredients and use in Mexican-inspired dishes to give authentic taste.