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5 from 2 votes

Cheesy Southwestern Chicken Pasta

Cheesy Southwestern Chicken Pasta - the name for this amazing one-dish wonder says it all! Imagine the marriage of succulent chicken in a creamy southwestern sauce with tender pasta topped with ooey gooey cheese. It doesn't get much better than this.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Cinco de Mayo, Mexican
Servings: 8 servings15
Calories: 387kcal
Author: Chula King


  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 medium onion)
  • ½ cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, chopped (See Tip 1)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 10 ounce can Rotel Original diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 8 ounces dried penne, cooked al dente according to package directions (See Tip 2)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese (See Tip 3)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese


  • Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and bell peppers. Sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add chicken, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of flour on chicken mixture; stir to combine. Cook 2 minutes. Add milk and Rotel tomatoes. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until thickened. Add corn and cooked pasta. Stir to combine.
  • Spray 2-½ quart casserole dish with non-stick spray. Transfer chicken/pasta mixture to casserole dish. Cover with aluminum foil. May be prepared in advance up to this point.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake chicken/pasta casserole, covered for 20 to 25 minutes. (See Tip 4)
  • Remove from oven; remove aluminum foil. Sprinkle top with cheeses. Return to oven for 15 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
  • Yield: 8 servings. (See Tip 5)



  1. I like to use a combination of green and red bell peppers because of the color. However, you could use 1 cup of chopped green bell pepper instead.
  2. I used Penne pasta in this dish, but you could use any pasta of your choice such as rotini, ziti, etc.
  3. Feel free to use regular Cheddar cheese or sharp Cheddar cheese in place of the extra sharp Cheddar cheese. 
  4. If you prepare this dish in advance and refrigerate it, cook covered for 25 minutes. If you cook it immediately, reduce the time to 20 minutes.
  5. This makes excellent leftovers. Reheat in the microwave for several minutes, or in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.


Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 456mg | Potassium: 563mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 951IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 287mg | Iron: 2mg