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Mexican Pasta Casserole



  • 1 pound rigatoni, ziti or other medium pasta shape, uncooked
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 8 ounces cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, julienned
  • 1/4 cup ripe olives
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated Monterey jack cheese, queso quesadilla or Havarti with jalapeno pepper cheese, divided


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the chili powder and stir for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and liquid, cumin and oregano. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
  5. When pasta is done, drain well. In a bowl, combine pasta, chicken, olives, 3/4 cup of cheese, and sauce. Spoon into a 2-quart baking dish lightly sprayed with vegetable oil. Sprinkle the reserved cheese on top.
  6. Cover loosely with foil and bake until warmed through and the cheese melts, about 15 minutes.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


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