Tuesday, October 18, 2016

King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese - Revisiting Comfort Food

When last we met, my house was overrun with painters. Furniture, boxes and everything else had been moved to the middle of each room and life was, generally, in chaos.

Well, the painters are gone, leaving all the trim in the house looking shiny and new. Of course, the entire house still smells like oil-based paint, so, in an effort to overcome those odors, I've done a little bit of baking. Brownies came first. You can find that recipe here. Then some good old chocolate chip cookies. But for dinner, I wanted some real comfort food. Something that smelled yummy.

So , as I stared at the leftover chicken in my fridge, I remembered this delicious King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese casserole that I shared a good while back. I absolutely love this dish and since I had everything on hand, it's what I fixed.

So here's what you're gonna need:
  • 8 oz elbow macaroni (the boxes are usually 16 oz, so half a box)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes and green chilies (aka Rotel)
  • 1 - 8 oz pkg. pasteurized prepared cheese product, cubed (Velveeta, y'all)
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
First, we want to preheat our oven to 350 degrees. G'head. I'll wait while you do it.

Now, cook your pasta according to the package directions for al dente.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper, and saute 5 minutes or until tender.
Stir in your tomatoes and green chilies and Velveeta.
And cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts.
Now, stir in your chicken, the soup, sour cream, chili powder, and cumin.
Obviously, I need to keep stirring. 
Then we'll add in our pasta and stir until blended.
This is smelling SOOOO yummy.
Spoon mixture into a lightly greased oblong baking dish or cast iron skillet and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly.

And serve. 
 This pleased me on so many levels. It made the house smell good, my taste buds were happy and all that combined put me in a better mood. Even if most of the rooms still have stuff shoved to the middle. The carpet guys can take care of that next week, right?

Mindy Obenhaus lives in Texas with her husband and kids. She's passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com.


  1. Mind-O, this is such a marvelous recipe!!!! How can I not just dive right through this screen and mangia!!!

    I have to try this and see what Farmer Dave thinks. I bet he'd love it to pieces, Mindy! Adding to my fall list of recipes to prepare for!

    1. Ruthy, it's a mixture of so many good things, that you just can't go wrong.

  2. Hmmm...something about autumn screams mac and cheese, doesn't it? So -- wondering if I could sub the cream of chicken soup for cream of mushroom or cream of cheddar? And obviously leave out the chicken.

    Right now we have humid summer temps again...weirdest fall ever. Half my perennials are blooming again and I don't know if I should still cut them back because we all know the snow will come eventually.

    1. Kav, we're going to be in the upper 80's again this week. Very strange.

    2. Kav, mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food in my book. So yes, autumn, winter, whenever.

      I think a substitution would be fine. The cheddar cheese soup might make it even cheesier and that's never a bad thing. That's what my daughter uses in her mac n cheese recipe. Just don't ruin a good mac n cheese by adding tofu. I might have to cross the border and track you down if you do. ;)

      Ugh! Summer is still dragging on here, too. 92 yesterday, 91 today. We're supposed to be down into the 70s Thursday, though, and I am so looking forward to it.

  3. Mindy, I'll have you know you've created a monster. I'm now wanting to put green chilis in everything! LOL This is the perfect recipe to add them to. :) Thank you for expanding my palette!

    1. Finally! Someone who's not afraid of green chilies. Yay, Missy. And they're not hot, are they? Just flavorful. Although, you can find hot varieties on occasion.

      I know when Hatch chilies are in season, a lot of the supermarkets around here will carry them. One even makes such a big deal that they roast them right there in the store. I'll sometimes buy a package and then split that into smaller packages to keep in the freezer.

      If you like green chilies and mac n cheese, you'll definitely love this one, Missy.

    2. I've discovered green hatch chilis at Moe's. Love that sauce even though it's pretty spicy.

  4. This has become one of my go-to recipes for carry-in dinners! I printed it off the last time you shared it, and it's in the rotation. :)

    Everyone loves it, and it always disappears. That's the sign of a fabulous recipe, right?

    1. Sure is, Jan. I know it made me very happy. ;)

  5. Saw Jan's post about this on facebook. Wow, This is definitely comfort food. smile