Chicken fajita pasta is creamy dreamy comfort food that just doesn’t get much better! This is one of those chicken pasta recipes that gets requested over and over again because it’s just that good. Really tasty chicken recipes are the ones you want to hang on to because, let’s face it, America eats a lot of chicken.
It’s wholesome and cost-effective. So, when you can add succulent chicken to pasta recipes, you end up with a winner, winner chicken dinner!
That’s just what you get with this chicken fajita pasta recipe and you won’t believe how good it is!
Well, I love the unbelievable flavor of this chicken fajita pasta recipe first and foremost! It’ll make your taste buds stand up and pay attention. I also love that it is made with wholesome economical ingredients and it’s served as a casserole.
Those of you who know me know how fond I am of casseroles but there are other reasons to love it too.
- Incredible South of the border flavor
- Wholesome economical ingredients
- Creamy cheesy goodness
- Plenty of nutritious veggies
- Eats like a casserole
Making this chicken fajita casserole doesn’t require any special skills or gadgets. It’s easy to throw together but there are some techniques that will help coax out some intense flavors. Here’s what you do.
Pasta – I like to use egg noodles in this chicken fajita pasta recipe because there’s lots of prime real estate to sop up all that yummy cheese sauce. You should cook your pasta al dente since it’s going into the oven afterward. This helps ensure it doesn’t come out mushy.
Also, don’t forget to salt your pasta water. I typically use 1-2 tablespoons per gallon of water. The pasta will absorb the salty water as it cooks giving your chicken fajita pasta recipe even more flavor.
Chicken – When you cook the chicken tenderloin pieces with the dry rub on them, you’re essentially searing in all the awesome flavors rather than cooking it all the way through. Using a heavy-bottomed skillet will distribute heat more evenly and help prevent burning.
Be careful not to overcrowd your pan, either. You may have to cook more than one batch. Overcrowding prevents heat from circulating properly so the food can’t cook evenly.
Veggies – Sautéing your veggies is vital to your chicken fajita pasta recipe. It helps combat bitterness and brings out their sweeter more mellow flavors. This helps take the dish to the next level creating sweet robust flavors.
Roux – You probably know that the roux is the base for your cheese sauce. It’s important to cook the flour and butter for just a minute so your sauce doesn’t taste like flour. You’ll also want to remove the roux from the heat while you whisk in the milk, stirring constantly until all the lumps are gone.
Queso Sauce – As you transform the roux into queso sauce, you’ll want to continue stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. The sauce will thicken as it bubbles gently, and you can add the remaining ingredients once the desired consistency has been reached.
There you have it! When you combine everything and slide it into the oven all covered in cheese, it’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship filled with robust Tex-Mex flavors.
Your chicken fajita pasta recipe stores best in the fridge in a covered container. It’s best to reserve the USDA recommended 2-hour serving rule and then store any leftovers at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can You Freeze This?
Well, yes and no. Technically you can freeze this chicken fajita pasta recipe for some down-home ready-made comfort food with a kick. However, pasta is notoriously finicky in the freezer and very well may come out like mush.
I typically put the dish together without the pasta and put it directly in the freezer. It sometimes needs a little stirring when it thaws, then I add fresh pasta and toss it in the oven.
Make Ahead Tips
I love to keep a big batch of this chicken fajita recipe in the freezer for those times when I just need to throw something good in the oven. This makes a great meal for up to 6 people and I can divvy up leftovers in single-serve containers for grab-n-go lunches. It’s also an ideal dish for potlucks and friendly get-togethers.
How Long Can You Keep This?
Your chicken fajita pasta recipe will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days, and 3 months in the freezer. This makes it great for meal prep!
There are lots of different ways you can tweak this chicken fajita pasta recipe and make it your own. You can add bacon or try different cheeses, for instance. Toss in some mushrooms if you like. The world is your oyster!
Can I Make This Dish Cheesier?
This chicken fajita pasta recipe is like a creamy cheesy casserole dream. It’s hard to even think about anything else when you’re savoring all the intense flavors. If you want to try a different cheese, you can make chicken parmesan pasta.
Or instead of adding other meats to your chicken fajita pasta you can try making chicken cordon bleu casserole. It-is-magnificent!
Can I Turn This Into Chicken Salad?
This dreamy chicken fajita pasta recipe doesn’t really work well in a salad, but you can make chicken pasta salad instead or even serve a salad on the side. Chicken macaroni salad is a popular guest at potlucks!
Can I Make This Recipe More Asian?
This chicken fajita pasta recipe cures my South of the border craving but sometimes I’m in the mood for a little Asian fair. When that’s the case, I make chicken chow Mein or chicken lo Mein and that does the trick.
Can I Make This Recipe More Italian?
If you’re feeling a little more Italian than Mexican, that’s okay. We can cure that too! Make some Tuscan chicken pasta with a creamy garlic parmesan sauce that is so delicious it reminds you why you love Italian food!
Or you can go with chicken piccata pasta instead. It’s another creamy dreamy wonder! If you want creamy on simpler terms – I get it, really. Just opt for chicken fettuccine instead. It’s a quick simple recipe that is every bit as decadent as the others.
Can I Add Broccoli?
If you don’t mind broccoli in your South of the Border flavors, then go for it. Broccoli isn’t something I typically put in my chicken fajita pasta recipe but hey, we’re all different. Now there are days when I make chicken broccoli pasta for dinner and it’s a family favorite!
Chicken Fajita Pasta
Dry Rub For Chicken:
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano crumbled
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 red bell pepper cut into strips
- 1 green bell pepper cut into strips
- 1 medium yellow onion sliced
- 1 jalapeno deseeded and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 12 ounces egg noodles
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 (15 ounces) can diced tomatoes well-drained
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1-2 Cups Monterey jack cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 X 13 inch baking dish lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and dry the pasta pot.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine all the dry rub ingredients. Add the cubed chicken and toss to evenly coat. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook without stirring, until one side is browned, about 2 minutes. Turn the chicken and brown the other side. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the bell peppers, onion, and jalapeno and cook on medium heat until soft, about 7-10 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and add the garlic and continue to cook 1 minute more. Remove all the cooked veggies to the chicken plate and set aside.
- Add butter to the skillet and melt over medium heat. Whisk in flour and continue to cook for 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat and slowly whisk in milk. Return to medium heat and cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and stir in well-drained tomatoes, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and 2 cups shredded Jack cheese.
- Add drained pasta back to dried pasta pot and combine with sauce. Stir in chicken and veggies and pour into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle remaining 2 cups of shredded Jack cheese over casserole. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and cheese is melted and golden brown
You can never have too many chicken pasta dishes, especially during the cold weather months. Here are some of my favorite chicken pasta dishes that you may want to try.
- Cajun Chicken Pasta – This is a creole creation for the recipe book!
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta – You can’t go wrong with bacon and ranch, really.
- Chicken Riggies – Northern comfort food that comes together quickly.
- Chicken Stroganoff – The original chicken pasta recipe for a one bowl wonder.
- Lemon Chicken Pasta – A new tangy twist on an old classic.
This chicken fajita pasta recipe is a crave-worthy wonder made with wholesome economical ingredients. There are layers upon layers of awesome Mexican flavors to enjoy and they’re all covered with cheesy goodness.
This dish quickly became a family favorite at my house and one of the most requested bring alongs for potlucks. You’ll want to hang on to this recipe!