Chicken Fajita Casserole is a delicious and flavorful Tex-Mex-inspired dish that combines the flavors of chicken fajitas with the convenience of a casserole. It typically includes marinated chicken, colorful bell peppers, onions, cheese, and tortilla chips or tortillas.
Here’s a basic recipe to make Chicken Fajita Casserole:
- 1.5 lbs (about 680g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
- 2 bell peppers (red, green, or a mix), sliced
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican blend, or your choice)
- 1 packet of fajita seasoning mix (or make your own with a mix of chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Tortilla chips or tortillas for serving
- Sliced jalapeños
- Sliced black olives
- Chopped cilantro
- Sour cream
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, and fajita seasoning mix. Add the chicken strips and toss until they are well coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- In a large skillet or pan, cook the marinated chicken over medium-high heat until it’s cooked through and slightly browned. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.
- In the same pan, add a little more oil if needed, and sauté the sliced bell peppers and onions until they are tender and slightly caramelized.
- In a 9×13-inch baking dish, layer the cooked chicken, sautéed peppers, and onions. Sprinkle the shredded cheese evenly over the top.
- Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving.
- Serve the Chicken Fajita Casserole with tortilla chips or tortillas on the side, and offer optional toppings like sliced jalapeños, black olives, chopped cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.
Enjoy your delicious Chicken Fajita Casserole with all the vibrant flavors of fajitas in a convenient and satisfying casserole format!
Calories Count in Chicken Fajita Casserole
The calorie count of a Chicken Fajita Casserole can vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used. However, I can provide you with a rough estimate based on a general recipe.
Please note that the following calorie counts are approximate and can vary depending on the brands and quantities of ingredients used.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1.5 lbs): approximately 750 calories.
- Bell peppers (2 medium-sized): approximately 50 calories.
- Onion (1 large): approximately 60 calories.
- Shredded cheese (2 cups): approximately 800 calories.
- Olive oil (1/4 cup): approximately 480 calories.
- Lime juice (1/4 cup): approximately 15 calories.
- Tortilla chips (for serving, about 1 ounce/28g): approximately 140-150 calories.
- Optional toppings (sour cream, guacamole, salsa, etc.): calories will vary depending on the specific brand and quantity used.
Adding up these estimates, the total calorie count for the casserole (without the tortilla chips or toppings) would be approximately 2,315 calories. Keep in mind that this is just an estimate, and the actual calorie count may vary based on the specific ingredients and quantities used in your recipe.
To get a more accurate calorie count, it’s recommended to input the specific ingredients and quantities you use into a recipe calculator or consult the nutrition labels on the ingredient packages.
Cooking time and tips for Chicken Fajita Casserole
The cooking time for Chicken Fajita Casserole can vary depending on the specific recipe and oven temperature. Here’s a general guideline:
- Marinating time: Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight in the refrigerator. This step enhances the flavor, but it’s not included in the cooking time.
- Cooking the chicken: In a skillet or pan, cook the marinated chicken over medium-high heat until it’s cooked through and slightly browned. This usually takes around 8-10 minutes.
- Sautéing the peppers and onions: In the same pan, sauté the sliced bell peppers and onions until they are tender and slightly caramelized. This typically takes around 5-7 minutes.
- Assembling the casserole: Layer the cooked chicken, sautéed peppers, and onions in a baking dish. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top.
- Baking time: Place the casserole in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Tips for making Chicken Fajita Casserole:
- Marinate the chicken: Marinating the chicken in the fajita seasoning, olive oil, and lime juice adds flavor. For an even more intense flavor, marinate the chicken overnight.
- Sauté the peppers and onions: Sautéing the peppers and onions before adding them to the casserole helps to bring out their sweetness and enhances the overall flavor of the dish.
- Cheese selection: You can use your preferred types of cheese, such as cheddar, Mexican blend, or Monterey Jack, for the casserole. Consider using a combination of cheeses for extra flavor.
- Tortilla chips or tortillas: Serve the casserole with tortilla chips or warm tortillas on the side. You can also crush some tortilla chips and sprinkle them on top of the casserole before baking to add a crunchy texture.
- Toppings: Customize your casserole with toppings like sliced jalapeños, black olives, chopped cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, or salsa. These toppings add freshness and a burst of flavor.
- Recipe variations: Feel free to get creative and add other ingredients to the casserole, such as corn, black beans, or diced tomatoes, to make it even more satisfying.
Remember to adjust the cooking time and temperatures based on your oven and personal preferences. Enjoy your Chicken Fajita Casserole!
Is this a healthy recipe?
The Chicken Fajita Casserole can be a healthy recipe depending on the ingredients and preparation method used. Here are some factors to consider for a healthier version:
- Lean protein: Opt for lean cuts of chicken, such as boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which are lower in fat. Remove any visible fat before cooking.
- Whole ingredients: Use fresh, whole ingredients like bell peppers, onions, and lime juice to add vitamins, minerals, and fiber to the dish.
- Healthy cooking methods: Instead of frying the chicken, cook it on a stovetop using minimal oil or bake it in the oven to reduce added fat.
- Portion control: Pay attention to portion sizes to manage calorie intake. Fill your plate with a moderate serving of the casserole and pair it with a side salad or steamed vegetables for a balanced meal.
- Cheese selection: While cheese adds flavor, it can also be high in saturated fat and calories. Consider using reduced-fat or part-skim cheese options or using less cheese overall to reduce the fat content.
- Toppings: Be mindful of the toppings you choose. While options like salsa, sliced jalapeños, and fresh cilantro can add flavor without many extra calories, sour cream, and guacamole can be higher in fat. Use them in moderation or choose low-fat alternatives.
- Whole grain tortillas or chips: If you prefer to include tortillas or chips, opt for whole grain versions to add more fiber and nutrients to your meal.
Remember that everyone’s nutritional needs and dietary preferences may vary, so it’s a good idea to consult with a registered dietitian or nutritionist if you have specific dietary concerns or restrictions. They can provide personalized advice based on your individual needs.