One great thing about casseroles is that it is usually super easy to change the flavors of the dish around to suit your mood without changing most of the ingredients. You can switch from Italian to Mexican to Chinese flavors by changing a sauce and a few herbs and spices but the meats, pastas or rice, and vegetables remain the same.
That was the case when I came up with this casserole for last night's dinner. I was planning on an Italian casserole --meat, pasta, red sauce - but neither of my kids were in the mood for it. That's when I decided to change it up a bit and make it a taco casserole. Just a few additions to the red sauce was all that was needed. My husband dubbed it one of his favorite lunches for work - he wasn't really awake to take it all in for dinner. Such is the life of a 3rd shifter. My daughter is back on her "I HATE tomatoes" kick so it was only after she picked out all of the tomatoes from the salsa, did she eat some of the chicken and pasta. My son gave it two thumbs up.
Taco Chicken & Pasta Casserole
1 lb of pasta (your favorite shape), cooked Al dente and drained
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 of large can of water
12 oz salsa - I used med. temp
1 packet taco seasoning
1 tsp Mexican chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
2 C. cooked, chopped chicken
shredded cheddar cheese
Cook pasta to al dente. Drain well and set aside.
In a medium-sized pot, stir together tomatoes, water, salsa, taco seasoning, chili powder, cumin and onion powder. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir in cooked chicken and cook for another 10 minutes.
Add pasta to a 9 x 13 baking dish. Pour sauce over pasta and stir to coat. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
Bake at 350* for 15 -20 minutes or until cheese has completely melted.
For dessert, we had Crockpot Blueberry Grunt. If you like dumplings and fruit, you really should try this dessert. It is so good and you don't have to slave over it all day to make it.