Sometimes I have ideas that at first thought seem awesome, but then… they end up not being so great. Like that time I bleached my hair in high school aaaand then it turned the color of a rusty nail. Or that time I slipped an extra “1″ into my doctor’s note in high school, so I could leave at 11:30 instead of 1:30, but got caught and sentenced to my first-ever detention.
Also, any fashion decision I made before the age of
And any time I drank whatever juice was sludging around inside an unmarked Igloo cooler at a frat party in college.
Oh and the time I impulsively bought that Ford Tempo which I’m pretty sure was just a maroon deathtrap on wheels.
But sometimes… sometimes these ideas turn out to be kind of fantastic. Such was the case here. I had a hankering for enchiladas (which is accurate 5 out of 7 days a week) but no tortillas. What I did have was penne pasta and the will to create. So with wide eyes and high hopes, a dream was born.
So much better than the random party cooler juice.
Chicken Enchilada Pasta
Total Cook Time: About 45 minutes
2 cups uncooked whole wheat penne pasta
1 T olive oil
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast meat
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
4oz can fire-roasted, diced green chiles
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1-2 tsp. crushed red pepper
8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/4 cup fat free greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1 tsp. cumin
1 T Mexican oregano
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1 cup garden salsa
1/3 + 1/2 cup reduced fat shredded Mexican blend cheese
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Prepare pasta according to directions and set aside. In a large pot, heat oil over med-high and sautee peppers, onions, chiles, crushed red pepper, cumin, paprika and oregano for about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 3o seconds. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream cheese and salsa, along with 1/3 cup shredded cheese. Stir in chicken and cooked pasta. Mix in greek yogurt to help combine. Pour mixture into a coated baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese and then panko breadcrumbs. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling.
I have to say, my ego was a little inflated after this turned out so well. Maybe I should follow my gut more often?