Southwest Chicken Skillet Dinner

How did I know this recipe was a big hit with my family?  I thought I would have tons of leftovers since it makes a very large quantity.  However, they went back the next day for lunch and were looking for more again in the evening!  You have to understand that my crew are not big on leftovers, so when they go digging through the fridge a second and third time, I know it must be good!

The beginning of this recipe is much like a homemade version of Rice a Roni.  You can use straight rice in it, but I liked the different texture of mixing rice with Orzo.  Don’t skip the first step of browning the rice/pasta.  That extra browning of the butter gives a nice texture and flavor.  I am a little vague on my spices.  That’s because I usually start a recipe with something in mind, but will often add a little more spice here and there.  If you aren’t a big fan of spice, cut it down.  If you like more, that works too.  Just know that even though you add quite a lot to the chicken, this will add flavor to the whole recipe in the end when the rice and veggies are added.  Don’t skimp.  It really adds great southwest flavor!

Next time, I may add part of the cheese straight into the mixture and some on top. This first time, I just added it all over the top and put under the broiler for a few minutes.  I think either way would work just fine.

Not that I had anything to experiment with, but this mixture would be great wrapped up in a tortilla, too!  Just be sure to have plenty of leftovers!  I know that I will next time!

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For the Rice:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 cup short grained pasta (I used Orzo)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • Juice of one lime
For the Chicken
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1-1/2 (or more)tablespoons chili powder
  • 1-1/2 (or more) teaspoons cumin
  • 1-1/2 (or more)teaspoons paprika
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups bell peppers (about 3 bell peppers), finely diced
  • 2 cups corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles, drained
  • 3+ cups cheddar cheese, shredded (I like sharp cheddar)


In a large skillet, combine rice, pasta and butter.

Sauté over medium heat until golden brown, stirring frequently

Slowly stir in chicken broth and salt; bring to a boil.

Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 15  minutes or until tender.

Remove from heat,add lime juice and keep covered.

Meanwhile, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

In a bowl, mix chicken pieces with chili powder, cumin and paprika.

In a very large oven proof skillet or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add the chicken in a single layer and cook for 5 minutes, until golden brown, flipping once halfway through. Remove to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, increase the heat to high, and add the onions, bell peppers and corn. Cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are slightly blackened.

Decrease heat to low, add garlic, and stir until combined and fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the drained black beans, Rotel tomatoes, rice, and chicken.

Stir all to combine.

Cover with cheddar cheese.

Place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, just until the top is melted and bubbly. (Careful not to burn!)

Garnish with extra chopped cilantro, fresh tomatoes, and sour cream.