Southwestern Style Chicken

by Lana Stuart on February 12, 2013 · 12 comments

Southwestern Style Chicken from @NevrEnoughThyme

When I did a post last week marking the fourth anniversary of Never Enough Thyme, I asked if people would comment and tell me what they’d like to see more of here on the blog. Some of the most frequent responses were “quick and easy” and “kid friendly.”

I just want you to know that I heard you! Loud and clear.

Now, I’m not promising that all I’ll post going forward are quick and easy family recipes. You know how I like to try out new things in the kitchen. But, for today at least I’m going to give you a new favorite of ours.

Every once in a while I find a recipe that turns out so well I can’t wait to make it again. I love those, don’t you? This is definitely one. I first tried it out on a Wednesday night and it was so awesome that I made it again on Saturday.

It easily fits the quick and easy category and it’s definitely kid-friendly. Especially if your kids like tacos!

Of course you know that I had to tweak the original recipe, don’t you? That original recipe was called “Mexican Chicken,” but by the time I’d thrown in some black olives and used cheddar cheese, it didn’t seem quite right to label it “Mexican.” It became somewhat more international, I think, thus the title Southwestern Style Chicken.

I also thought about using Monterey Jack instead of the cheddar, but honestly I don’t think it would be quite as good with jack cheese. There’s just something about that combination of enchilada sauce and cheddar that’s pretty unbeatable. I hope you’ll give this one a try and let me know what you think.

Southwestern Style Chicken

To start, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a casserole or baking dish with cooking spray and set it aside. Next, you’ll need to cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and toss them with some taco seasoning. You can use a purchased taco seasoning, or mix up your own. I’m including my taco seasoning recipe for you. It’s easy to put together and keeps a log time in the pantry.

Put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Cook the chicken until it’s a little browned and has stiffened up. Don’t worry about cooking it all the way through, it will finish cooking in the oven. You just want to get some good browning on it at this point.

Adding ingredients to cooked chicken

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt, enchilada sauce, black olives, cilantro, and green chilies. Turn the mixture into the prepared casserole or baking dish.

Top with grated cheddar cheese

Top the mixture with the grated cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove from the oven and scatter green onions over the top.

Serve with warm flour or corn tortillas – whichever you prefer. I usually serve with sides of buttered, whole kernel corn and guacamole salad.


Southwestern Style Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A quick family casserole good for busy week nights. Combines bright southwestern flavors with cheddar cheese. A kid favorite!
Serves: 4 generous servings
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tblsp. taco seasoning (see recipe below)
  • 4 tblsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
  • 8-10 large black olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 5-6 green onions, chopped
For the taco seasoning:
  • 1 tblsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • (To make the taco seasoning: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well. Store leftovers in a tightly sealed container.)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat a casserole or baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Toss the chicken with the taco seasoning. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook, stirring, until chicken is almost cooked through. It will finish cooking in the oven.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt, enchilada sauce, black olives, cilantro, and green chilies. Turn the mixture into the prepared casserole or baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the grated cheese.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  7. Remove from the oven and scatter green onions over the top.
Serve with warm flour or corn tortillas. I like to serve this with sides of corn and a guacamole salad.
--Adapted from Linda’s Low Carb Menus and Recipes Mexican Chicken

All text and photographs on Never Enough Thyme are copyright protected. Please do not use any material from this site without obtaining prior permission. If you'd like to post this recipe on your site, please create your own original photographs and either re-write the recipe in your own words or link to this post.

Other southwestern inspired recipes you might enjoy from around the internet:

What I was up to…

Never miss a recipe!
Subscribe now to receive new posts by email.

Enter your email address below to get each new post via email. We promise we'll never send spam or give your email address to anyone else.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbara | Creative Culinary February 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Sounds so good…and nothing wrong with easy; I need some of that right now!

Thanks too for mentioning my Cilantro Rice. It is deceptive. You think it’s just rice of sorts…and then I almost finished off the entire dish with ‘just one more bite.’ Wish I was kidding. :)


2 Lana February 13, 2013 at 8:29 am

You’re welcome, Barb. Your cilantro rice recipe is so good. It goes perfectly with lots of mexican/southwestern recipes. This one included!


3 Amanda February 13, 2013 at 8:47 am

This recipe looks SO delicious!! I must make it! :)


4 Lana February 13, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Thanks, Amanda. I do hope you’ll try it.


5 Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet February 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm

This sounds so good Lana. I need to add this to my chicken rotation. :) Yum!! Pinning!


6 Lana February 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Please do give it a try. I just know you’ll like it. And thanks for pinning!


7 Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles February 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Looks delicious – and EASY – thanks, Lana!


8 Terra February 15, 2013 at 9:40 am

Hubby loves chicken, and I love southwest flavors. So this delicious dish would be perfect for us! Yum, Hugs, Terra


9 Lana February 15, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Definitely would, Terra! Hope you both enjoy it.


10 Nancy@acommunaltable February 15, 2013 at 11:16 am

Definitely bookmarking this one for La Crosse season – a perfect mid week dinner with ALL the flavors I love!!


11 Lana February 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm

You know, Nancy, at first I was skeptical about the cheddar with the enchilada sauce. I mean, you just naturally think of Monterey jack or a true mexican cheese, don’t you? But I have to say, it’s really a knockout combination. I don’t think it would be nearly as delicious with a different cheese.


12 Feast on the Cheap February 21, 2013 at 10:09 am

This looks SOUL-warming. Yum. I love ooey-gooey cheesy casseroles…especially when they’ve got a little kick. Bookmarking.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Real Time Web Analytics