Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake - Cheesy Spicy Mexican Chicken with Enchilada sauce baked over rice and kidney beans for a meal the whole family will love.
Mexican Chicken Enchilada Rice Bake
When I created this Spicy Mexican Chicken and Rice, I had only one thing on my mind Mexican Enchiladas!!
It was a dish I would often order at a local Mexican restaurant local to me when I was at university. It was just sooo good and I often get cravings for it, ever since.
Tortilla wraps however can be quite high in calories and not very filling, so this bake combines many of the components of an Enchilada but without the wrap. It is seriously tasty.
Yes there are ready made jars of most sauces, but I stopped buying anything like that a long time ago, it's so quick to make your own sauce and you know exactly what has gone into it when you make it yourself.
In this yummy homemade Enchilada sauce I use just some simple store cupboard ingredients:
- Canned Crushed Tomatoes
- Fresh Onion
- Fresh Garlic
- Cider vinegar
- Maple syrup
- Cayenne Pepper
All cooked in simmered in a pan to bring out all those yummy flavours, before being blended for the smooth delicious homemade sauce for the chicken.
When it comes to blending sauces you really do not need any expensive or fancy gadgets. Always go for what is in your budget. Either an Immersion Stick Blender or a counter top blender will blend your sauce perfectly.
I do own a Vitamix and it is amazing for making sauces super smooth and for me as someone who cooks a lot it was a worth while investment, but not everyone needs a professional blender.
If you are limited on storage space and don't like to have lots of different appliances for doing different things, then something like the Ninja Complete Kitchen System is a great choice too, as it has a food processor, mixing bowl and blender in one, as well as blades for grating etc. But it can still be quite bulky with all the different parts so you need the space to store it.
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Best Rice for Mexican Dishes
Long Grain rice is the best rice for using in this recipe, and there are a couple of different varieties - basmati (extra long), jasmine (sticky) and then what is known as long grain rice (or white rice)
So which one of these is best? I don't recommend jasmine rice for this dish, it's a sticky rice which is better for Asian style dishes with sauce. I like to use basic long grain rice, but don't buy the cheap brands as the rice can be broken grains and it really doesn't cook very nice, you will be able to tell if it's a good quality basic long grain rice as each grain of rice will be a perfect shape, no broken ends etc.
If you can't find this then the next best thing is Basmati Rice, it's an extra long grain rice popular in Indian cooking, not my first choice for this dish, but a good replacement if you can't find just basic long grain rice.
Can I use Chicken Thighs?
You will often see me using chicken thighs in recipes, especially if they are a bake or a casserole. In this recipe however I use Chicken breast - it's smoother in a sauce and isn't baked for a longer time, as the rice is cooked when it goes in the oven, so there is no worries about the chicken overcooking and becoming dry.
If you want to use chicken thighs though, you definitely can't make the swap, you may want to brown for a little longer though to ensure they are cooked through.
Sides for Mexican Chicken Rice Bake
For this recipe it's pretty filling, so i just serve with a simple side salad of the following:
- Crisp Romaine or Iceberg Lettuce
- Grape Tomatoes
you can add any other salad items you like to this - such as peppers, red onion, corn, beetroot etc. My kids love to have a dollop of sour cream to and guacamole, but those are totally optional.
More Mexican Inspired Recipes
Love Mexican style dishes? Check out these:
- Turkey Rice Burrito Bowls
- Turkey Taco Soup
- Chicken Enchilada Lasagne
- Mexican Pasta Bake
- Pineapple Pork Carnitas
- Chicken Fajita Pasta
- Mexican Chicken Lasagne
- Layered Chilli Fries
- Layered Mexican Dip
or if you would like more recipe ideas - head on over to the FULL RECIPE INDEX where you will find over 900 delicious recipes and can search by ingredients, course, diet and more.
All with estimated calories and Slimming Eats and Weight Watcher Smart Points values.
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- 1 cup (180g) of long grain rice
- 480ml (2 cups) of chicken stock
- 300g (10.5oz) canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- small handful of fresh chopped coriander (cilantro)
- 2 uncooked chicken breasts, sliced into cutlets - approx 500g (17.5oz)
- 50g (2oz) of mozzarella, grated
- 30g (1oz) of cheddar, grated
- cooking oil spray
- salt and pepper to season
for the Enchilada Sauce:
- 240g (1 cup) of canned crushed tomatoes (or use passata and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste)
- 180ml (¾ cup) of chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon of paprika
- 1.5 teaspoons of cumin
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper (use more of less depending on your spice level)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup or honey
- Spray a small saucepan over a medium-high heat with cooking oil and add the onion and garlic, cook for a few minutes to soften. Add the passata, stock, spices, vinegar and maple syrup and stir thoroughly, reduce heat, cover simmer for about 15 mins. Then put it all through a blender and blend until smooth, set aside.
- Rinse the rice until running water until water runs clear and then add the rice to a saucepan with 2 cups of chicken stock
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until all the stock is almost absorbed. Turn off heat, but leave saucepan on hob, covered for approx 10 minutes, this will ensure rice is perfectly cooked.
- Preheat oven to 180c, fan 160c, 350f or gas mark 4
- Season the chicken breast of both sides with salt and black pepper.
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high with some cooking oil and add the chicken breasts, fry each side until lightly browned (they don't need to be cooked through, as you will be finishing them off in the oven). Pour in the blended Enchilada sauce and ensure the chicken is all covered in the sauce.
- Mix the rice with the kidney beans and freshly chopped coriander. and add it to an oven proof dish. Layer the chicken breasts with the sauce on top and then top with the cheddar and mozzarella.
- Cover the dish loosely with foil and bake for approx 15-20 mins until all cheese has melted and chicken is cooked. You can place under the grill for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese more if you prefer.
- Serve sprinkled with fresh coriander.
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- Calories - scroll down to nutritional info box
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1 SERVING
Amount Per Serving Calories 514Total Fat 10.3gSaturated Fat 4.7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 104mgSodium 692mgCarbohydrates 63.2gFiber 7.9gSugar 10.5gProtein 43.1g
Nutritional information, points etc are an estimate and is to be used for informational purposes only. Ingredients can vary greatly from brand to brand and therefore it would be impossible to give accurate information. It is always advised that you calculate by the ingredients you use.