Chicken Jambalaya Mac

  • Yield servings

Ingredients

1 pound cavatappi pasta (or pasta of choice)
1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite size pieces
-- Cajun Seasoning
-- Blackening Seasoning
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
9 tablespoons butter, divided
1 -- green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
-- Celery stalk, finely chopped
1 -- red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons garlic and herb seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 pound fully cooked smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 " slices
1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup Velveeta, cubed
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 -- sleeve Ritz crackers
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
-- Garnish: chopped green onions and red bell pepper

Instructions

Season the chicken to coat on all sides with blackening and Cajun seasonings. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the seasoned chicken and cook until done in the center. Remove from the pan (do not wipe clean) and set aside.

In the same pan, melt two tablespoons of butter and add one tablespoon olive oil. Cook the green and red bell peppers, onion, celery, garlic and herb seasoning, sausage, and Worcestershire sauce until the veggies are tender, about 6 – 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pan and simmer over low heat while the pasta is prepared. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, combine the crackers, bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, and 4 tablespoons of melted butter in a food processor and grind until combined; set aside.

Preheat broiler. Cook the cavatappi according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Adjust the temperature to medium – low and add the sour cream, half and half, 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning (or to taste), the cheeses and 3 tablespoons of butter to the pasta. Cook, stirring constantly, until the ingredients are completely melted. Add the chicken and the vegetable mixture to the pasta and stir to combine everything.

Pour the Jambalaya Mac into a casserole dish and cover with the buttered cracker crumb mixture. Broil until the topping is lightly browned and crunchy. Serve, garnished with the chopped green onion and red bell pepper.

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