It used to really irk me when recipes called for “pre-cooked chicken.” I was like, “What the huh, who has pre-cooked chicken laying around?” Then I realized that it’s actually pretty easy to just roast chicken breasts at home and keep that pre-cooked chicken in your freezer, which is a total life saver when you need to whip up a quick meal. And I’ve kind of warmed up to the idea of grocery store rotisserie chickens (the skin is just soooo tasty). So, if you have some “pre-cooked chicken” around, you definitely have to try this Monterrey Chicken Skillet.
This quick skillet pasta is a take on a recipe that I’ve seen floating around the web for years, Monterrey Chicken. It’s a unique combo of tomatoes, green chiles, BBQ sauce, cheese, and bacon. Sounds strange, but there are so many good things going on in this dish that you really never get a dull bite. There’s just a LOT of flavor. As usual, I turned it into a pasta dish to help stretch out the cost… Because chicken, bacon, and cheese aren’t exactly cheap.
I used a little rotisserie chicken, went light on the cheese, and only included the bacon because I happened to have some left over in my freezer. Honestly, I think the BBQ sauce and cheese carry the flavor here, so if you don’t want to spend on the bacon you could skip it and still get a great meal. The Rotel tomatoes (diced tomatoes with green chiles) can be kind of spicy, so if that’s not your ticket, you can use plain diced tomatoes instead (a 15 oz. can is okay).
So, ready to see how easy this is? Let’s go…
Monterrey Chicken Skillet
- 2 cups shredded pre-cooked chicken (1/2 rotisserie chicken) $3.50
- 1 (10 oz.) can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chiles) $0.99
- ½ lb. fusili pasta $0.63
- 2 cups chicken broth $0.30
- ⅓ cup BBQ sauce $0.36
- 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese $1.24
- 3 slices bacon $0.92
- 2 green onions, sliced $0.17
- Place the chicken, pasta, and Rotel tomatoes (undrained) in a large skillet. Add two cups of chicken broth and stir to combine. Cover the skillet with a tight fitting lid, turn the heat on to high, and let it come to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes, giving it a quick stir every 5 minutes or so.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet until brown and crispy. Drain the cooked bacon on a paper towel, then crumble into pieces.
- After simmering for 15 minutes, the pasta should be tender and most of the liquid absorbed. If the pasta is still firm, let the skillet simmer for 5 more minutes. If the pasta is tender, but there is still a lot of liquid in the skillet, let it simmer without a lid for 5 more minutes.
- Once the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed, drizzle the BBQ sauce over top. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the BBQ sauce and cover the skillet with the lid. Leave the heat set on low and let the skillet sit for five minutes to melt the cheese. Once the cheese is melted, top with the crumbled bacon and sliced green onions, then serve.
Step by Step Photos
Before we begin, let’s take a second to talk about Rotel. Rotel is a brand of canned diced tomatoes with green chiles that is available in most U.S. supermarkets (usually 10-oz. cans). If you can’t find Rotel, you can use a can of plain diced tomatoes, or a can of diced tomatoes plus a can of diced green chiles. Original Rotel is spicy, so consider that, although I’ve seen other brands that use mild green chiles so you get the flavor of the chile without the heat.
Anywho, put that can of Rotel in a skillet (undrained) along with two loosely packed cups of pre-cooked chicken and 1/2 lb. of pasta.
Add two cups of chicken broth then stir everything together well. Place a tight fitting lid on the skillet, turn the heat on to high, and let it come to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Make sure that it is still simmering on your lowest setting and if it isn’t turn the heat up just a smidge. Also, make sure to stir it once every five minutes or so just to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom.
While the skillet is simmering, cook the bacon. I happened to have a half package of bacon left over in my freezer, so I cut that in half and froze the remaining 1/4. So, the portion I used is roughly equivalent to 3 slices. If I hadn’t had the bacon, I probably would have skipped it and still been happy with the dish.
Brown the bacon in the skillet, then drain it on some paper towels. Once it’s cooled, crumble it into pieces.
After the skillet has simmered for 15 minutes, the pasta should be tender and most of the liquid absorbed off the bottom. If the pasta is not yet tender, let it simmer for another 5 minutes (with the lid). If it’s tender but there’s still quite a bit of liquid, just let it simmer for a few minutes more WITHOUT the lid, to help the moisture evaporate. Once the pasta is tender, drizzle about 1/3 cup of BBQ sauce over top. It’s easy to go overboard here, so keep it kind of light (I went a little too far I think).
Then sprinkle one cup of shredded Monterrey jack over the BBQ sauce. Replace the lid and let it sit for a few minutes, or until the cheese is melted (I still have the heat on low).
Once the cheese is melted, you can turn off the heat and top the skillet with sliced green onion and the crumbled bacon. Hellloooooooo!
Yeah, I was in the mood for indulgent today. :P