Monday, November 12, 2012

King Ranch Chicken Macaroni & Cheese

I knew when I saw this King Ranch Macaroni & Cheese in Southern Living I would have to make it. King Ranch Chicken Casserole was a staple in our house after we first got married, as I'm sure it was for a lot of you. We loved the cheesy layers of tortillas with chicken and a creamy sauce. I think everyone has had a version of it at some time or another. It was the casserole that everyone took to a new neighbor, when a friend had a baby or to a potluck dinner. As I began to limit canned soups in my cooking I didn't make it for a long time. Now Julie and I make a from scratch version for our clients, that is pretty yummy if we do say so ourselves! When I saw this version with pasta I knew my macaroni and cheese loving family would think it was great. I adapted the recipe a little to our tastes and didn't want to use canned soup, so I made my own cream sauce. If you are a fan of this old classic, I don't think you will be disappointed in this updated variation.

King Ranch Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe adapted from Southern Living

12 ounces of your favorite macaroni pasta, cooked until just shy of al dente. (I used bow-ties)
2  tablespoons butter
1 medium onion diced, (1 cup)
2  tablespoons jarred pickled jalapeno chiles, diced
1  teaspoon cumin
1  teaspoon chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
1  (10 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes
¼ cup flour
1  cup  chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream or ½ and ½ (can substitute milk, but won’t be as creamy)
3 cups (12 ounces) Shredded Colby Jack Cheese, divided
3  cups cooked and shredded chicken breast
½  cup sour cream
½ cup (2 ounces) queso cheese (Kroger sells a shredded queso quesadilla cheese, which is what I used.)  

In a Dutch oven melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeno chiles, cumin and chili powder, cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.

Add the Rotel tomatoes and continue cooking for about 5-8 more minutes until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.

Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes.

Slowly add the chicken broth and heavy cream. Simmer for about 3 minutes until thickened.

Remove from heat.

Add 2 cups (8 ounces) of the cheese a handful at a time. Stir each addition until melted before adding the next handful.

Stir in the cooked chicken and sour cream. Add the cooked pasta and stir gently to combine. Pour into a lightly greased baking dish. Top with remaining cup of Colby Jack Cheese and ½ cup of queso cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.



Linked to the following parties:
Our very own Weekend Potluck
White Lights on Wednesday Wednesday Whatsits
Walking on Sunshine Foodie Friends Friday
Carole's Chatter Food on Friday Pasta & Noodles
Six Sisters' Stuff Strut Your Stuff Saturday
Addicted to Recipes Scrumptious Sunday Link Party
Everyday Mom's Meals Church Supper


  1. I like my food with a little kick, so I am absolutely, no bones about it, 100%, in love with Mac & Cheese recipe!

  2. Hi there. The current Food on Friday is all about pasta and noodles! There is already a great collection of dishes but it would be great if you linked this in. This is the link . Have a good week.

  3. Thanks for linking in to Food on Friday: Pasta and Noodles. We are getting a fantastic collection of all things pasta and noodles.
    I am now signed up to follow you. A follow back to Carole's Chatter would be wonderful – or are you already following? Cheers

  4. Thank you for sharing at Foodie Friends Friday!
    These Mac and Cheese look amazingly delicious!

  5. Is this dish supposed to be baked? I notice the noodles are slightly undercooked and its all put in a greased casserole dish with cheese on top but don't see anywhere that it's to be baked?

    1. Yes it is Brandy. I forgot to type the last line of the recipe. I fixed it in the post above. Sorry about that, good catch!


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