Creamy Southwest Chicken Pasta is where cajun spiced crusted chicken meets delicious vegetables with a light creamy sauce over pasta.
Because sometimes in life you want comfort food with some kick. I’ve got that all taken care of for you in this dish!
We are not huge pasta eaters. I take that back. I am not a huge pasta eater. I can honestly do without it forever and never look back. The husband and kids on the other hand, they could eat this stuff everyday. But guess who is in charge of the cooking and meal planning? Oh yes, that would be me, the person who prefers to not eat the pasta. Every once in awhile I get in a rut where I’m not sure what I want to cook. Sound familiar? It happens to all of us. That’s when I ask my guy what he feels like for dinner. You know he most always says (besides the typical, “I love anything you make” blah, blah)??
Pasta. And this time he wanted it with some spice.
So this recipe was born, and loved by all. It kind of makes me love pasta. If you’re gonna do it, do it right!
I started off by giving the chicken breasts my cajun seasoning rub from my Cajun Chicken Sandwich. I used the skillet to sear it on both sides, and cook for a few minutes. You can see in the picture below, it’s nice and blackened:
I removed the chicken (even though it wasn’t cooked all the way), and used the plenty of spices leftover in the pan to cook the vegetables and make the sauce. The sauce is a combination of spices, chicken stock, and half & half. I’ll admit that I tried to use some greek yogurt (just a little to test it out), but the yogurt clumped up and wouldn’t blend well. Half and half works great for this. A;though this is a creamy pasta dish, it is still pretty light. Trust me, I can’t do heavy, creamy, restaurant style dishes without my stomach hating me. This recipe is not one of those heavy ones. Once the sauce was made, I added the chicken back to the skillet, and let it continue to cook.
Finally, the pasta, and extra garnishes were added for this beautiful and crowd pleasing dish:
This dish came together in less than 30 minutes and was loved by the entire family. Don’t be afraid of the spices in this pasta. It was definitely fine with the kids, and they would be sure to tell me otherwise!
Creamy Southwest Chicken Pasta
- For the chicken seasoning:
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp coarse sea salt
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp dried corriander
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 large chicken breasts
- 12 oz penne pasta
- 12 oz frozen organic corn
- 2 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3/4 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese optional
Begin by whisking together the dry rub for the chicken: start from chili powder all the way to the cayenne pepper.
Heat up a large skillet to medium high heat.
Rub chicken breasts generously with dry rub. You may have extra rub that you can use later to season the pasta or use for another time.
Grease the skillet, and add chicken breasts. Sear for a few minutes each side until blackened (use the picture above for guidance). Chicken will not be cooked all the way through, but set aside and keep warm.
While chicken is cooking, heat up a large pot of water to a boil and add pasta. Boil according to package directions.
Add corn and bell pepper to skillet, reserving any seasoning. Saute until bell pepper is soft, and corn is cooked (approximately 7 minutes).
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium low, add half and half, and return the chicken to the pan. Cook for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and the sauce has been reduced.
Toss in pasta.
Serve hot with additional garnishes like green onion, cilantro, and parmesan cheese.