Our dinner emergencies deserve a superhero. The next time hanger strikes and my cupboard is bare, I’d like to shine a Batman-inspired distress signal into the air. Instead of a bat, it will illuminate the silhouette of a cast-iron skillet and Fiesta Chicken will arrive to rescue me from my dinner emergency!
This mealtime warrior recipe is ready in less than 30 minutes and provides every food group, AND the entire shebang cooks in ONE skillet, including the rice. My hero!
This Fiesta Chicken recipe is an oldie but a goodie from the recipe archives. It’s one of the first dishes I ever learned to cook, so I can attest that even if you are just starting out in the kitchen, you can make it with confidence and success.
Although I’ve since expanded my recipe repertoire, this Fiesta Chicken casserole recipe is one I still make regularly because it meets several of my core dinner requirements:
- Easy. Can you chop and stir? You can make Fiesta Chicken.
- Healthy. Veggies, lean protein, whole grains…the gang is all here.
- Tex-Mex Inspired. A.k.a. can serve as a vehicle for avocado. This house approves.
- Even Better Leftover. Cook once, eat yummy leftovers all week! A win for meal prep. Your coworkers will be jealous.
Fiesta Chicken—Fresh Ingredients Meet Pantry Staples
Fiesta Chicken combines fresh ingredients such as diced boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or in my case, freezer ingredients since I almost always have a few on hand), onions, and peppers, with pantry staples like canned fire roasted tomatoes and black beans.
Everything simmers together in one pan including the brown rice, and by the time you sprinkle on the cheese at the end, you’ll have an ooey-gooey pan of Southwestern goodness that you can serve right from the skillet at the table.
What makes this Fiesta Chicken especially memorable is its combination of spices. Along with the usual Tex-Mex suspects such as cumin and cayenne, I also add traditional ranch spices such as garlic powder, onion powder, and dill.
If you’ve tried the Hidden Valley Fiesta Ranch Chicken that’s listed on the back of some ranch seasoning packets, this Fiesta Chicken recipe offers the same addictive flavor but is 100% from scratch. It’s also similar to my Mexican Chicken and Rice but uses instant instead of long-grain brown rice, so it cooks in about half the time.
Looking for a slow cooker option? You can try this Crock Pot Mexican Casserole.
BUT if you want a simple, healthy, delicious meal that’s ready ASAP, stay right here. This Fiesta Chicken is the one for you!
How to Store, Reheat, and Freeze Fiesta Chicken
- To Store. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm gently in the microwave or on the stovetop, with a splash of chicken stock or water to keep it from drying out.
- To Freeze. Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
More Delicious One Pan Chicken Recipes
And now, because I want to show you just how easy this Fiesta Chicken is to make…I have a video for you! You’ll see me walk through each step to ensure that our fiesta chicken breast pieces are juicy, our veggies are flavorful, and our rice perfectly tender.
One Skillet Fiesta Chicken
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound boneless - skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 medium yellow onion - or red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dillweed
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper - use 1/4 teaspoon or less if sensitive to spice
- 1 red bell pepper - cored and chopped
- 1 green bell pepper - cored and chopped
- 1 can reduced-sodium black beans - (15 ounces) rinsed and drained
- 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes in their juices - (15 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups instant brown rice - do not use white minute rice or regular rice as these will cook differently
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 3/4 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
- Optional for serving: chopped fresh cilantro - diced avocado, plain nonfat Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- Heat the olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, onion, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dill, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Sauté, stirring often, for 3 minutes, until the chicken is beginning to brown on the outside.
- Stir in the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, black beans, tomatoes, rice, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, and then cover and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes, or until the chicken is done and the rice is nearly tender. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Sprinkle with cheese and any additional desired toppings. Serve warm.
- I have not tried this recipe with regular (not instant) rice or with white rice instead of brown. Because regular (non instant) rice’s cooking time is much longer, if you want to experiment and use it instead of the instant, I would suggest sautéing the meat and vegetables in one skillet (you can drain the tomatoes first, and then add them to the chicken and peppers at the end, heating until most of their liquid evaporates) and cooking the rice in its own pot. Then, combine the two at the end with a bit of extra chicken stock as needed if the mixture is too dry. Again, I haven’t tried the recipe this way, but that is my best suggestion.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and rewarm gently in the microwave or on the stovetop, with a splash of chicken stock or water to keep it from drying out.
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