I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Kraft Foods. The recipe is my own original creation. A positive review was not required, and as with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product.
Something about cold weather inspires me to make casseroles, even if the cold weather is long after the beginning of spring. We are waiting for the last remnants of winter to give up and let go, here in southeast Nebraska, and without a doubt, we’ve had some perfect casserole weather. So, when I had the opportunity to create a recipe using Kraft Fresh Take, you know I didn’t bread something with the Southwest Three Cheese kit, I selected. I went, just slightly, outside the box. Kraft Fresh Take is a meal kit that provides you with a fresh take for your usual weeknight suppers. The cheese and breadcrumb mix provides a flavor-punch that dresses up many of the recipes you already use, making them something new and special. They are easy to find in the cheese aisle at your local grocery store.
There are so many wonderfully flavorful varieties of Kraft Fresh Take to choose from that you’ll be able to find something to complement any recipe.
I think you and your family will love the hearty Southwest Chicken Meatball Casserole, I created. It’s the ultimate comfort food with just a bit of a Southwest kick. I used pasta, but it would definitely work just as well with rice, or even quinoa. And if you are inspired to make it, or to use Kraft Fresh Take to dress up one of your own family recipes, be sure to watch for immediately redeemable coupons on specially marked packages of chicken. You’ll save $1.00 off the chicken when you buy Kraft Fresh Take. Plus, the Kraft Fresh Take Tour Bus may be coming to a store near you, with loads of ideas and recipes for using these simple meal kits. Check here to see if they will be coming to your town. Now, here’s that casserole recipe I promised. Enjoy!
Southwest Chicken Meatball Casserole
FOR THE SOUTHWEST MEATBALLS
- 2 lbs ground chicken
- 2 pkg Kraft Fresh Takes Southwest Three Cheese
- 1 red bell pepper, minced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1/2 c. minced onion
- 1/4 c. minced fresh cilantro
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 eggs
FOR THE CREAMY SOUTHWEST SAUCE
- 1 recipe Better than Cream of Chicken
- 1 (8 oz) pkg Kraft Mexican Queso Quesadilla Cheese
- 1 lg. jalapeno (1/2 seeds removed), minced
FOR THE CASSEROLE
- 35-50 Southwest Chicken Meatballs
- 1 recipe Creamy Southwest Sauce (above)
- 1 lg red bell pepper, diced
- 3 green onions, diced
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 lb. shell pasta, cooked and drained
- 1/2 cup cheddar or Mexican Blend cheese, grated
To Make the Meatballs
- Mince the red bell pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro and jalapeno. Be sure to mince them fairly fine. These are small, bite-sized meatballs, so you'll want to keep the ingredients sized accordingly.
- Also, the amount of heat in your dish will be largely dependent on how many of the seeds and ribs you leave in your jalapeno. Remove them all for a mild flavor or leave them all for a spicy kick. I removed all but about 1/4 of the seeds and ribs in my large jalapeno, before mincing it.
- Place all the minced veggies in a large bowl with the chicken,eggs and both Fresh Take cheese and bread crumb packets.
- Combine all the ingredients, making sure that they are distributed evenly throughout the ground chicken mixture.
- I used about two teaspoons of meat mixture to form and roll each meatball. Since I was mixing them into a casserole, I wanted them to be small and bite-sized. These would actually be perfect sizes for party appetizers, too. Making them this size, I got 102 meatballs from this batch, so I had some to use and some for the freezer, which makes for easy quick prep of a future meal!
- Lay the meatballs on a lightly greased baking sheet, being sure to leave a little space between them so they cook evenly and from all sides.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly before removing them from the baking sheet.
- Enjoy these delicious, spicy little meatballs, as is, as appetizers with salsa for dipping, or as ingredients in one of your favorite recipes. They're so tasty, you will find yourself just popping them in your mouth, as you continue cooking. So beware, and be sure to save some for the casserole! :)
for the Creamy Southwest Sauce
- Make one recipe of my Better than Cream of Chicken
- Add the minced jalapeno and the Kraft Queso Quesadilla Cheese, stirring over low heat until the cheese has completely melted and is incorporated into the sauce.
- Set the Creamy Southwest Sauce aside to prep the casserole.
for the Casserole
- Combine black beans, cooked and drained pasta, veggies and meatballs in a 9x13 baking dish. Mix them and distribute the ingredients evenly.
- Pour the Southwest Casserole Sauce over this mixture.
- Stir to combine, making sure all the casserole ingredients are coated with sauce.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the casserole is heated through and the sauce is bubbly around the edges.
- Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese over the baked casserole and return to the oven for about five minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- Remove from the oven and serve this hearty dish with steamed broccoli or a fresh green salad! Yum!
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