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Creamy Green Chili Chicken Bake

  • Author: Sara Wells

Description

A quick and easy recipe with minimal ingredients!  A creamy green chili sauce coats shredded chicken- perfect for serving over rice.


Scale

Ingredients

23 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (46 breasts)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional, if you don’t have it don’t stress)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
16oz jar green salsa (I prefer mild)
8oz cream cheese
Kosher salt to taste
Cooked rice, for serving.


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place chicken in a 9×13 pan, sprinkle with spices (except salt).  Pour entire jar of green salsa over everything.  Bake until an instant-read digital thermometer reads 165 degrees in the thickest part of the meat.

Remove pan from oven, gently scrape off any salsa off top of each chicken breast and place chicken on a cutting board.

(Note:  Basically the only other step is adding cream cheese to the sauce in the baking dish.  The following instructions are how I found the most consistent results for a smooth sauce, but read the notes section below for some other options.)

Place cream cheese in a heat-safe bowl and microwave for 20-30 seconds or more, until it is soft and easy to stir smoothly.  Ladle some of the green chili sauce from your baking pan into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth.  Add more and keep whisking.  This little process with ensure you don’t end up with lumps in your sauce!  Scrape out all the cream cheese mixture back into your baking pan and whisk everything until smooth.

Shred chicken and add back to pan, tossing in sauce.  Season with kosher salt, if needed.  Serve over rice.


Notes

Cooking Options!  I tested all of these options to find the easiest method for you.  Here are my notes! 

  1.  I’ve cut room temperature cream cheese into small squares and tossed them in the hot sauce in the pan and then whisked it together (I like the ease of not having to use another bowl to warm the cream cheese first) but some brands of cream cheese will never get smooth and you’ll end up with chunks.  You can always pop the sauce in the blender if this happens to you.
  2. I tested placing all the ingredients into a blender first (cream cheese, salsa, spices) and then pouring over the chicken and baking.  It totally works, but compared to the method outlined in this recipe, the sauce is not as smooth.  The cream cheese tends to “break” just a bit.  But it definitely still tastes great and  some of you might find this method easiest for you.
  3. I tested cooking this with *thin cut* frozen chicken breast straight from the freezer and it worked great.  It just takes a bit longer to cook.
  4. If you want this dish to cook faster, cut your chicken breasts in half horizontally, or dice into smaller pieces.  It should come to temperature in about 30 minutes.

ALTERNATE COOKING METHODS

  1. PRESSURE COOKER:  Place everything except cream cheese into your pot.  Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.  Remove chicken.  Add cream cheese to sauce, I would suggest an immersion blender to make sure it gets smooth.  Return chicken to pot. ‘
  2. SLOW COOKER:  Place everything except cream cheese in slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours or until chicken has reached an internal temperature of 185 degrees. Remove chicken and shred and add softened cream cheese to sauce and whisk until smooth.  I would suggest an immersion blender.
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