This delicious One Pan Jalapeno Popper Chicken Pasta is rich, creamy, cheesy and spicy. It’s the perfect easy game day dinner!
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You all know how much I love football, especially when there’s delicious food to go along with the game! I’m always searching for game day recipes that are cheesy, spicy, easy to make and easy to eat. Honestly, when it comes to game day food, the spicier, the better. The only problem with that, my friends, is heartburn — ugh! But more on that in a bit.
If we can’t attend the game, we make sure to watch it on TV. I usually make several different dishes on game days, set them out on the counter and let people just take what they want. It’s super casual, but fun.
I’ve only made this spicy jalapeno popper chicken pasta dish couple of times, but it’s already a family favorite. Even the Hubs, who doesn’t like things too spicy, loves it. To make things easier and cut down on dishes, I cook everything in one pan, and then I transfer the mixture to a baking dish and bake it. Actually, if you use a foil pan for baking, you only have one pot to wash!
Basically, I brown the chicken, along with some diced jalapeno peppers and onions. Then, I add the pasta and water.
When the pasta is almost done, I make the creamy sauce in the same pan. In fact, you could stop at this point if you wanted to, but who can resist a pan of cheesy, ooey-gooey baked pasta?
Now, let’s talk about the side effects of eating a lot of spicy, cheesy food — heartburn! Bummer, right? You know, I’ve been eating spicy food forever, but I never had any heartburn until I was pregnant with my youngest. And believe me, that was definitely not fun. Now, I only have problems after I’ve eaten too much spicy food, which seems to occur about every weekend in the fall or whenever my favorite team is playing!
This one pan jalapeno popper chicken pasta is definitely spicy, but you can control the heat by using fewer peppers. And if you want more heat, you can toss in more jalapenos. I added some cooked bacon right before I put the pasta in the oven. This is optional, but bacon makes it even better!
How to Make One Pan Jalapeno Popper Chicken Pasta
One Pan Jalapeno Popper Chicken Pasta
- 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into cubes
- 2 large jalapeno peppers (1/4 cup chopped and about 12 thin slices)
- 1/4 cup white or yellow onions (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups mini penne pasta
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- cooked, chopped bacon pieces (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- In a medium-sized pan, cook onions and jalapeno peppers in 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium-high heat until slightly soft
- Add chicken, sea salt, pepper and garlic powder, and cook until brown
- Add pasta and water, turn heat to high, cover and cook until pasta just starts to get soft (about 8 minutes)
- Reduce heat to medium, stir in cream cheese and cream, and cook until cheese is melted and sauce starts to thicken
- Remove from heat, and spoon about half of the mixture into a 9X13-inch baking dish, coated with 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Add one cup of cheese, then add bacon, if using, remaining pasta and top with remaining 2 cups of cheese
- Top with jalapeno slices, and bake for about 15 minutes or until bubbly and top starts to brown
- Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving
Have a great game day!