This is Cheesy Fiesta Salsa Chicken and Rice Bake. Ooey, gooey comfort food at it’s best, this easy to make, kid-friendly cheesy chicken and rice casserole is a quick meal on a busy night.
And below is Nattalye making Cheesy Fiesta Salsa Chicken and Rice Bake. Guess what? This chicken and rice bake is even easier if you get a kid to make it!
Who Is Nattalye?
Nattalye is kinda, sorta related to me – in that nebulous way that modern families seem to be these days. Let me try to explain: she’s the sister of my niece’s (Tiffany) step-sister (Rhianna). So, that makes me Nattalye’s defacto aunt by default. Get it? Defacto aunt by default.
It like the ring of that. Actually, I have several other people in the periphery of my life that would consider me their defacto aunt by default. It’s kinda wonderful because I’m blessed with a large, extended family that keeps growing!
Getting back to Nattalye and her older sister, Rhianna – you can read their story here: Sister Mom. A brief synopsis: Nattalye is younger than her half-sister, Rhianna, by 25 years. Rhianna is Nattalye’s legal guardian. Here’s a photo of the two of them at their favorite country concert together:
Anyway, I asked Rhianna and Nattalye if they would like to come over and teach me to cook. I have this running series on my blog where I ask family and friends to come over and “teach me to cook.” That way I get to share those experiences with you, the reader, plus eat new things I may not have ever tried before!
Rhianna thought it would be fun for Nattalye to make some kinda dish by herself. As a tween, she’s started to really get into helping out with their meals. So, the two of them decided she would make this super easy chicken and rice casserole that oozes cheesy goodness from a jar with a bit of Mexican flavor from salsa, chili powder and cilantro.
Here’s How to Make Cheesy Fiesta Salsa Chicken and Rice
Get out your 13″ x 9″ x 2″ casserole dish. Next, dump cheese sauce, salsa and rice into it and stir it together. That’s what Nattalye is doing in the photo above.
Then you place 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves on top of the sauce.
Next, you sprinkle chili powder over the chicken breasts, then cover the casserole with foil.
Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Then, remove it from the oven, uncover it, sprinkle the casserole with more cheese and let it stand for 10 minutes while the cheese melts. Finally, top with sprigs of cilantro and serve. Easy peasy and cheesy squeezy!
Who knew that dumping 6 ingredients in a casserole dish and baking would result in such cheesy goodness? Plus, it is easy clean-up: no additional dishes; just the casserole dish because you mix the sauce in the dish!Cheesy Fiesta Salsa Chicken and Rice Bake-easy, delicious dinner recipe for a busy night. Dump 6… Click To Tweet
After setting up for the food photo shoot, the 4 of us (me, Charlie, Rhianna and Nattalye) ate it all!
Nattalye’s Defacto Family By Default
Here’s some more photos of Nattalye with various members of her extended family (and mine) by default:
I love this photo of these kids taken by my brother-in-law, Joel, Tiffany’s father. From left to right are: Princess Sweetie Pie (Tiffany’s youngest daughter and no relation to Nattalye), adorable little Prince JB (Nattalye’s half-brother Joe’s son), Princess P (Tiffany’s oldest daughter and no relation to Nattalye), and Nattalye. While I’m pointing out that the Princesses are no relation (by blood) to the other two, they are related by their hearts. They have all grown up together and consider themselves “cousins”. But, interestingly, Nattalye, if she were actually related by blood would be the Princesses aunt! So confusing!
This is Joel with Nattalye and a cookie. They are at “lunch with your grandkids” at Nattalye’s school. Joel is an amazing professional photographer and Tiffany’s father and the Princesses grandfather. He’s also Rhianna’s (and her brother Joe’s) step-father. However, he has no actual relationship with Nattalye (Rhianna and Joe’s mother, Patti who is Joel’s wife, is not Nattalye’s mother). However, Nattalye calls Joel “Papa”, as do all his grandchildren and Joel considers Nattalye one of his grandkids. It’s a beautiful thing…
Speaking of Joel’s wife, Patti, above she’s working with Nattalye in Patti’s kitchen teaching her to make sugar cookies. Patti loves to teach all her grandchildren to cook. Check out this post, Patti’s Button Cupcakes, to see these two at work making mountains of cupcakes for Princess Sweetie Pie’s 3rd birthday.
Nattalye’s been cooking for several years. Above she is whipping up some chocolate goodness!
And, here she is with the Princesses (Princess P on the left, Princess Sweetie Pie on the right) on a family vacation in Hawaii.
Nattalye has two of her own dogs, but here she is holding the Princesses’ dog, Dude. Nattalye is an equal-opportunity dog lover.
And, here she is all “soft focus”. I had to do this because blowing this photo up to fit my blog made it all grainy! Because I cropped this from another photo, it was too small when I made it the right size for this blog. So, a bit of creativity made it usable!
Thanks, Nattalye and Rhianna, for coming over and sharing the day and making Natt’s famous Cheesy Fiesta Salsa Chicken and Rice Bake!
Materials and Supplies Needed:
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Here’s the Recipe for Cheesy Fiesta Salsa Chicken and Rice Bake:
- 14.5 ounce jar of creamy cheese sauce (we used Ragu Double Cheddar Cheese Sauce)
- 1 cup favorite mild salsa (we used Pace Chunky Mild Salsa)
- 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (approximately 1¼ pound weight total)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish (optional)
- More jarred salsa, for garnish (optional)
- Sour cream, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Dump cheese sauce, salsa and rice into a 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish and stir to combine.
- Place chicken breasts over top of sauce mixture.
- Sprinkle chicken breasts evenly with chili powder.
- Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil.
- Place casserole dish in oven and bake, covered, for 45 minutes.
- Remove from oven, uncover and sprinkle with shredded cheese; let stand for 10 minutes while cheese melts.
- Garnish with sprigs of cilantro and serve.
More “Teach Me to Cook” Recipes from Toot Sweet 4 Two’s Archives:
Tiffany’s recipe for Easy Cream of Mushroom Pork Chops
Lorraine’s recipe for Hot Chicken Enchilada Dip
Gail’s recipe for Potato Chip Cookies
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Creamy Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti from Brandie at The Country Cook