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Queso Smothered Fajita Casserole

What’s better than baking chicken fajitas with some rice and drizzling over some homemade green chile queso? I’ll wait..

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Smother me up in queso anyday of the WEEK, but tonight we are smothering this delicious fajita casserole in queso. Back in the Chicago suburbs, you can find this dish at any local Mexican restaurant labeled Chicken Fajita Suizo. Grilled chicken and fajita vegetables are served over rice, then doused with a healthy ladle of queso sauce. The flavors are tangy from the salsa and spicy from the taco seasoning. It’s a brilliant concoction of tastes on your tongue, especially when you pour cheese sauce over it.

I’ve asked a few people here in the Pacific Northwest if they’ve heard of the term “suizo” before and to my surprise, it’s a new term. Do you know suizo? A word from Spain used to describe cheese, like queso-but fancier? I wonder why the midwest adopted this term and use it for all things coated in cheese?

I love that you can take any salsa, either your favorite jarred salsa or even the mediocre store-bought salsas, and create so much flavor from it. Trying to clean out the fridge with old tomato product or salsas? This recipe is the perfect formula to create even an Italian version.

It’s as simple as sear the chicken, sear the veg, and throw it in a 9×13 covered to bake! Wouldn’t it be nice if all dinner could cook up that quick?

As much as I’d love telling you to make this with store-bought queso, it just doesn’t hit the same. Store-bought queso will always contain some sort of acidic preservative to help keep it on the shelves longer. With the tanginess from the salsa, we really need that contrasting richness from this homemade queso. PLUS, who doesn’t love a rich creamy sauce to smother your dinner in?

If you’re pressed for time, just throw all the queso ingredients in a 9×9 pan and let it bake in the oven with the fajita casserole, stirring occassionally.

Store these two compononents separately because both of these work as great leftover recipes. You can add the chicken & rice component into a pot with broth, then crush up some tortilla chips on top for a delicious chicken tortilla soup. Invite some friends over and warm up the remaining queso for a build your own nacho night. So fetch!

Yield(s): Serves 6

15m prep time

45m cook time

4.8
Rated 4.8 out of 5
Rated by 5 reviewers

Allergens: Milk

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Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups white minute rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 oz. taco seasoning
  • 1 15.5 oz. jar salsa
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Queso:
  • 1 12oz. can of evaporated milk
  • 2 cups grated Mexican cheese blend
  • 10 slices American cheese
  • 1 4oz. can diced green chiles
Preparation
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F and prepare a 9x13 baking pan
  2. Add two tablespoons of butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat until melted, then add cubed chicken breast to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes or until golden on two sides. Remove chicken from the pan into the 9x13 baking tray.
  3. Add remaining butter, then caramelize onions and peppers for 5 - 6 minutes or until onions are translucent and peppers have softened.
  4. Whisk together the chicken broth and taco seasoning in a liquid measuring cup. Set aside.
  5. Turn off the heat and add peppers to the baking pan.
  6. Sprinkle rice into the 9x13. Gently pour over the mixed chicken stock and store-bought salsa, then stir together. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes on the middle rack.
  7. Make queso in a pot over medium heat by combining milk, Mexican cheese, American cheese, and diced green chiles. Let cook for 10 - 12 minutes, stirring occasionally until it’s smooth. Keep warm on low.
  8. Carefully remove aluminum foil and lightly fluff the rice with a fork.
  9. Garnish with chopped cilantro and pour over warm queso or serve with queso.