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Cheesy Chicken and Peppers

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When you want something flavorful, quick, and easy, lean on this simple Cheesy Chicken and Peppers dish. Prepared in individual dishes, this humble casserole becomes an elegant supper.

Cheesy Chicken and Peppers Good Cheap Eats Recipe

As my husband and I work on eating more vegetables and fewer carbs, we’ve been enjoying quite a few bell peppers. It’s one of those vegetables that everyone in the family enjoys, so we’ve been going through them quickly. Thankfully, my local grocery stores have had great prices on bell peppers, as low as 50 cents a piece!

This dish was inspired by a chicken sandwich we used to enjoy many years ago when we lived in Paso Robles. Seasoned chicken breast topped with chiles and melted cheese and served on sourdough bread, that sandwich from Cahoots Catering was awesome.

I’ve served this Cheesy Chicken and Peppers on sourdough toast and with rice, but it’s just as good on its own if you want to have lower carbs or go gluten-free.

Having made this quite a few times this summer, I’ve tested the process in lots of different ways: cooking in a skillet and then melting it all together on a sheet pan, in a glass baking dish, here in ramekins. If you’d like to save on dishes and have an oven proof skillet, you can even make it all in one dish.

The oven step is really just to melt the cheese, so don’t be deterred about that seemingly “extra” step. Trust me it’s worth it. (If you want to serve it on toast, you can place the toast under the chicken on the sheet pan and bake it all together.)

This dish is fairly spicy. You can tone it down by using regular jack cheese, cutting back on the Cajun spice, or using a green pepper instead of jalapenos.

Cheesy Chicken and Peppers Good Cheap Eats

How I make this cheap:

I generally keeps several bags of Trader Joe’s frozen chicken tenders on hand at all times. While they are a little more expensive than the sale price of the grocery store, I’ve found that for quality, they can’t be beat. Other brands add a lot of “solution”, preservatives, and additives to their frozen chicken pieces. It seems that the quality of grocery store chicken, particularly at Sprouts, has gone down tremendously lately, to the point that it’s inedible and I’ve taken packages back to the store.

Plus, I like the inherent portion control that comes with serving chicken tenders. The littles might be satisfied with one or two while the bigger boys can have three or four.

Buy peppers and jalapeños when they are on sale in the summer — or grow your own. When you have a glut of peppers, you can slice them and freeze them on trays. Once firm to the touch, you can toss them in a ziptop freezer bag. Frozen and packaged this way, the peppers are easy to use, just a few at a time, no need to thaw before cooking them.

I buy Tillamook pepper jack cheese in large blocks at Costco. I find that their price is really the best all around. You can shred the bulk of the block and freeze it if you don’t think you’ll use it within a few weeks. Shredded cheese freezes and thaws really well. Cheese frozen in a block or slices will often crumble after thawing, so I don’t recommend it.

The amount of cheese used here is really minimal, so don’t be put off by the possible calories. It adds a kick and a creaminess to the dish that is delicious.

Making my own custom spice blends is one of my favorite ways to flavor foods without spending a fortune. I buy spices in bulk from Costco or via Amazon and keep the excess in the freezer to extend its shelf life.

Tools I use to make this easy

my favorite skillet – it’s oven safe!
Ergo Chef cooking tongs
USA sheet pan – no need to grease
gratin dishes

Cheesy Chicken and Peppers Recipe Good Cheap Eats PIN

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Comments

  1. Oh yum! Looks easy and delicious. Definitely need to make this one. Even red and yellow peppers have been $.50? Only green are ever that cheap by me and they just aren’t my favorite.

  2. Alice E says:

    One quick comment or two about freezing peppers. There are frozen pepper strips available in my grocery store if peppers are expensive. However they do include green.

    I have frozen peppers, usually as strips to dice later, and do it a bit differently. My problem with freezing the strips loosely in a bag is they seem to get a lot of frost on them. So, I cut them in strips and put small bundles of them in sandwich bags or wrapped in plastic wrap. They are usually bundled about as big around as my thumb, or between the size of a hot dog and a bratwurst. Then I take the bundles and pack them snugly into a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible when I seal it. I can take out a bundle at a time and chop them frozen, but they could obviously be used as strips if you wanted. The frozen bundles usually fall apart when I put them on a cutting board to dice them.

    I use the same method of smaller bags with just a cup of grated zucchini packed in freezer bags when freezing zucchini to use in soup or stew. It works well for me since it is easier to wrap the smaller bundles in sandwich bags which are thinner and easier to squeeze out the air; and then group the bags together so the don’t get lost

  3. I wish my Costco had pepper jack cheese. That’s one of my favorites. If the oven step is simply to melt the cheese (the photo does not look like you browned it) then couldn’t I just put the chicken and veggies back in the skillet, put cheese on top, then turn off the heat and put the lid to trap the heat and melt the cheese?

  4. We do this with sliced mushrooms on top also, sooo good!

  5. This is so good! I’ve made it twice since I saw it last week!

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