Easy Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken

Bowl of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken with a dollop of sour cream and a tortilla chip dipped in.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
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Bowl of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken with a dollop of sour cream and a tortilla chip dipped in.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Their eyes, intensely focused on me, conveyed urgency and despair. Words that shot through their lips were sharp. The air was thick with tension. Was this an angry mob? No, this was my family…looking for dinner. Again. Is this a familiar scene?? Yes, well then, you are probably a Mom. But here is a make-ahead dinner to turn this nightly nightmare into a beautiful dream.  This is my Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers Skillet with Ground Chicken!

This recipe takes a stuffed pepper and deconstructs it is so it’s super easy to make.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cilantro, cheese, and corn tortillas. Finally, nutty and hearty brown rice is mixed and cooked in with all of this goodness to created one delicious dinner.  It’s smokey, savory, hearty, and utterly delicious!

Want more tips for making busy family dinners easier?  Click here for my Free Printable 5 Simple Steps to Easy Family Dinners!

BELL PEPPERS HAVE MORE VITAMIN C THAN ORANGES!

Bell peppers come in a variety of colors and add so much color and flavor to recipes!  But, aside from looking pretty and tasting good, they also have some wonderful health benefits!  They are low in calories and exceptionally rich in vitamins and antioxidants.  Bell peppers are rich in Vitamin C and are a great source for vitamins B6, K1, A, and E.  In fact, bell peppers have more vitamin C than oranges!  One medium-sized red bell pepper provides 169% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C.  They also have minerals, such as potassium and folate.

So eat bell peppers for a snack or add them to scrambled eggs, mix into salads, or try them in these recipes:

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Nothing special for this one! Just a medium pot with lid for the rice and a wide-bottom pot, such as a dutch oven. My prized possession dutch oven was perfect for this! Or any good quality enameled cast iron 5-6 quart dutch oven with lid is great.

PREP-AHEAD TO MAKE YOUR TEX MEX UNSTUFFED PEPPERS

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below)

Clean the bell peppers and discard the seeds and membranes. Rough chop into 1/2 to 1 inch chunks. Chop the cilantro.

Chopped green and red bell peppers and cilantro on a cutting board for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

The corn tortillas act as a thickener as well as bring a familiar corn flavor to this dish!  Cut them into 1 inch long, 1/4 inch thick strips. Measure out all of the seasonings (onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and salt).

Hand holding tortillas cut into strips for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Can I use any other types of peppers?

Absolutely!  Poblano or Cubanelle peppers would be fantastic peppers to include.  These are less sweet than bell peppers, but do not carry much heat, so still a nice mild option.  If you want to add heat, then jalapeno peppers would be a great addition.  Of course, you can go with other peppers that carry even more heat, but then you are getting into “spicy” territory and I know my kids would run the other direction! 

Can I use fresh onion and garlic?

Of course fresh is always a preference, however, that will add prep time for dicing and mincing.  If you have the time, great!  When you get to the cooking steps, you will add these in half way through the chicken cooking. So you start searing and browning the chicken, then stir and add the onions and garlic, finish cooking the chicken, and then continue to follow the steps from there.

COOK YOUR TEX MEX UNSTUFFED PEPPERS

For the rice, I used a medium-grain brown rice because it adds more flavor than white rice.  However, you can of course use any rice that you prefer.  You can cook it ahead and store the rice in the fridge. Just warm it up before adding it to the pot in the step below.

Everything else cooks in one large pot.  I start with the peppers and then remove them while cooking the chicken so that they don’t get too mushy.  Cook the peppers only for 3-4 minutes, just until they start to glisten. Transfer the peppers to a plate.

Chopped green and red bell peppers cooking in pot for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

To the same pot/pan on high heat, add the ground chicken and seasoning blend.  Mix to combine, then let sit! Let it brown on one side for 3-4 minutes. Then stir again and let cook through for another 4-5 minutes, until there is no longer any pink – stirring after a few minutes to ensure even cooking.

Hand holding small bowl of seasonings over ground chicken cooking in pot for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Seasoned ground chicken cooking in pot for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Once the chicken is cooked, mix in the peppers you set aside, the canned diced tomatoes, green chilies, and tortilla strips. Turn the heat to Medium and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, mix in the rice and cook for a final 5 minutes covered.

Pouring broth into pot with ground chicken cooking, peppers, and tomatoes for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Mixing cooked rice into pot with ground chicken cooking, peppers, and tomatoes for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Turn off the heat and mix in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (the remaining will go on top) and chopped cilantro (leave a small amount for garnish).

Adding shredded cheese to pot of cooked Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Pot of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken and cheese sprinkled on top op.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Serve a heaping bowlful with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese and cilantro.

Can I freeze this?

Yes, this will freeze quite well.  Cool the cooked recipes in the fridge first, then freeze in a freezer-safe container.  It will keep for 4-6 months.  When you’re ready to eat it, thaw it in the fridge for 24 hours before reheating.  You can also reheat it from frozen state in the oven 350 F degrees for 60 minutes or until the center is hot.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Bowl of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken with a dollop of sour cream and a tortilla chip dipped in.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!

Bowl of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken with a dollop of sour cream and a tortilla chip dipped in.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
5 from 1 vote
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Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken

Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken takes a stuffed pepper and deconstructs it is so it's super easy to make.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, and corn tortillas. Finally, nutty and hearty brown rice is mixed and cooked in with all of this goodness to created one delicious dinner.  It's smokey, savory, hearty, and utterly delicious!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chicken recipes, easy dinner, ground chicken, rice, stuffed peppers, Tex Mex
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 379 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Uncooked Brown Rice (you can use white)
  • 3 Sweet Bell Peppers (red, yellow, green, or orange)
  • 1 pound Ground Chicken (I used 99% lean)
  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 1.5 tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 28 ounces Diced Tomatoes
  • 4 ounces Green Chilies (1 can)
  • 5 Corn tortillas, size 6”
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

Optional Toppings (not included in Calories per serving)

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

Instructions

Prep Steps

  1. Clean the bell peppers and discard the seeds and membranes. Rough chop into 1/2 to 1 inch chunks. Chop the cilantro.

    Chopped green and red bell peppers and cilantro on a cutting board for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
  2. Cut the tortillas into 1 inch long, 1/4 inch thick strips. Measure out all of the seasonings (onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and salt).

    Hand holding tortillas cut into strips for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Cooking Steps

  1. Cook the rice. Rinse the rice under water in a strainer until the water runs clear. Add to 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt and bring up to a boil. Turn the water down to a low simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Once the rice is done, turn off the heat, but leave the pot covered and undisturbed until you are ready to use. (NOTE: you can also do this step ahead and store the rice in the fridge. Just warm it up before adding it to the pot in the step below).)

  2. Preheat a large pot/pan on High heat. To the hot pan, add the olive oil and chopped peppers. Stir to coat in oil and then let cook for 3-4 minutes, just until they start to glisten. Transfer the peppers to a plate.

    Chopped green and red bell peppers cooking in pot for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
  3. To the same pot/pan on high heat, add another teaspoon of olive oil, the ground chicken, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Mix to combine, then let sit! Let it brown on one side for 3-4 minutes. Then stir again and let cook through for another 4-5 minutes, until there is no longer any pink – stirring after a few minutes to ensure even cooking.

    Seasoned ground chicken cooking in pot for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, mix in the peppers you set aside, the canned diced tomatoes, green chilies, and tortilla strips. Turn the heat to Medium and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, mix in the rice and cook for a final 5 minutes covered.

    Pouring broth into pot with ground chicken cooking, peppers, and tomatoes for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
  5. Turn off the heat and mix in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (the remaining will go on top) and chopped cilantro (leave a small amount for garnish).

    Adding shredded cheese to pot of cooked Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
  6. Serve a heaping bowlful with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese and cilantro. Enjoy!

    Bowl of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken with a dollop of sour cream and a tortilla chip dipped in.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

One Pan Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake with Rice

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One Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake in casserole dish.  On the bottom you get flavorful rice topped with chicken, salty ham, nutty and melty swiss cheese, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping!

Cozy.  Easy.  Warm.  Delicious.  These are the words that describe my perfect Fall recipes and I’ve just added one more to the list!  This One Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake with Rice has layers of deliciousness.  On the bottom, the flavorful rice cooks right in the oven.  That’s right, no cooking it separately on the stove!  On top of the perfectly cooked rice, you have the chicken, salty ham, nutty and melty swiss cheese, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping!  This cozy, warm, comforting, and delicious family dinner is yours for any busy night!

Want more tips for making busy family dinners easier?  Click here for my Free Printable 5 Simple Steps to Easy Family Dinners!

All the Flavor Without the Hassle

Traditional Chicken Cordon Bleu is a labor-intensive process.  It requires pounding out the chicken, rolling in the ham and cheese, then breading the outside and frying it.  But you can get all of that amazing flavor in this MUCH easier version!  

Here are a few other classics made easier!

Piece of One Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake on a plate with fork holding a bite.  On the bottom you get flavorful rice topped with chicken, salty ham, nutty and melty swiss cheese, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping!

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  But, I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

For this recipe, you need a large casserole dish that’s approximately 10×10, 12×12, 10×13 or similar.

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR CHICKEN CORDON BLEU BAKE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you prepare in the day(s) in advance and store in the fridge… (See the full recipe below)

 This recipe has only a few easy steps:

  1. Mix & Bake the rice
  2. Prep the chicken while rice bakes
  3. Add the chicken, ham, and cheese.  Bake again.
  4. Add breadcrumb topping and Bake final 5 minutes!

The rice cooks for 20 minutes before adding the chicken.  The reason for this is so the rice absorbs the water and fluffs up first.  If you add the chicken from the start it will boil in the liquid and overcook.

While the rice cooks, slice chicken breasts from the side to create 2 thin breasts.

Knife slicing raw chicken for One Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake.  On the bottom you get flavorful rice topped with chicken, salty ham, nutty and melty swiss cheese, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping!

Sliced raw chicken for One Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake.  On the bottom you get flavorful rice topped with chicken, salty ham, nutty and melty swiss cheese, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping!

Season with the salt, pepper, and oregano. Lay the chicken flat on a plate or cutting board. Layer 1 slice of ham folded on top of the chicken. Layer the swiss cheese slice folded on top of the ham.

Sliced raw chicken with deli ham and slice of cheese on top for One Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake.  On the bottom you get flavorful rice topped with chicken, salty ham, nutty and melty swiss cheese, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping!

Can I use a different cheese?

You can use any cheese you like of course.  However, you will want a full-flavored cheese that can bring something to this dish.  Gruyere is great, manchego, or even a sharp cheddar can work great!  You can also use sliced or shredded.

COOK YOUR CHICKEN CORDON BLEU BAKE

After your rice has precooked, it’s time to add the prepped chicken!  Bake for another 20 minutes.  While the chicken bakes, make the breadcrumb topping.  After 20 minutes, add it to the top of the cheese and bake for another 5 minutes turning the broiler on low to get a golden brown crispy topping!

Sliced raw chicken with deli ham and slice of cheese on top for One Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake.  On the bottom you get flavorful rice topped with chicken, salty ham, nutty and melty swiss cheese, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping!

One Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake in casserole dish.  On the bottom you get flavorful rice topped with chicken, salty ham, nutty and melty swiss cheese, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping!

Can I freeze this bake?

Once the casserole is cooked, you can freeze it after first cooling it and then tightly covering it. It can stay in the freezer for up to 4 months. To cook it again, cover with aluminum foil and bake 350 F for 1 hour if thawed, 1 1/2 hours if frozen.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

One Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake in casserole dish.  On the bottom you get flavorful rice topped with chicken, salty ham, nutty and melty swiss cheese, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping!
Piece of One Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake on a plate with fork.  On the bottom you get flavorful rice topped with chicken, salty ham, nutty and melty swiss cheese, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake with Rice

This One Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake with Rice has layers of deliciousness.  On the bottom, the flavorful rice cooks right in the oven.  That's right, no cooking it separately on the stove!  On top of the perfectly cooked rice, you have the chicken, salty ham, nutty and melty swiss cheese, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping!  This cozy, warm, comforting, and delicious family dinner is yours for any busy night! #chickencordonbleu #chickenbake #chickendinnerideas

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, French
Keyword casserole, chicken, chicken dinner, one pan meal, one pot
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 411 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Rice

  • 1 1/2 cups White Long Grain rice
  • 3 cups Chicken Broth (or 3 cups Water + 3 tsp Chicken Base)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Chicken

  • 1 lb chicken breasts, skinless, boneless (raised w/o antibiotics)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 4 slices Smoked deli ham
  • 4 slices Swiss Cheese (or gruyere)

Breadcrumb Topping

  • 1/4 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees

  2. Add all rice ingredients to casserole dish. Stir to combine, then tightly cover with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake in oven for 20 minutes.

  3. While the rice cooks, slice chicken breasts from the side to create 2 thin breasts. Season with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano. Lay the chicken flat on a plate or cutting board. Layer 1 slice of ham folded on top of the chicken. Layer the swiss cheese slice folded on top of the ham.

    Sliced raw chicken with deli ham and slice of cheese on top for One Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake.  On the bottom you get flavorful rice topped with chicken, salty ham, nutty and melty swiss cheese, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping!
  4. Make the breadcrumb topping by mixing the ingredients together in a small bowl

  5. After 20 minutes, take the rice out and add the chicken slices layered to the top in a line. Cover and bake for another 20 minutes.

    Sliced raw chicken with deli ham and slice of cheese on top for One Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake.  On the bottom you get flavorful rice topped with chicken, salty ham, nutty and melty swiss cheese, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping!
  6. Remove the cover and sprinkle the breadcrumb topping on top. Put it back in the oven with the broiler setting on low for 5 minutes to brown the topping. Watch to make sure it doesn't burn.

    One Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake in casserole dish.  On the bottom you get flavorful rice topped with chicken, salty ham, nutty and melty swiss cheese, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping!
  7. To serve, use a spatula to scoop out the rice, chicken and topping. Enjoy!

    Piece of One Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake on a plate with fork.  On the bottom you get flavorful rice topped with chicken, salty ham, nutty and melty swiss cheese, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping!