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Mexican Pasta Casserole

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Mexican Pasta Casserole

Serves 6 to 8.

1 pound rigatoni, ziti or other medium pasta shape, uncooked 2 teaspoons vegetable oil 1 medium onion, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 1 jalape�o, seeded and minced 3 tablespoons chili powder 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon dried oregano 8 ounces cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, julienned 1/4 cup ripe olives 1 cup (4 ounces) grated Monterey jack cheese, queso quesadilla

   or havarti with jalape�o pepper cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and jalape�o and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chili powder and stir for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and liquid, cumin and oregano. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. When pasta is done, drain well. In a bowl, combine pasta, chicken, olives, 3/4 cup of cheese, and sauce. Spoon into a 2-quart baking dish lightly sprayed with vegetable oil. Sprinkle the reserved cheese on top. Cover loosely with foil and bake until warmed through and the cheese melts, about 15 minutes


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