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This is my GO-TO dish that I take to friends and family when they are sick or are in need in some way. It’s easy to double and make a dish of it for my family at the same time. I LOVE meals like this that have everything a balanced plate needs in one dish. No side dishes necessary unless you desire it. It’s also super easy to make it vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and dairy free.

LET’S TALK BROWN RICE – I used to really not like brown rice and then I started cooking it in chicken or vegetable broth instead of straight water. This changed the brown rice game for me. It takes about 45 minutes to cook as opposed to the 12 minutes it takes white rice to cook. I always cook brown rice during the day if I’m going to need it for dinner. Mid morning I’ll put it on and when it’s done turn the heat off and let it sit on the stove till dinner time.

When I’m ready to start dinner I prep all the vegetables first. Chop the onion, Jalapenos, zucchini, mushrooms and cilantro.

For the CHICKEN – 3 Options

  1. Leave it out and go vegetarian. Add a second can of black beans if you would like for some extra protein.
  2. Cut up 2 raw chicken breasts into smallish cubes.
  3. Cut up precooked chicken. This could be leftovers from a preciously made meal, or rotisserie chicken meat.

Start by heating a large skillet. Once it is heated, drizzle in about 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the onions. Sauté for about 1 minute. IF YOU ARE USING RAW CHICKEN, add it in now with the onion. Salt and pepper a little it and sauté till the chicken is mostly cooked.

Add a little more oil as needed. Then add in the zucchini, jalapenos, mushrooms and corn.

If your family is like mine, then you will want a tiny bit more heat. For a little added spice leave some of the jalapeno seeds in with the chopped jalapeno.

For added heat, leave some of the seeds in with the jalapeno.

Next add in the rest of the ingredients. The rice, black beans, cilantro, cumin and salt. Put in the cheese leaving about a 1/2 cup to cover the top. If you are using precooked chicken, then add it now. Fold it all together.

Pour it into a lightly oiled 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serve with cornbread and butter. Also, really good with a green salad on the side.

Santa Fe Chicken Hot Dish

A southwest chicken casserole with brown rice and packed with vegetables and flavor.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Brown Rice 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American, Southwest


  • 1 9×13 baking dish


  • cups brown rice
  • cups chicken broth Use vegetable broth for vegetarian, if GF make sure the broth used is GF.
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into small cubes or use 2-3 cups of rotisserie chicken cut up
  • ½ cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into thick coins then cut into ½'s
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped optional
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1-2 shakes cayenne pepper
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheese I like a cheddar and Monterey jack blend


  • Combine the brown rice and broth in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil. Immediately turn down the heat to low and put a lid on. Cook for 45-50 minutes.
    *I often will cook the brown rice earlier in the day and let it sit and cool till I'm ready to make dinner.
    *I always fluff and make sure no liquid is left on the bottom. If there is put it back on low heat for bit till the broth is all cooked in. Brown rice can be tricky. Sometimes a taste a few pieces to make sure they are fully cooked. If needed add a couple Tablespoons of water and continue cooking on low till the water has cooked off.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with oil.
  • *If you are using rotisserie meat or leaving the meat out, then skip to the next step.
    Heat a large skillet and then add the olive oil. Carefully add the cut up chicken breast to the oil. Add some salt and pepper to taste as you sauté.
  • Add in the onions, zucchini, jalapenos, mushrooms to a hot skillet with a little oil. If you are using raw chicken breast meat, add the veggies in with the chicken.
  • Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the corn. And continue to sauté.
  • Once the corn has thawed turn off the heat. Add in the brown rice, rotisserie chicken (if this is what you are using), cilantro, cumin, cayenne, black beans and salt. Gently stir using a stir fry motion till is all combined.
  • Add in 1 cup of cheese (or more if you wish) and stir to combine.
  • Pour it all into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Keyword casserole, chicken, gluten free, hot dish, one pan meal, vegetarian, weeknight dinner