Southwestern Skillet Chicken Chili Mac

by Amy on 28 December 2012

i’m always looking for new quick-to-make dinners, so when i saw a recipe for Skillet Chicken Chili Mac on my friend Georgia’s blog, i had to try it. i love pasta, i love comfort food AND i love anything southwestern/mexican, + since this recipe combines all three, i had a good feeling about it. not surprisingly, it turned out absolutely wonderful – as predicted, totally my type of meal.

basically, what you have is a tangy chicken, black bean + kidney bean chili, cooked in a skillet with pasta + chicken broth to make an awesome, flavorful chili mac. and as an added bonus, this meal is actually pretty darn healthy – it has about 300 calories per serving, is full of lean, low-fat protein + high in fiber. you can certainly serve it as is, but i like mine topped with a little sour cream, fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime, + a bit of shredded cheddar. so, if you’re looking for a meal that both tastes delicious AND can help you squeeze back into those pre-holiday jeans, give this a try!

Southwestern Skillet Chicken Chili Mac

serves 6-8, adapted from The Comfort Of Cooking


1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb. (2) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks OR 2 cups shredded, already-cooked chicken
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 15oz. can kidney beans, rinsed + drained
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed + drained
4 cups (32 oz.) low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups short pasta, like elbows, bowties, or cavatappi (use whole grain pasta for an extra healthy addition!)

optional toppings:
shredded mexican blend or cheddar cheese
chopped fresh cilantro
sour cream or plain yogurt
green onions
hot sauce


in a medium bowl, combine chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt + pepper. add chicken (either uncooked chunks, or already cooked/shredded, depending on what you’re using) + toss to coat.

heat a large skillet to medium-high. once hot, add the vegetable oil to the pan, then add the seasoned chicken + onion. if using uncooked chicken, cook until chicken is no longer pink. if using already-cooked chicken, cook for about 5-7 minutes, until spices are toasted + onions are translucent. add garlic + cook 1 more minute.

add diced tomatoes with chiles, tomato paste, black beans, kidney beans, + chicken broth. bring to a boil. add pasta + cover pot, stirring occasionally. cook until pasta is al dente, according to package directions.

serve + top with desired toppings. enjoy!

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy (Savory Moments) December 28, 2012 at 5:48 am

This looks like a fun and flavorful dish. I love Tex-Mex foods and flavors, so I’m sure I would enjoy this.

2 danielle December 28, 2012 at 9:53 am

I bet my family would love this – it looks great.

3 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking December 28, 2012 at 9:58 am

I’m so glad you enjoyed this dish, Amy! It looks so delish I just might have to make it again soon! Thanks for sharing. :)

4 amy December 28, 2012 at 10:06 am

thank *you* for the awesome recipe, Georgia! and you should make it again soon – both the husband + I loved it, both the first night i made it, + as leftovers the following days. so good!

5 Jackie @ The Beeroness December 28, 2012 at 11:23 am

I sort of want to put a fried egg on this and have it for breakfast.

6 amy December 28, 2012 at 11:30 am

Ooh, i loooove the way you think!

7 Elizabeth December 28, 2012 at 11:35 am

This looks like such a tasty and easy meal to throw together! I love the chicken, spices and pasta that it calls for!

8 Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet December 28, 2012 at 11:52 am

Love this! We are huge fans of Southwestern food so I know this is going to be a huge hit! Hope you had wonderful Christmas, Amy!

9 amy December 28, 2012 at 11:54 am

I did! I hope your family had a great Christmas, too, Anna!

10 Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious December 28, 2012 at 11:55 am

Yes, yes and yes. You’ve combined all of my favorite things into one gorgeous meal. And I’m with Jackie on the runny yolk!

11 Tracey December 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Oh yes, I am all about the skillet meals – I love this! I bet the leftovers are good too :)

12 amy December 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm

the leftovers are amazing – they get even more flavorful after a day or two in the fridge. mmmmm.

13 angela @ another bite please December 28, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I am so there with you…pasta, comfort, mexican..yep yep yep…can’t wait to try this! Hope you have a Happy New Year!

14 Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen December 28, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I can’t believe this is low calorie! It looks way too yummy for that :)

15 amy December 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I know, i thought the same thing when i read the original recipe! but sure enough, it’s both healthy AND delicious – i love dishes like that. =)

16 luv what you do December 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Oh wow…that looks wonderful!
I love easy new recipes to try and this one mixes all the best flavors : )

17 Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen December 28, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Oh this looks so yummy! I am on the hunt for healthy after this month of total over indulgence! Thanks for sharing Amy!

18 SpecialtyCakeCreations December 28, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Ahhh…all your comfort food pasta dishes make me swoooon! Love the southwest/mexican twist!

19 Kelsey @ K&K Test Kitchen December 28, 2012 at 11:34 pm

yum!! you had me from the beginning, but you totally hooked me with the fact that this is even remotely healthy. i was going to make it anyways, but now i *have* to make it haha!

20 amy December 28, 2012 at 11:46 pm

bahaha, i felt the same way when i read the original recipe! i was going to make it regardless of how healthy it was, + the healthiness factor just made it even better!

21 Kathryn December 29, 2012 at 5:16 am

This sounds really tasty, so flavourful and delicious!

22 claire @ the realistic nutritionist December 29, 2012 at 11:34 am

Oh mama. I want to come over to your house for dinner.

23 amy December 29, 2012 at 11:39 am

nothing would make me happier!

24 Ashley - Baker by Nature December 29, 2012 at 11:43 am

oooooo yes, yes, and YES! Happy New Year, Amy!

25 wendy (the weekend gourmet) December 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I’m so far behind with everyone since starting my new job this fall! wanted to wish you a very happy (belated) holiday season, dear friend! here’s to a fabulous 2013…and this dish is a great way to kick that off!!

26 Sammie December 30, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Wow Amy!!! Seeing your pictures and reading your blog makes me realize how much I’ve missed American food!! It’s crazy how certain ingredients are just so impossible to find here! like CHEESE!!! There doesn’t seem to be any variety of cheese at all :( Take care and Happy New Year to you!!

27 amy December 31, 2012 at 4:00 am

Ooh, I love cheese so much – it would be hard for me to live without it! If you ever need for me to mail you some cheese, let me know. =)

28 Erin @ Texanerin Baking December 31, 2012 at 4:33 am

I swear… your husband is the luckiest. I just wanna make fried chicken all the time. 😀

Congratulations on not making this look like… you know. Very nice job!

Happy New Year’s Eve, Amy!

29 amy December 31, 2012 at 10:01 am

Bahaha, he would be mighty happy if I just wanted to make fried chicken all the time, too – it’s one of his favorite foods. =) Happy New Year’s Eve to you, too!

30 kristen @ notsodomesticated December 31, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I saw this while we were on vacation in Florida, and I went out and bought the ingredients today! It will be dinner tonight! :) Thanks for the idea … I’ll let ya know how it turns out!

31 amy December 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm

awesome, i can’t wait to hear how you all like it!

32 Jen @ Savory Simple January 1, 2013 at 7:42 am

Such a cozy cold weather dish. I love it! Happy New Year :)

33 Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl January 1, 2013 at 11:01 am

This recipe looks awesome – I know it would be a hit with everyone in my house! Perfect for a day like today – we’re getting snow here. Have a wonderful New Year, friend!

34 natalie@thesweetslife January 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm

always looking for new mexican meals! this sounds great!!

35 JulieD January 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm

This looks so good, Amy!! I love Georgia’s blog too!

36 EA-The Spicy RD January 3, 2013 at 9:11 am

This looks delicious Amy and I love that you can cook it all up in once big skillet! I’m pretty sure my kids & hubby would love this too. Hope your new year is off to a fabulous start!

37 Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings January 3, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Amy, when can I come over with my fork? Hehe. This one looks delish! Can eat this forever…ok, maybe not.

38 Megan {Country Cleaver} January 3, 2013 at 10:50 pm

I need a big giant fork right now. This has it goin’ ON!!

39 Megan @ girl by the lake January 4, 2013 at 7:59 am

This looks amazing! + I’m almost positive Eric would literally lap this one right on up…and then request again in the future. Definitely added to my must-make list!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season! Happy 2013!

40 amy January 4, 2013 at 9:22 am

Happy 2013 to you, too, m’dear! =)

41 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts January 4, 2013 at 11:48 am

Oh yeah! I remember seeing this on Georgia’s site – now I am drooling all over again!

42 steph@stephsbitebybite January 5, 2013 at 7:31 am

Totally craving this for dinner now!

43 Nik@ABrownTable January 7, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Happy New Year, Amy. This is making me hungry right now!

44 Beth January 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm

With so many flavors that I love, this dish sounds great!

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