Southwestern Chicken and Macaroni Salad


Salsa taquera is traditional-style Mexican salsa with a thin consistency and slightly smoky flavor. Find it at Mexican markets or in the Mexican section of the grocery store. If you prefer, you can substitute your favorite salsa.

Prep Time:
18 mins
Roast Time:
20 mins
Bake Time:
18 mins
Total Time:
56 mins
11 cups


  • 2 poblano peppers, halved lengthwise*

  • 1 25 ounce package frozen fully cooked crispy chicken strips

  • 8 ounce dried large elbow macaroni

  • ½ 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened

  • 1 7 ounce can salsa taquera** or 3/4 cup salsa

  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place peppers on baking sheet, cut sides down. Roast for 20 minutes or until skin is blistered and charred. Bring the foil up around peppers and fold edges together to enclose. Let stand about 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Using a sharp knife, loosen edges of the skins. Gently pull off skin and discard. Remove stems, seeds, and membranes. Chop peppers.

  2. Cook chicken and macaroni according to package directions. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and rinse well under cold water. Set aside. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch-thick pieces.

  3. In a large bowl combine cream cheese and half the salsa. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth; gradually beat in remaining salsa. Add chopped peppers and macaroni; toss to combine. Gently fold in avocado and chicken. Serve at once or cover and chill up to 2 hours.

    Southwestern Chicken and Macaroni Salad
    Andy Lyons

*Handling Hot Peppers:

Because hot chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, avoid contact with chiles as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands do touch the chile peppers, wash your hands well with soap and water.


Salsa taquera is a traditional Mexican salsa; it is available in cans and jars from several different companies.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

312 Calories
14g Fat
30g Carbs
17g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 312
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 37mg 12%
Sodium 600mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 17g
Vitamin C 20.3mg 102%
Calcium 20mg 2%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 176mg 4%
Folate, total 69.3mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.1mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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