Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pesto-Chicken Penne Casserole

I'm back! We're getting settled in to our new place and we finally got the internet up and running, and I have a lot of catching up to do, so I hope I haven't lost you in my absence! :) This is one of the best casseroles I have had in a while! I even used whole wheat pasta and it tasted great! What a great way to get that spinach in, too! It's just creamy and delicious! I think it was the perfect amount of pesto too- sometimes I feel like pesto can be a bit overpowering, but I thought this was just right- gave it just the right flavor! It makes a nice big batch, so this is a great one for company! When I have dishes like this, I wonder why I ever go out to eat at Italian restaurants-- sometimes it really can be created in your own kitchen! Do give this one a try!

Pesto-Chicken Penne Casserole (Simple and Delicious)
1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
6 cups cubed cooked chicken
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Italian cheese blend
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 jar (15 ounces) Alfredo sauce
1 jar (10 ounces) prepared pesto
1-1/2 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the chicken, cheese blend, spinach, tomatoes, Alfredo sauce, pesto and milk. Drain pasta and add to chicken mixture; toss to coat.
Transfer to two greased 8-in. square baking dishes. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil; sprinkle over casseroles.
Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly.
To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until bubbly. Yield: 2 casseroles (6 servings each).

Nutrition Facts: 1-1/3 cups equals 636 calories, 32 g fat (14 g saturated fat), 112 mg cholesterol, 867 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 43 g protein.
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AmyJo said...

This was so good! Thank you so much for feeding us for a couple days.

jess and seth said...

Perfect comfort food! Looks so good!