Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake

It's no secret that Carl's the cook in the kitchen and I'd rather stick to desserts.  But since he is in North Carolina while I'm up north, I have occasionally taken on the daunting task of making dinner.  Casseroles and crockpot dishes are my go-to meals because they are usually simple and I can freeze a good amount of leftovers if I chose.  With that said, I made this chicken and spinach pasta bake a couple weeks back and it was so good I ate leftovers over the remainder of the week so there was nothing to freeze!

Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake
(adapted from this recipe)

8oz rigatoni pasta (can use any type of pasta, just no bigger than rigatoni)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 10oz package of frozen spinach - thawed
3 cups cooked & cubed chicken breast (I used canned chicken to minimize prep time)
1 14oz can Italian style diced tomatoes - undrained
1 8oz container reduced fat Philadelphia Chive & Onion cream cheese - softened
1 1/2 cups 2% milk shredded mozzarella cheese - divided use

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare the pasta according to package directions.  

Spread the olive oil on the bottom of a 11x7 baking dish and add the chopped onions in a single layer.  Bake for 15 minutes and transfer to a large bowl.  Set aside.

Once thawed, thoroughly drain the spinach between paper towels.  Add the pasta, spinach, chicken, undrained tomatoes, cream cheese, and 1 cup of the shredded cheese to the bowl containing the onions.  Mix well.  Spoon mixture back into baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, uncover dish, and bake for 15 additional minutes.

I loved this dish, however the rigatoni noodles seemed a bit big when mixing in with the other ingredients.  I will definitely be making this again, but next time I'll try a little bit smaller of a noodle.  Let me know which noodle you settled on using and what you thought!        

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