Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pesto-Chicken Pasta

This recipe comes from one of my daycare moms and friend, Denise. She made this during our latest freezer swap. I had actually thawed it out to make on Monday night for a quick dinner, but Josh decided he wanted to grill steaks and eat later than planned. Instead I served up half of this for lunch yesterday for the kiddos and sent the other half home with another daycare mom. Her hubby is out of town for a few days on work and I thought she'd appreciate a little help getting dinner on the table.

I'm usually pretty willing to try just about anything when it comes to food, but sometimes I'm better off not knowing what ingredients are used. I'm not a big fan of Alfredo sauce, I don't know what it is, maybe it's just the fact that it's a white creamy sauce and we never ate chicken Alfredo growing up...ever.

I was really surprised to find Alfredo sauce as one of the ingredients, but it's okay because I loved this dish! The kids ate really well for lunch so I knew they enjoyed it too. We can also feel good about sneaking some extra greens in their bellies.

When preparing this recipe you can make one bigger 9x13 pan or two smaller 8x8 pans. Denise actually threw the mixture in a gallon sized freezer bag when we exchanged our meals and it froze wonderfully.

Pesto-Chicken Pasta

1 lb. penne pasta
2-3 diced, cooked chicken breasts
16 oz. shredded Italian cheese blend
3 c fresh baby spinach
15 oz. crushed tomatoes
15 oz. jar Alfredo sauce
1-1/2 c milk
8.1 oz. jar prepared pesto
1/2 c Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp olive oil

Cook pasta according to package directions. While that's cooking, in a large bowl combine chicken, cheese blend, spinach, tomatoes, Alfredo sauce, milk and pesto. Drain pasta and add to chicken mixture. Toss together well to coat.

Transfer to two greased 8x8-inch baking pans. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil. Sprinkle over dishes. Bake at 350 for about 30-35 mins or until heated through.

If freezing, let cool completely and then cover and place in freezer. When ready to use, thaw in fridge overnight and bake.

Each casserole should serve 6 people

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