6 Delicious Weeknight Meals, #6
The inlaws are coming over for an impromptu dinner and you haven’t planned anything! Allow this cheesy chicken pasta casserole to be your saving grace. My kids aren’t usually too thrilled when I tell them we are having any sort of pasta bake, but they ask for cheesy chicken pasta casserole by name now. They just call it chicken noodles, but I know what they mean.
I imagine that you could also make this with ham or ground beef if you would rather not have chicken, but I haven’t tried it that way before. If you have a big crowd, you better double up on this recipe for sure. If there are any leftovers, don’t worry about it, they heat up just perfectly the next day. I think they are even better.
This cheesy chicken pasta casserole is going on the regular menu at our house as well!
2 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
24 oz jar of Bertolli tomato & basil sauce
6 oz can of large black olives, drained
14 1/2 oz can of Hunt’s diced tomatoes
1 lb package of Barilla penne pasta
1 large red onion, medium dice
2 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1 Tbsp oregano, dried
1 Tbsp basil, dried
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper, fresh ground
1 Tbsp parsley flakes, dried
1 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced
6 Slices cherry tomatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
Take a large pot and fill over halfway with water and add salt to cook your penne in. Let it start heating up while you prep all the other ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 350. Take a large casserole dish and coat it with olive oil and or pam inside. Make sure there are no places that are not oiled and set aside.
Take the 2 large chicken breasts and cube them into bite size pieces and add to a bowl once done. Wash your hands thoroughly after cutting the chicken up. Using a different cutting board dice up your red onion.
Take your can of black olives and drain well. Cut them into halves and put them into a separate small bowl for later usage.
Using a wok or a large sautee pan add the olive oil to the pan and allow to heat up. Once ready add the chicken breasts, onions, minced garlic, herbs and seasonings. Stir this mixture till the chicken is fully cooked.
Once the chicken is fully cooked add the jar of tomato sauce, the undrained diced tomatoes and bring this mixture up to a light boil. Drop it down to a slow simmer till the pasta is done.
While the sauce is simmering add your penne to the boiling and salted water. Cook following the directions on the package.
Once the pasta is cooked drain it very well. Cut the heat off on the sauce and add the pasta to the pan then add the black olives. Stir very well making sure everything is coated and mixed together nicely.
Slowly add this mixture to your casserole dish making sure to get everything out of your pan. Top with the sliced fresh mozzarella cheese and sliced cherry tomatoes and place into the oven.
Bake till the cheese is melted and a nice golden brown approximately about 30 minutes, but check it after about 20 mins. Once cheese is melted and golden brown remove from the oven.
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Quick Tip: Give this cheesy chicken pasta casserole a pizza kick and toss in some pepperoni!