Chicken Pasta & Spinach Bake

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chicken-pasta-bake
We eat a lot of pasta in our home. Seriously, I could eat it every day and never get tired of it. So I am always looking for ways to make it a little different when plain noodles and sauce just won’t do.

I discovered my favorite way to enjoy pasta is baked. This hearty dish is similar to baked ziti, with some veggies snuck in. My kids adore this dish and go back for seconds! It is also a fantastic way to use up leftover cooked chicken breast. No one will ever know!

Chicken Pasta and Spinach Bake

Ingredients:

8 oz. penne pasta
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1 28 oz. jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 3 oz. package cream cheese
2 cups fresh baby spinach
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a  9 x 13 baking dish.

Cook pasta according to package directions for “al dente.” Drain. Pour into prepared baking dish.

Heat oil in a large saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat.

Add chicken, seasonings, half of the spaghetti sauce and the drained tomatoes. Let simmer 2-3 minutes.

tomatoes-chicken-sautee

Cut cream cheese into small chunks. Add to chicken and tomato sauce mixture. Simmer until cream cheese is melted. It will turn a delightfully creamy shade of orange… mmmm.

cream-cheese-tomatoes

Stir in spinach. Cook another minute, until spinach wilts slightly.

spinach-tomatoes

Pour chicken mixture over pasta, mix well.

pasta

Top with one cup of the shredded mozzarella. Top with the remaining spaghetti sauce, remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

pasta-casserole

Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes, or until bubbly. Serve with a crisp salad and garlic bread.

This will also freeze well as a make-ahead dish. Double the recipe and save one for next time you are craving some Italian comfort food!

This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

Comments

  1. says

    That recipe sounds yummy. I need to find more interesting pasta recipes with no egg or dairy since my daughter is allergic to them (and peanuts too). I love pasta, but I admit that I am not very creative with it.
    .-= Honey´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday =-.

  2. Shirley says

    Looks delicious! I think I’ll have my husband make this for me soon!
    .-= Shirley´s last blog ..Computer Shopping and Personal Finance =-.

  3. Alison @ Hospitality Haven says

    Oh my gosh! What a fabulous recipe! I’ll definitely be giving this a try. I’m glad I found your blog through Tasty Tuesday! :)

  4. Amber says

    That looks so good!! I love one dish meals around here. Whether it be some type of casserole or bake or crockpot meal.

    ~Amber
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..Bath and Body Works: Free Lip Care Item w/Any Purchase =-.

  5. says

    I feel that we are pasta soulmates. Seriously, anyone who tells me that they could eat pasta every day and never tire of it is a friend of mine. Looks delicious, and I’m loving the fact that leftovers can be used!

  6. smilinggreenmom says

    Okay – I am officially hungry now! This looks wonderful :) I love pasta so much and just about anything with tomato sauce and cheese!!! My recent find on pasta is one that uses Kamut Khorasan Wheat flour – the texture was great and it is so healthy! Have you tried this one yet? I must try your recipe with the spinach, thanks!

  7. says

    Just wanted to say that I made this tonight and it was a hit! My husband and I really liked it – so did the kids. Thanks so much for sharing!
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Saturday Link Love =-.

  8. Lindsay says

    I will def. make this within the next week!
    One pasta dish we really like and I’ve been asked to make for my mother-in-laws work and a funeral is:
    Creamy Resturant Style Tortellini
    2 pks (9 oz. ea) tortellini
    4 oz. cream cheese
    1 c. of milk
    6 tbs. grated parm. cheese (I always use more :D)
    pepper
    1 pk (6 oz.) baby spinach leaves (again I add probably double)
    1 c. quartered cherry tomatoes

    Cook pasta according to package and set aside, place cream cheese (I cut in small pieces – to cook faster) in lg. skillet and add milk, cook on med-low heat until cream cheese is melted and well blended, stir often…mix in about 4 tbs. parm. and some pepper, add spinach and mix well, (I then like to put in a pretty serving dish and then do the last step), sprinkle with tomatoes and remaining parm. We like to eat it with garlic/cheese bread
    Let me know if you try it and what you think!!!
    Thanks for the recipe!

    • Alyssa Francis says

      Thanks for sharing this dish, Lindsay, it sounds delicious! I love using cream cheese in pasta dishes. Makes it extra yummy. :) I will certainly try this, I think my kids would enjoy it too.

  9. says

    I’ve been surfing around follow blogger’s pages, trying to find various fun things to comment on. AS I’m a huge food lover, and pasta is a house favorite, this really caught my eye. I look forward to trying it and pairing it with a nice wine. I’ll have to stop by and let you know when I finally get the chance to make it.

    Cheers,
    Matt
    .-= Matt mmWine Horbund´s last blog ..WBW68 Domaine Ruet Chiroubles – Cru Beaujolais =-.

  10. Kelly says

    Made this last night. It was delish! My entire family ate it, including my extremely picky 3 yr old who won’t any vegetables (she didn’t even know she was eating spinach and tomatoes)!

    My hubby even had this for breakfast the next morning he liked it that much. I used some left over chicken from a roasted chicken I had made…so this really helped stretch our meal budget. Thanks!

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