Cheesy Chicken Pasta Bake

My husband just said while eating this dinner… “This tastes like something I would order in an Italian restaurant!”.  Well that’s enough to tell me it should go into our regular rotation!

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 3 cubes cloves garlic, 2 cubes basil (dorrot frozen herbs from Trader Joe’s)                                    – or fresh garlic and basil
  • 4 frozen skinless boneless chicken tenderloins
  • 1 jar (14.5 oz or so) of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat rotini pasta or similar
  • 9 oz bag of fresh spinach
  • 2 oz. of low fat cream cheese (Sometimes labeled Neufchatel. I used a cream cheese with Greek yogurt in it.)
  • 3/4 cup shredded 2% milk mozzarella cheese (divided into 1/2 c and 1/4 c)

 

 

Heat oven to 375.  Cook pasta as directed on package, and add the spinach to the boiling pasta for the last minute of cooking.
While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet on med-high heat, add in your chicken, garlic and basil cubes (or cloves and leaves) and cook for a few minutes on both sides of chicken.  Stir in marinara sauce, diced tomatoes and oregano and bring to a boil.  Simmer on low heat for 5 min or until chicken is done.

Stir in cream cheese.  Cut chicken into smaller pieces so it’ll distribute throughout casserole.

 

 

Drain pasta mixture when done and return to pan.  Stir in chicken mixture and 1/2 c mozzarella.

 

Spoon into 11×7 or similar baking dish then top with remaining 1/4 c of cheese. Bake for 15 minutes covered, then 5 more minutes uncovered.

 

 

 

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