Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chicken Pasta Bake

Quick, easy, and kid friendly! I must say quite lovely with a green salad and glass of Syrah.

* 8 oz. penne pasta (whole wheat)
* 1 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
* 1 28 oz. jar spaghetti sauce (I used our homemade batch from the garden!)
* 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
* 1 3 oz. package cream cheese (fat free)
* 2 cups fresh baby spinach, washed and patted dry with a paper towel
* 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (part skim)
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick spray.

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

3. Heat oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. While oil is heating, cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

4. Brown chicken in oil. Add Italian seasoning, half of the spaghetti sauce and the drained tomatoes. Let simmer 2-3 minutes.

5. Cut cream cheese into small chunks. Add to chicken and tomato sauce mixture. Simmer until cream cheese is melted.

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

7. Pour chicken mixture over pasta. Top with one cup of the shredded mozzarella. Top with the remaining spaghetti sauce, remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

8. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes, or until bubbly.

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