Thursday, July 11, 2013

Yummy Noodle and Chicken Bake Dish

Something new today! A couple of days ago, I ventured into the world of trying to create my own dish. I'm okay at cooking, not stellar or anything, but mostly I make really easy dishes. Like if I make chicken, I cook the chicken and then steam some veggies and that's pretty much it. Or if I make noodles, I boil the noodles, drain them and add sauce. It gets b-o-r-i-n-g after a while.

So, while this is a really simple dish, it took more effort and slightly less time than I usually put in. Which was actually kind of nice! And it is deeeeelicious!

What you need:
1 box of pasta (I used penne but you can probably use any kind you want)
1 1/2 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
2 chicken breasts
1/2 cup of cheese (or more!) - I used pepper jack and cheddar, cause it's what I had on hand. Mozzarella and parmesan would be the more classic choice.

Prep time: 15 mins (if frozen chicken)
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins

1. Thaw your chicken
If it's frozen, anyway. I always buy the big bags of frozen chicken from Costco because those have almost no fat on them and there's tons in the bag.

I like to thaw my chicken in water because it goes quicker. If I use chicken that isn't prepackaged, then I put it in a Ziploc bag.

2. Preheat oven to 350.

3. Boil water for pasta.

I used this Smart Taste stuff, which has extra fiber, but only because it was on sale. Again, use whatever kind of pasta you want.

4. Cube and cook chicken about halfway.

Cut your chicken up into small chunks. Then, put it in a pan with a little bit of oil (about a tablespoon) and cook it until it's about halfway done.

It should look like this when it's finished:

5. Cook pasta for about 5-6 minutes.

Don't cook it until it is done or even al dente. It's going to cook more in the oven.

6. Grate your cheese.

I always grate my own cheese, because I hate the idea of paying more for cheese that's shredded. You get a lot more if you buy a block, and it's really easy to shred cheese.

If you use two (or more) kinds like I did, mix it in a small bowl.

7. Add one jar of pasta sauce to cooked pasta.

Stir it in!

8. Place your pasta/sauce and your chicken into an oven-safe casserole dish.

Mine was smaller than 9x13, but it's not labeled how big it is on the bottom.

Anyway, now it looks like this. Add some cheese - about half of however much you grated. Stir it in.

9. Pour your remaining half-jar of sauce on top.

Don't stir it in right now, because we want most of the noodles to be covered by sauce so that they don't get crunchy in the oven.

10. Bake in oven for 25 minutes.

11. Take it out, add the remainder of the cheese, and return to oven for 5 additional minutes.

Now it looks like this deliciousness!

The relatively low amount of cheese in this dish keeps it slightly healthier. And if you use whole-wheat pasta, that's even better! Mine doesn't have as much chicken as I'd have liked, because we had very little left (and I share a freezer with three rommates so I don't like to hog it all). You could also make this with ground beef or Italian sausage if you want, and I'm sure it would be just as delicious!

Have any of you made anything similar to this? What did you do differently?

Linked up at: ; http://igottacreate.blogspot.com ; ; ; ; ;

1 comment:

  1. I love a pasta bake! So comforting!! This looks delicious! Thank you for sharing at All Things Pretty!