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Pesto-Chicken Penne Casseroles Recipe
Pesto-Chicken Penne Casseroles Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Pesto-Chicken Penne Casseroles Recipe

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Creamy, flavorful and so easy to fix, this meal-in-one will wow family and friends. Get ready for recipe requests for this easy chicken casserole! —Laura Kayser, Ankeny, Iowa
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 40 min.
MAKES:12 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 40 min.
MAKES: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
  • 6 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 jar (15 ounces) Alfredo sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 jar (8.1 ounces) prepared pesto
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Nutritional Facts

1-1/3 cups equals 612 calories, 30 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 111 mg cholesterol, 829 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 42 g protein.

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the chicken, cheese blend, spinach, tomatoes, Alfredo sauce, milk and pesto. Drain pasta and add to chicken mixture; toss to coat.
  2. Transfer to two greased 8-in. square baking dishes. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil; sprinkle over casseroles.
  3. Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly.
  4. To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until bubbly. Yield: 2 casseroles (6 servings each).
Originally published as Pesto-Chicken Penne Casseroles in Simple & Delicious May 2010, p59

Nutritional Facts

1-1/3 cups equals 612 calories, 30 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 111 mg cholesterol, 829 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 42 g protein.

Full-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.

Reviews for Pesto-Chicken Penne Casseroles

AVERAGE RATING
   (82)
RATING DISTRIBUTION
5 Star
 (74)
4 Star
 (6)
3 Star
 (0)
2 Star
 (1)
1 Star
 (1)
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MY REVIEW
Reviewed Aug. 19, 2014

It's not easy to please a family of 5... all of them! They all liked it and asked to make it again. I pretty much followed the recipe with some slight measuring alterations (like not measuring :-)) It was easy to put together so it is a quick busy night meal.

MY REVIEW
Reviewed Aug. 15, 2014

This casserole was a HUGE with my boys. Makes enough for a few meals. The combination of the pesto and alfredo sauce is very nice. Will be making this again and again.

MY REVIEW
Reviewed Aug. 12, 2014

I just made this for the first time. This was a hit! Time saver: I cooked and cubed the chicken the night before, so the next day when I needed to serve it, it was a snap to cook the pasta and toss everything else together. It made much more than I expected, so I split it into 3 casseroles. I loved how the spinach didn't get too soft. My variations: I used low-fat Italian cheese, 4 c. fresh baby organic spinach instead of 3 (it could have used more if you love the greens), and put tomato slices in a layer on the top, just under the crumb topping. Then I removed the lid for the last 10 minutes of baking. I didn't know if it required basil pesto or tomato, but I went with basil and it was great.

Next time I will try to lighten it up-- it was very cheesy so I'll cut the cheese back and substitute unsweetened almond milk for the 2% milk. I'll also use 5 c spinach instead of 3. It would make a great pot luck entree, with plenty enough to reserve 1 casserole for home.

MY REVIEW
Reviewed Jul. 29, 2014

Excellent. The only thin I did different was to add a can of tomatoe sauce, giving it a creamy tomatoe sauce flavor.

MY REVIEW
Reviewed Jul. 7, 2014

really really good. The seasoning is perfect. The only problem is that it doesn't hold together very well when you scoop it out of the pan. Nevertheless, I am a huge fan of this recipe and will make it again. I followed the instructions exactly.

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