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
   (84)
RATING DISTRIBUTION
5 Star
 (75)
4 Star
 (6)
3 Star
 (0)
2 Star
 (2)
1 Star
 (1)
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MY REVIEW
Reviewed Sep. 2, 2014

It was just way too garlicky for us. I followed the recipe to a "tee" as I always do when I am trying a recipe for the first time. We just didn't care for it.

MY REVIEW
Reviewed Sep. 1, 2014

This turned out awesome! I left out the pesto (due to allergies) and bread crumbs (personal preference) and it still turned out great! I will definitely be making this one again!

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.

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