I grew up eating a lot of casserole as a kid. No complaints… as a kid I loved just about any kind of casserole my mom put on the table. I am sure that I have mentioned this before, but the Northern Midwest area of the United States is known for its casseroles or as we call them “hot dishes”.
To this day I love a good casserole, so when I found this casserole with pasta, chicken, and cheese I knew that it would be on the menu for the weekend. Now really, who could resist a dish with chicken, pasta, and a whole lot of cheese?
I did change a few things around on this recipe to accommodate the items that were in my pantry, but it was a hit. This is a great dish if you are cooking for a crowd, because it makes a large 9-by-13 baking dish full of delicious casserole, if you’re not cooking for a crowd the leftovers will be greatly appreciated the next day.
Cheesy Chicken and Pasta Casserole (Source: adapted from pauladeen.com)
1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup half and half or milk
2 (14.5 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes
2 cups of spaghetti sauce
3 to 4 cups of chopped cooked chicken
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese (divided)
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (16 ounce) package pasta (your favorite style) cooked according to package directions and kept warm
1 Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Spray a 13-by-9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray,
2. In a very large skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes or until onion is tender. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, Stir in the half and half, diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in chicken, cheddar cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Once the chicken is mixed in stir in the pasta until well blended. Spoon the mixture into prepared baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese.
3. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until hot and bubbly.