September 12, 2011

Three-Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine

I am quite the casserole maven lately! Speaking of which, here is another casserole recipe that I have had saved in the vault for awhile. (By vault, I mean I had it saved in a desktop computer folder.)

This turned out super yummy and was a big hit with 'the fam'. Really, what's not to like about cheese, chicken, and pasta??? At least that's what my brood is into, anyway. Best of all, this seemed way more decadent and splurgy than it really was, thanks to Cooking Light.

(Sidenote: I love, love, LOVE it when my kids gobble up a dinner that I make, without complaint. It warms the cockles of my heart! Not to mention it's quite the ego boost...I feel all Suzy Homemaker-ish.)

Three-Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine
From: Cooking Light, March 2006

1 teaspoon olive oil
Cooking spray
3 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) carton 2% low-fat cottage cheese
4 cups hot cooked penne (about 8 ounces uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
2 cups shredded roasted skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup, undiluted

Preheat oven to 425°.

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add spinach, oregano, and black pepper; sauté 3 minutes or just until spinach wilts.

Place cottage cheese in a food processor; process until very smooth. Combine spinach mixture, cottage cheese, pasta, chicken, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, milk, and soup in a large bowl. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Note: You can cook the pasta mixture in individual eight-ounce ramekins; bake for 15 minutes.

The Result:
In re-reading this recipe, I realized that I left out some key ingredients. DOH! Seriously!!! I left out the condensed soup and milk. I used 1% cottage cheese and cooked the whole box of penne, instead of measuring out the right quantity. I didn't even use the right kind of oregano (I used dried, not fresh). I totally goofed this up...AND it was still delicious! I must have been really distracted when I was making dinner tonight; that's all I can say about that. Ugh. Anyway, our version was tasty; but I'm sure if you made this dish correctly it would be even better. Oh well, I guess I just have an excuse to make it again to see how it is supposed to taste. Apparently, this "casserole maven" needs to learn how to read a recipe properly...yeesh.

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