Happy Monday Blog Fans! I was on vacation between Christmas and New Year’s, so during that time I spent time in one of my favorite places – my kitchen. I find that I turn to the same old pasta casserole recipes again and again – so I thought it would be great to try something new. The first time you make a new recipe, it is time consuming. You don’t know the steps. It’s hard to picture. That’s why I write these posts for you the way I do – with pictures. To help you see what the process looks like. Making meals at home really is the most nutritious way to eat. You never know the sodium, fat and calories in restaurant and take-out food – and let’s not even talk about the portion sizes. But the only way to keep things interesting is to try new recipes.
One thing that helps me when I try a new recipe is to do all my chopping first.
In this case, I even cooked the pasta…
Pasta casseroles work really well for our family because I can make them ahead and all that’s left pre-dinner time is the baking part. On the Sunday that I made this new-to-me Cooking Light Three Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine, my daughter, my mother and I were taking a trip to the American Girl Doll store for lunch and shopping. My husband and son were going bowling. I wanted to come in from our busy day and have virtually no dinner prep to worry about – so this recipe was perfect.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (NuVal score of 11)
- Cooking spray
- 3 cups thinly sliced mushrooms (NuVal score of 96)
- 1 cup chopped onion (NuVal score of 93)
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (NuVal score of 96)
- 3 cups chopped fresh spinach (NuVal score of 100)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (I used dried, which is not scored)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (16-ounce) carton 2% low-fat cottage cheese (NuVal score of 24 for Hood)
- 4 cups hot cooked penne (about 8 ounces uncooked tube-shaped pasta) (NuVal score of 91 for Barilla Plus)
- 2 cups shredded roasted skinless, boneless chicken breast (NuVal score of 39)
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided (NuVal score of 22)
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided (NuVal score of 23 for Bel Gioioso)
- 1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk (I used Horizon 1% milk, NuVal score of 81)
- 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup, undiluted (NuVal score of 26)
- 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.
Posted in: Cooking Light