Chicken Caesar salad turned into a delicious pasta bake! Made with whole wheat pasta and low fat milk, it’s a meal you can feel good about serving your family!
Can you believe it? I actually made us something with pasta today! Like real noodles. Not spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles, but real pasta made from flour. I know, I really threw you there didn’t I? I bet you thought you were on the wrong blog. Well, with as sparingly as I share a pasta recipe (I’m pretty sure the last one was almost a year ago) I do like to throw one in ever once in a while. Plus, my husband is thrilled when I do since he would have pasta with some kind of cheese on it every day if I’d make it for him. Today’s pasta recipe is based off of the oh so popular Caesar salad. Today we’re stuffing our faces with this Chicken Caesar Pasta Bake.
Photographing anything that resembles a casserole is a real pain for me. No matter how hard I try it never looks all that pretty. It tastes good, but it kind of just looks like brown blobs when you go to take photos. This becomes even more of an issue when you use whole wheat pasta like I did in this recipe.
The one exception is if the pasta bake or casserole is dripping with cheese or you are using a type of cheese that creates those nice long cheese strings when you go to scoop it out. Those are the money shots that people go crazy for on Pinterest, because seeing lots of gooey cheese sort of does get your mouth watering. However, parmesan cheese is not one of those gooey, stringy cheeses and that’s all you’re going to find in this pasta bake because it’s chicken Caesar after all.
The one saving grace that prevented this pasta bake from appearing to look like one big brown blog are the greens that I decided to add in at the last minute. I used a combination of spinach and baby kale and not only does it add some extra nutrition to the meal, but a nice contrasting color. Despite it’s lack of color, this Chicken Caesar Pasta Bake tastes delicious and it’s flavors are reminiscent of a chicken Caesar salad. Of course a baked pasta dish is always more appealing to kids and husbands like mine so you know you’ll be putting a meal on the table that will appeal to everyone!
Chicken Caesar Pasta Bake
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into cubes
- 1 pound penne pasta, whole wheat or regular
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire
- 1 1/2 cups low fat milk
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese, Pecorino Romano may also be used
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach or baby kale
- Salt and pepper to taste (if needed)
Panko Parmesan Topping
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions, but undercook the pasta by 1 minute, drain and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter and heat the oil over medium high heat.
- Add in the minced garlic, anchovy paste and black pepper, stirring together for about a minute.
- Add in the flour and whisk together.
- Slowly pour in the chicken broth and worcestershire whisking until it is smooth.
- Add in the milk and continue whisking until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
- Once thickened, add in the cup of shredded cheese and whisk until it melts into the sauce.
- Add in the spinach/kale, pasta and cubed chicken and stir together in the sauce until everything is coated and the greens have wilted.
- Pour into a 9x13 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl combine the topping ingredients.
- Sprinkle the topping all over the pasta.
- Bake the pasta in the oven until bubbly and golden brown.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 458Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 718mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 32g
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