With a larger family, I am always looking to make plenty and not break the bank feeding my household. Also, I must have some of the most picky eaters… or at least that is the way it seems. It can be tough putting a meal plan together when some don’t like certain foods or tastes. Overall we can agree on some sort of pasta dish. Whether it be spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine alfredo, lasagna or a good chicken parmigiana… we can normally agree.
After thinking about it a little while, I wanted to shake it up some and look something new to whip up. But it had to be both easy and tasty. Knowing that chicken cooks pretty quick and is a healthy alternative to beef, I decided on a chicken and penne pasta dish. So here is what I came up with after searching around a bit. We call it “The Cheesy Chicken Pasta” or Three Cheese Chicken Pasta whichever one you want to call it. Either way it is delicious!
The Cheesy Chicken Pasta
We headed to our local Walmart Supercenter to pick up the items we needed. Of course, while we were there we needed to pick up at least one additional item. Our youngest little one has been a resistant to the idea of taking a bath lately, so we decided to pick up something to encourage her to dive back in. After perusing the toy area for about 15 minutes looking for bathtub toys we found exactly what we needed. Plus, since we were in the toys, we also noticed that Walmart had swimming pools on sale already. We thought that was interesting even for Texas. We did have snow on the ground just this morning. Anyways, let’s talk about the food!
- penne pasta
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces (Italian Style or other seasonings optional)
- 1 tsp dried basil leaves
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 jar (24 oz) spaghetti sauce (I use Chunky Ragu Tomato, Garlic & Onion)
- 2 oz cream cheese, cubed
- 1 cup (2% milk) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Boil water and cook pasta in a large pot as instructed on the package.
- While pasta is cooking, in a large non-stick pan (I use our Wok) cook the chicken pieces at medium heat.
- Once chicken is mostly cooked, stir in tomatoes and spaghetti sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer 3-4 minutes or until chicken is done.
- Stir in the cream cheese until thoroughly melted into mixture. Let simmer.
- Drain and rinse pasta and return to pot. Combine the chicken mixture with the pasta. Stir in 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Pour entire contents into a casserole dish. Bake for 15 minutes or until thoroughly cooked through. Top with remaining mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese. Let sit for another 2 minutes as cheese melts. Serve.
There is always plenty to go around… even with all 8 of us at the dinner table. The kids all love it and there are no complaints. They even eat the tomatoes that are secretly thrown into the recipe. Shhh… don’t tell them!
What do you cook to feed a large group?