Pre-planning with pasta


*First off – great news – my camera charger was in my office so we will be able to continue to have mediocre pictures of my life and food on this site! YAY! šŸ™‚

So last night I was determined to get some dishes made that Steve and I could eat throughout the week that I could just pop in the microwave and heat up at work or at home in the evening….

And it was a smashing success!!!!

I made a spinach and chicken pasta bake with a rose (creamy tomato) sauce as well as a four cheese chicken and broccoli pasta bake…

You may notice a trend with my recipes…. the pasta bake… I have to admit I’m a huge fan of making pasta casseroles because I feel like they keep a lot better and they are just so simple and you can put a ton of veggies in them and sneak them into your meal… šŸ˜‰

So I’ll share my spinach and chicken bake with you first…

You may remember a few months ago I made this pasta bake from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe… Well I just made a few tweeks and came out with something just as fabulous!!!

these are pics off of the blackberry so please forgive me for the horrible quality!

I used whole wheat pasta (1 box – will make about 8 servings) and my sauce included goodies such as crushed tomatoes, an entire bag of fresh chopped spinach, red onion, red bell pepper, grated carrot, garlic and seasoning to taste…

To the veggies I added a cup and a half of plain marinara sauce and a 1/3 of a cup of heavy cream (the only bad part of the whole recipe!!!)Ā  I feel like the heavy cream makes the sauce though and you figure 1/3 of a cup over 8 servings isn’t really all that horrible…

Dice your chicken breasts and season while cooking –

this is 3 massiveĀ chicken breasts that I split up between the two dishes I made last night… Probably could have gone with 2 breasts per dish though… I seasoned up with McCormick salt free seasoning and dried basil…

After the chicken is cook let it drain on a paper towel while you cook your sauce… start with onions, peppers and garlic and any other veggies that need to soften… After about 5 minutes add chopped spinach (if using fresh) and allow to wilt… Then add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and chicken…

Shortly before your pasta is done cooking, add heavy cream to the sauce and let simmer for another 5 minutes…

Drain noodles and in a large casserole dish mix sauce and noodles together… Top with a light dusting of mozzarellaĀ and parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes….

What I find is great for reheatingĀ is to add cubes of fresh mozzarella which gives it just the little kick it needs!

This is GREAT to make if you have some veggies that are in need of cooking before going bad or if you need something to last you for a couple of days…Ā  You could also add ground turkey or sausage to the dish as well though I think the chicken is awesome…

Also feel free to make a little extra sauce than you think you need… I find I tend to underestimate the amount of sauce I will need when making pasta bakes and a little extra will store for a day or two if you need it to…

After letting this cool I portioned it out into 8 servings so I would make sure not to over indulge… And then did the same with the other pasta bake which will be coming your way soon!!!!

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