Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What's in the pantry chicken casserole.

Yesterday was one of THOSE days. The baby is still adjusting from the time change and getting over no more nightly bottles so she was up bright, early and ready to go while not sleeping so well the night before. She ate breakfast and watched her "stories", Bubble Guppies as I walked around in a dazed stupor trying to straighten up a little for a play date we had mid-morning. It was going to be a busy day with our morning play date, my latest project that needed some more work, kids, homework, science project, laundry and dinner.  I still haven't made it to the store since the weather and the never ending rain is a maor turn off at the moment so I scanned the freezer for dinner ideas. I set out 4 large chicken breast to thaw and figured I would come with something to make with it later. 10:00 play date, 12:00 naptime. I worked some more in my bedroom on said project and read for a bit on my book that one of my Besties, Jennifer, recommended instead of doing anything productive. A friend stopped by so we could talk kitchen ideas since I'm going to help her paint cabinets. The baby wakes up so I feed her lunch and pick the boys off the bus from school. Crazy time ensues with homework, snacks, reading logs, math minutes plus project.  Dinner time is creeping up so it's now or never to figure out the chicken. I fight the urge to order another pizza! I scan the pantry to see what all I can throw together  to make a simple one dish dinner that will taste edible when mixed in a casserole. This is what I ended up with so I called it Pantry Chicken Casserole. Clever, huh? It was tasty, quick and most everyone enjoyed it. That's a Winner-Winner, Chicken Dinner! 



A simple easy dish that can be made around screaming babies and whiny kids. You could even make this the night before and cover it in the fridge and add the croutons and cheese before you pop it in the oven the next night. A homecooked meal that beats another night of pizza, well to me anyways. My kids could live on pizza!

Pantry Chicken Casserole

1.5 lbs chicken breast
1 medium onioin
1 TBS garlic
1 16 oz pkg of penne pasta
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I used Trader Joe's Tomato Basil)
1/4 cup fat free half and half
1 bag of butter gralic croutons. (mine was 3/4 full)
6-8 slices of sharp cheddar cheese (I used what I had on hand so these were sandwich slices.)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Boil water for pasta and cook following directions and drain. Trim and cut chicken  into bite size pieces. Peel and chop onion. In a large skillet, heat 1.5-2 TBS of olive oil over med-high heat. Add onion, garlic and chicken and cook until onions are clear and chicken is no longer pink. 5-7 mins. I added salt and pepper as the chicken and onions were cooking. Drain pasta and add it back to your pot. Dump cooked chicken mixture on top and mix with noddles. Add the jar of sauce to your pasta. I added a little bit of fat free cream to the jar and shook it up some with the lid on to get all the leftover sauce out and poured that in too. Stir well and move everything into a 9x13 baking dish. Spread evenly in the pan. Crush your croutons and sprinkle them over the noodes followed by the cheese slices on top. Bake at 350 for 20 mins. Switch oven to broil and broil for 5 mins or until cheese is bubbly and browned, whichever comes first. 







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