Isn’t it funny the things that excite us when we become adults? I finally got a nice chest freezer to store all of my frozen foods and Costco finds. I was so excited to get it and put it in my basement it felt like Christmas. My boys are getting to an age where they are always hungry and eating, and our freezer upstairs just wasn’t going to cut it anymore.
I love to make a big casserole and freeze the other half for later. Now I have my own little section in my chest freezer with all of my frozen meals. Does anyone else get excited over little things like this? Maybe I am the only one out there to get so excited about a chest freezer. 🙂
This casserole made a big 9×13 batch and I was able to divide it into two and freeze the other half for later. And to tell you the honest truth, I think this is one of the best casseroles that I have ever had.
Not only is it made with my famous and amazing alfredo sauce, it has the added flavor of pesto. Two of my favorite things combined to make this casserole creamy, flavorful, and delicious. It also had spinach and crushed tomatoes hidden throughout. This casserole is simple but so delicious!
Oh and don’t forget the ooey gooey cheese inside with each and every bite. This casserole just keeps getting better. I loved how it is topped with bread crumbs adding a crunchy texture to the top. It is seriously awesome!
This became an instant family favorite and I know that it will be a hit at the dinner table!
- 1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
- 2 cups cubed chicken, cooked
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Italian cheese blend, divided
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 1 jar (8.1 ounces) prepared pesto
- Alfredo Sauce:
- ½ cup butter
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream (2 cups)
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup seasoned bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside. Cook the pasta in a large pot according to package directions. In a large bowl combine cooked chicken, 1 cup cheese, spinach, and tomatoes.
- To make the alfredo sauce: In a medium saucepan add butter, heavy whipping cream, and cream cheese. Cook over medium heat and whisk until melted. Add the jar of pesto. Add the minced garlic, garlic powder, italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Continue to whisk until smooth. Add the grated parmesan cheese. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for about 3-5 minutes or until it starts to thicken.
- Drain the pasta and add alfredo sauce to the large bowl and toss with ingredients to coat. Pour into the prepared 9x13 inch pan. Add remaining cheese to the top of the casserole. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil. Sprinkle over casserole.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes or until cooked throughout and bubbling on the sides.
- * If you are freezing, Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Take out the night before to thaw before baking.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home