I seriously love casseroles. I don't know why because they are kind of labor intensive with their many steps, the boiling, the mixing, the baking. I think I just like to have a complete balanced meal all in one bowl--or tonight on one blue plate.
This particular casserole was heavily featured on several food blogs that I read so I thought I would give it a shot since so many seemed to enjoy it. At least if I did all the work the outcome would be tasty
But 1st my kids.....
I don't know why I find this so cute (well they are my kids) but Amelia (Mia) was chewing a spoon and I was taking her picture and when Jackson saw this he goes in the drawer and gets the same spoon out and starts chewing it and asked for me to take his picture too. So here are my budding sous chefs
Amelia Grace 7 months
Jackson Schuyler 2 years 1 month--or 25 months
And onto dinner
Chicken Florentine Pasta Bake
borrowed from Delicious Meliscious
12 ounces farfalle pasta (I didn't read the recipe and used and entire box of shells)
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of basil, oregano, parsley
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)
1 1/4 cups milk
kosher salt and coarse ground pepper, to taste
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
(Or, use this method to make two separate dishes.)
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and cook pasta as directed, to al dente.
Drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-heat.
Add the onions and cook 3-4 minutes until translucent.
Add the chicken and herbs and red pepper flakes and cook until heated through.
Remove from heat, set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt and pepper.
Stir in the chicken mixture, Monterey Jack cheese, artichokes, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, half of the Parmesan, and cooked pasta.
Transfer to prepared baking dish(es).
Bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes.
In small bowl, combine remaining Parmesan, bread crumbs, paprika, and melted butter. Sprinkle mixture over pasta and continue baking, uncovered, 10 minutes more or until golden.
Ok so now that I am blogging about this meal I made I realize that my one complaint was in fact an error on my part. I used the whole box of pasta instead of 12 ozs. I thought since i changed it from the bow ties to shells maybe that was why. By the way, I picked shells because Barilla makes a great whole grain pasta that tastes great and isn't dry like some whole wheat. If you are going to feed your family pasta then its the way to go. Anyway, so as I was saying it was waaaaay too much pasta, and now I know why. I think next time I will use the correct amount and it will be perfection. It has great flavor with a tiny kick from the red pepper. I will also omit the sun dried tomato and use fresh diced instead. Those buggers are pricey and they add a ton of fat because they are in oil. I figure with the 2 cups of full fat cheese I used then I cant use both in the same dish. I don't think it added enough to the recipe that you would even notice. I will throw them into the pan with the chicken & onion just to soften slightly and I think it will be just as good. Overall it is worth the many steps to create. It makes a lot of food which is nice for leftover purposes which is another reason I love a good casserole. Jackson liked it too so it will see a repeat performance in our house.....as long as the chef follows directions and doesn't try to talk on the phone and cook at the same time.
I do have a spinach noodle side dish recipe that I may try to merge with this one and actually create and original recipe....I figure since I steal everyone else's, I should have an original idea every once in awhile. stayed tuned for that