Thursday, March 02, 2006

Recipe for Chicken Penne Casserole (and Sophie Cooks in Kalyn's Kitchen)


Over the weekend my friend Susan and her adorable daughter Sophie came for another cooking lesson. About once a month we cook something together that's kid friendly, i.e. cheesy and not too spicy. This recipe was an old family favorite that I adapted to use Dreamfield's pasta. For sure it's a rich dish, and not something you'd serve every night, but this was delicious.


Chicken Penne Casserole
(Makes at least 8 servings, adapted from favorite family recipe from Aunt Ruth Ann)

Ingredients:
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, fat and tendons trimmed
2 T chicken soup base (for cooking the chicken)
1 tsp. poultry seasoning (for cooking the chicken, I use Penzeys)
2 cans cream of chicken soup (Campbells preferred)
1 cup Parmesan cheese (or less if you want it less rich)
1 1/2 cups sour cream (I use light sour cream, do not use fat free sour cream with added sugar)
1 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 package Dreamfield's penne or whole wheat penne
about 3 cups grated Mozzarella or cheddar/jack cheese

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray large rectangular casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Cook chicken breasts in water with chicken soup base and poultry seasoning. Let cool and cut into small pieces.

While chicken cooks, cook penne in large pot of boiling salted water 8-9 minutes, or until done but still quite al dente. Drain well. (The noodles will cook more in the oven, so don't overcook.)

In large bowl, combine soup, Parmesan, sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme. In casserole dish, layer half of penne, half of chicken, half of sauce and half of cheese. Sauce mixture will be stiff, use rubber scraper to spread evenly. Repeat layers.

Bake covered with foil for 25 minutes, then uncover and bake until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. This freezes very well.



South Beach Suggestions:
(Edit June 2011 - I have recently learned that if Dreamfields pasta is cooked for a long time or reheated it increases the glycemic index, so this recipe is definitely phase 3 if made with Dreamfields.)  The entire time I was actively losing weight on the South Beach Diet, I ate Dreamfield's pasta, so I recommend it enthusiastically. This dish does contain more fat than South Beach recommends, due to the parmesan cheese, cheese, and sour cream, so I would consider it a "once in a while" treat for dieters. Serve it with something like like Slow Roasted Asparagus, or Roasted Broccoli with Garlic (seen in the photo) and a big green salad. Since I've been eating the lower carb way, I've noticed I now eat pasta the way they do in Italy, where the pasta is a small serving, not the whole meal, and it's eaten with lots of healthy food choices.
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5 comments:

  1. Hi Kalyn - I love this idea of you giving cooking lessons in your kitchen on child-friendly dishes! Very admirable!

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  2. I agree, that must be a real treat for the kids. This adult thinks that penne looks yummy.

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  3. Looks great, Kalyn! How old is Sophie?

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  4. The penne was great. Sophie is only four, but she's very tall and quite a competent cook for such a small age.

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  5. Ubercute indeed! ;-) GO Sophie!

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