Sunday, May 17, 2015

Chicken Spinach Casserole

8 ounces pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 portabella tops, sliced
1 med onion, sliced
1 cup orange and/or yellow bell peppers, sliced
10 ounces leafy frozen spinach, thawed
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
14 teaspoon pepper
16 ounces cottage cheese
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus 1/2 cup for topping
12 cup milk
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook pasta according to package, drain and set aside.  Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook mushrooms, onion and bell pepper until tender.  Cut spinach into 1/4's and add to pan along with oregano, and pepper.  Mix well.  Remove from heat.  In a large bowl combine pasta, chicken, spinach mushroom mixture, soup, milk, 1 cup cheddar cheese, cottage cheese and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.  Coat a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Pour chicken pasta mixture into baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake another 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Martha:  I found a recipe for this dish in BH&G online but made a few changes.  I had 1/4 a box of shells and 1/4 box of twists and used them for my pasta giving me about 8 oz.  I changed the mushrooms to portabellas simply because I had some in the freezer that needed to be used.  Yes I freeze them when I find them on sale.  I sliced my onions and peppers instead of chopping and decided to use orange and yellow peppers instead of green to give color and a milder flavor.  Using the leafy spinach and cutting it into 1/4's made it blend better than chopped, at least to me.  I increased the amount of chicken as well as the cheddar cheese.  Now... the recipe directions didn't include when the cottage cheese was to be added.  I don't know if it was a misprint including it as an ingredient or if it was a mistake by not telling when to add so I just added it along with everything else.  Believe me, if it is a misprint and was not supposed to be an ingredient you'll want to add it.  This dish ended up feeding 8 people and I've gotten nothing but raves about it being one of the best.  It may have a long list of ingredients but it's worth every bite.