Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yummy extras to freeze or share

Recently I made turkey manicotti with spinach and had enough of the filling to make two casseroles – one to keep and one to give away. The ease of having a no-fuss dinner made me want to do it again. This dish made me recall a similar dish I made each time I was pregnant with my three children; with each pregnancy I made several casseroles ahead and froze them. Later, when I was home from the hospital, I was grateful to have several easy food options on hand.

Don’t cook pasta that is going into a casserole, especially if you intend to freeze it. Add enough sauce or other liquid to immerse the pasta and it will turn out just fine. Pre-cooking it will cause the pasta to be overcooked.

Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli

2 cups fresh broccoli
½ pound boneless chicken (I used 5 or 6 tenderloins)
4 ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
16 ounce jar prepared Alfredo sauce
2 cups macaroni noodles
1 cup water, divided
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Salt and pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Place the broccoli in a microwave safe bowl, add about ¼ cup water, cover and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Drain liquid. In a medium skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil, then brown the chicken pieces on all sides.

Cook the chicken for about 5-7 minutes, then remove from skillet and allow meat to rest.

Shred the chicken into bite sized pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken and broccoli.

Add the sliced mushrooms, Alfredo sauce and ¾ cup water.

Add the dry macaroni noodles, parsley, salt and pepper and blend completely.

Pour the mixture into two casserole dishes that have been sprayed with non-stick spray. Top with shredded mozzarella.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes, until casseroles are bubbly and slightly browned on top. This dish would be great for a crowd. Or consider giving one of the casseroles away, or freezing one for later. Dish will keep for three months frozen; to prepare, thaw in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours before baking.

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