Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ooey Gooey...Chicken Pasta

This recipe comes all the way from my peeps up in VA. Actually, it comes directly from my 'uncle' Mark. He's a down home southern boy through and through and although his food isn't fancy, it sure is good! He told me about this easy baked pasta he made with baked chicken and now it's on heavy rotation at our house. Well, like twice a month....close enough. Anyways, this seems like a very plain baked ziti type dish but there is just something about it. I think the chicken really changes the flavor of it all together. And for all of you foodie goddesses out there, this can be a blank slate for you...although I would suggest you try it as is first. And I don't measure anything for this dish...sorry...but I'll give it my best guess. But, here is for a big lasagna pan, which I usually half this amount when it's just me and Mike.

Baked Chicken Pasta

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large jar of spaghetti sauce (I used Newman's Own Tomato & Basil)
1 lb box of penne pasta
3/4 cup of ff ricotta cheese (sometimes I add cream cheese, cottage cheese or sour cream too)
1-2 cups of shredded cheese (I use a mix of ff cheddar with 6 cheese italian)

Bake chicken (covered) on 350 for one hour. I literally take it out of the package, plop it in a baking dish, cover with foil and throw it in the oven. Let chicken cool and then pull apart with fingers. I usually cook the chicken the night before, shred it and throw in the fridge. Cook pasta as directed. In a sauce pan, add shredded chicken and spaghetti sauce (I put enough to cover the chicken plus some) and whatever spices you like (I use garlic, onion and crushed red pepper). Simmer on low-med until warmed through. Drain and pour pasta into your baking dish. Add ricotta cheese and mix into hot noodles. Pour spaghetti sauce mixture over pasta and mix in. Top with shredded cheese. Bake on 350 for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!