Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pesto Chicken Alfredo Casserole


During my first pregnancy, one of my major cravings was anything containing pesto. I’ve always enjoyed the flavor, but when I was pregnant with Andrew, my love of the stuff really intensified. I put it in and on everything. Even though that pregnancy ended nearly three years ago, I still find myself using pesto a lot more in my kitchen than I did before I got pregnant. This is partly due to the fact that Andrew loves it too -- which I guess isn’t all that surprising since he got so much of it while he was gestating -- and I will use the heck out of an ingredient if I know Andrew will eat it.

This casserole was a hit with both of my boys. We had this on a day when my husband was working late, so I prepared the casserole during nap time and just heated it up when it was time for dinner. Make-ahead meals are a busy mom’s best friend, for sure. You could even make two meals out of this, freezing half of the casserole for a later date.

Andrew described this casserole as “yummy,” and I think that maybe there’s no better description for it than that. I loved the creaminess and the slightly smoky flavor from the roasted red peppers, and the way that smokiness worked with the bright-tasting pesto. The only thing I thought this was missing was a little bit of texture, so next time I’ll top it with breadcrumbs or a scattering of toasted pine nuts.

Yummy.

Pesto Chicken Alfredo Casserole
adapted from Betty Crocker

1 pound uncooked rotini pasta
1 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken (use a rotisserie chicken, or 2 small chicken breasts)
1 7-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry, and chopped
1/3 cup prepared basil pesto
1/2 cup milk
1 jar prepared Alfredo sauce
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.

2. Cook pasta to al dente in boiling salted water, following directions on the package. Return to saucepan and stir in remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into baking dish.

3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 35 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese before serving if desired.

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7 comments:

Avril said...

From now on Cassie I am going to put a bib on before I visit your blog! I'm DROOLING as usual when I look at your YUMMY dishes! ;-)

Katie said...

I think I am going to have to give this is a try since I have three jars of pesto laying around. Love the fact it's easy to throw together and I can do it during the girls nap time.

Courtney said...

I also love pesto! I just planted my basil so I can make tons of it!

I made asparagus pesto a few weeks ago and LOVE it, I will have to put it on the blog on of these days.

Megan said...

This looks really yummy, I LOVE pesto!

Sherry G said...

Mmmm I just love all your pasta meals! Unfortunately, I want to make them all at once and my family yells at me for making too much pasta in one week haha

Stephanie said...

I stumbled upon your blog for the first time today and I LOVE it! I've been bookmarking recipes like crazy. Thanks for the great ideas.

Cara said...

I cooked this for dinner last night and it was great! I was running low on roasted red peppers, so I threw in a few sun dried tomatoes too. Yummy!