A Pasta Bake is a bit like a casserole, but made with your choice of pasta. See why we love this Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake!
Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake
The first time I made this dish was a few years ago when I took a meal to a new mom and her family. One reason I love pasta bakes in general is that they travel well!
If you’re needing a dish to take to a potluck, or anyone who is recovering from surgery or having had a baby, this is it! I love that it’s not necessarily a casserole. We all know kids can shy away from traditional casseroles — and I for one want to make sure what I am bringing will be enjoyed by everyone!
This Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake is great for picky eaters. Kids will love the pasta, chicken, and cheese. Of course the spinach gives it another depth of flavor. I love the combination of chicken and spinach!
This dish can also be prepared ahead of time. When it comes time to make it will take even less time out of your afternoon!
An alternate method if you aren’t a fan of making dinner ahead is to just throw the chicken and pasta in to cook. Just having those two ingredients ready to add to the baking dish cuts down the prep time quite a bit!
I like to pre-cook chicken in my Ninja Foodi, but you can also cook them easily in the Instant Pot. For either one, just add about 1 cup of cooking liquid (water or broth) and your chicken. If frozen, I pressure cook for 20 minutes. For tenders or thawed meat, usually 15 is fine. If you aren’t sure if the meat is done, check with a meat temperature probe for done-ness.
Just cook your pasta according to package directions, so this can be done anytime and just covered and put in the fridge until you’re ready to add it to your Pasta Bake!
Note on the pasta- you can use anything you prefer. I used Ziti in my picture at the top, but if the kids prefer spirals, use Rotini. I find that Rotini is great for anything with a sauce, so I usually have it in the pantry. The type of pasta will not change the recipe at all.
I find that the flavors of the Italian diced tomatoes blend so well with the chive and onion cream cheese. It’s a great family-friendly dish since it does have the comfort food flavors!
Freezer cooking guide:
Simply follow the directions as listed. Use a disposable 9×13 foil pan and cover well –two layers of foil works great. Combine all but do not bake. Place in the freezer instead of baking. When you’re ready to eat just allow to thaw then bake as directed.
Label the top with cooking instructions: Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, covered. Uncover and bake an additional 20-30 minutes until hot. If desired, broil for 1-2 minutes to brown the top layer.
Cheesy Chicken And Spinach Pasta Bake
- 8 oz Rigatoni, uncooked
- 1 (10 oz) bag frozen Spinach, thawed
- 3 c. cubed, cooked Chicken Breasts
- 1 (14 oz) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (8 oz) container Chive and Onion Cream Cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Pepper
- 1 1/2 c. shredded Mozzarella
Preheat oven to 375 and spray 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
Set aside. Prepare rigatoni according to package directions.
While pasta is cooking drain the chopped spinach well.
Remove as much liquid as possible.
Drain pasta when finished.
Stir together the cooked pasta, spinach, cooked chicken, diced tomatoes, cream cheese, salt and pepper into a large bowl.
Spoon or pour mixture into prepared dish then sprinkle evenly with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 more minutes or until bubbly. Enjoy!
See narrative in the post for freezer cooking instructions. You can cook from frozen, or allow to thaw on the counter top 30 minutes prior to baking. Refrigerate leftovers.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 398Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 685mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 45g
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