|Spinach Artichoke Chicken Casserole|
This Spinach Artichoke Chicken Casserole is a variation on that famous cheesy, garlicky, warm spinach artichoke dip we all love to scarf down during the holiday parties. I thought those flavors might be awesome in a baked pasta dish. Lean chicken and short pasta transform that dip into a fabulous weeknight meal that the whole family is sure to love. Alright, I’m lying. The whole family might not love it. In fact my ten year old daughter informed me that it would be a lot better if there was no spinach or artichokes in the dish. But in defense of the dish she’s an extremely picky eater. So let me rephrase my original claim and say that all fans of the original spinach artichoke dip are sure to love this one.
· 12 oz chicken, chopped into small pieces
· 8 oz short pasta, ziti
· 10 oz package of frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
· 14 oz can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained
· 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
· 1/3 cup pecorino Romano cheese
· ½ cup sour cream
· ½ cup cheddar
· ½ cup cream cheese softened
· 2 tbsp light mayonnaise
· 1 cup milk
· 1tbsp of olive oil
· salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook the pasta one minute shy of the package instructions then toss it with olive oil or nonstick spray and set it aside.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, over a medium high heat, add the chicken with a tablespoon of oil and salt and pepper to taste then sauté for about 5 minutes or until the chicken just starts to brown on all sides then push the chicken to one side of the pan.
3. Add the spinach and garlic to the empty space in the pan and sauté for 2 minutes. If the pan gets too dry add a few tablespoons of water as needed.
4. Add the artichokes and stir to combine then add the milk, sour cream, cheddar, cream cheese, mayo, and pecorino Romano cheese and stir allowing the cheeses to melt and blend together. Simmer slowly for 2 minutes then stir in the cooked pasta and simmer for another minute to blend all the ingredients.
5. Pour the contents of the pan into a greased baking dish and top with grated cheese and paprika and place under the broiler for 2-5 minutes or until the top is golden and crispy.
Notes: If you aren’t a fan of baked pastas you can skip step 5 and eat this straight from the skillet following step 4. To save more time, you can use leftover cooked chicken. Stir in the cooked chicken when you add the artichokes.