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Dine In: Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake

Chicken Spinach PastaThis is definitely the time of year to hunker down inside and not have to leave your house on a Friday night.

Besides, do you want to fight the traffic the weekend before Christmas?

I didn’t think so.

Creamy casseroles scream “STAY AT HOME,” and home at this time of year means holidays, family and happiness.

I’ve tried this casserole with fresh and frozen spinach. I prefer fresh, but you can use frozen, just make sure it’s thawed and as dry as possible. I’ve also swapped the mozzarella cheese for Monterey Jack and used whole wheat pasta.

No matter how you prepare it, snuggle down with your special ones this Friday night and enjoy the holidays – and each other.

Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake
Serves 6

8 oz uncooked rigatoni pasta
1 Tbsp olive oil (or nonstick cooking spray)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed (or 10 oz fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped)
3 cups cubed, cooked chicken breasts (or shredded rotisserie chicken)
1 (14 1/2 oz) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 oz) ctn chive & onion cream cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Prepare rigatoni according to package directions.

Meanwhile, spread oil on the bottom of an 11 × 7 baking dish; add onion in a single layer. Bake at 375° F for 15 minutes or just until tender. Transfer onion to a large bowl and set aside.

Drain thawed spinach well, pressing between layers of paper towels.

Stir rigatoni, spinach, chicken and next 4 ingredients with onion in bowl. Spoon mixture into baking dish, and sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake, covered, at 375° F for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 15 more minutes, or until bubbly.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 483, Calories from Fat: 219, Fat: 24 g (13 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 138 mg, Sodium: 656 mg, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 37 g.

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