This recipe came about because of Costco. They carry a Chicken Alfredo dinner premade. Costco isn't near me so when I go its an all day thing. By the time I get home and unload I'm tired. So I would grab one of these dinners to heat up while putting all the stuff away. But theirs is very basic. So I would add broccoli. and sometimes other veggies and even top it with cheese. But the sad part it the casserole is so big and there's only the two of us here, so most of it got tossed after dinner. My bf doesn't like leftovers very much. And so I stopped buying it but we did like it.
And so I created my own. Now this is the quick version but of course you could make it right by making your own Alfredo sauce and pesto and fresh baking a few chicken breasts too. I often use my Balsamic Chicken recipe for this. I just bake two extra chicken breasts to have on hand for this. But really I use a lot of things that I plan to have on hand to just toss this together fast.
I often make a roast chicken and strip off the meat to freeze. If I do that then I just take a cup or two of the meat to use for this, thawed. If you have a store bought rotisserie chicken, that would work too. But you do want chicken that was roasted or baked with garlic or herbs. Poached is just too bland.
I will use frozen broccoli if I have nothing else. Ive added roasted red peppers, artichokes, spinach and even peas. But you do have to be careful because if you add too much, you run into having lots of leftovers, which I try to avoid. I can't seem to get this dish small for just the two of us. But at least I have it down to four. And if you find it might not be enough for you cuz you have folks with hearty appetites, then make a nice salad and some garlic bread to serve with it.
Chicken Alfredo Casserole Serves 4
1/2 box of penne or rotini
1 stalk of broccoli, peeled and cut into bite size pieces or about 1c frozen
1 jar (15oz.) Classico Alfredo sauce or the equivalent of homemade
About 2c. cooked, chopped chicken
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
Jar or homemade pesto
S & P
Sliced provolone cheese or mozzarella
*Optional: marinated artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed, roasted red peppers, peas, asparagus, frozen spinach
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Get a lg. pot going for boiling water for the pasta, toss in some salt. When water is boiling toss in the pasta. If your using fresh broccoli, toss that in now also. If your using frozen, wait till pasta is almost done, then put it in the same pot too. Frozen broccoli will just disintegrate if started when the pasta is.
Drizzle a bit of olive oil in the bottom of a 13 x 9in. pan. When pasta and broccoli are done, drain then toss in the baking pan.
Add the tomato, chicken, and any other veggies you might want. Asparagus needs to be cooked first, frozen peas or spinach can just be tossed in as they will thaw and cook when its in the oven.
Pour Alfredo sauce over all this. I add about a half jar of water or milk or half and half to it and shake it well to get any stuck sauce off the jar. Also as this bakes it sucks up the sauce. Extra liquid helps keep it from doing that. Add about two good spoons of pesto. Stir this all up and then taste. Some pestos are not very strong or flavorful so this is to YOUR taste. If it needs more add it but just a bit at a time. Basil can take over this dish real easy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir the whole thing well.
If you wish, you may top with slices of mozzarella or provolone and then sprinkle with Parmesan. I like provolone because it has a bit more flavor.
Put in heated oven and bake for about 20min. The casserole is done when its just beginning to brown on the edges and its bubbling. If it looks like its getting dry, cover with foil.