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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cheesy Chicken and Sausage Bake

I've noticed recently that I seem to start a lot of my posts about the weather. I've come to two possible conclusions about this...Either I am well on my way to early-bird-special status and have nothing better to talk about besides the weather. Or the weather usually dictates my mood and food choices. Lets go with the latter option, mkay? The truth is the weather really does affect me. It affects my mood and it affects what I am in the mood for. Take for instance Sunday evening. It was cold, wet, and rainy all day. For dinner I was in the mood for something warm, comforting, and tasty! This cheesy pasta combo was just that. As my father would say, "it hit the spot!"

check out that cheesy-goodness!


Cheesy Chicken and Sausage Bake
serves 4-6
  • 1 lb gemelli pasta [penne or rigatoni would work well too]
  • 2 tbsp EVOO, separated
  • 2 links of chorizo sausage, sliced
  • 3 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
  • 2 cups jarred marinara
  • 8oz [reduced fat] cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3-4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • s+p to taste 
  1. begin by boiling water for pasta and pre-heating oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. add pasta and cook 10-12 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. drain and rinse with water. 
  3. meanwhile, begin sauteing onions and garlic with EVOO [1 tbsp] over medium heat. after about 2-3 minutes add sausage. cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring well. then add spinach, sprinkle with lemon juice and the remaining EVOO. season with s+p. let simmer.
  4. in a large bowl place cream cheese + marinara. add cooked pasta and chicken and mix until all of the sauce is combined.[the heat from the pasta should melt the cream cheese so it blends together nicely!]
  5. remove spinach and sausage mixture from stove, add to pasta mixture. before stirring, add red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning. stir altogether. [take a whiff...yep-gonna be good]
  6. add pasta mixture to a olive oil greased casserole dish. cover with cheese and more Italian seasoning if desired. bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. 
this pasta bake is a triple threat.
it's cheesy, savory, and spicy.
cheesy thanks to the cream cheese & melted mozzarella.
savory thanks to the Italian Seasonings & baby spinach.
and spicy thanks to the red pepper flakes & the smoky chorizo sausage!
a triple-threat is bound to get a winning reception.{and a standing ovation}
make this and share.
you'll make new friends & keep the old ;)

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