recipes for the busy mom!

NomNomNom – 3 Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake

Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake – why is that name SO LONG?

penne pasta

I thought today would be a good day to post another recipe!

I really need to remember to take picture of the food so I don’t have to use a “stock” photo.  I do promise that mine looked pretty much exactly like the photo above.  And I promise I have made any recipe I share, And I also promise that not only I thought it was good, so did my son, who has a very “limited palate”

This recipe is easy, pretty cheap, really yummy, and, best of all, you can take the leftovers to work!  It reheats very nicely (maybe even a little tastier the next day!).  Being the hurried mom/lazy cook that I am, I usually just serve this with that wonderful frozen, boxed garlic bread you can find in any grocery store.

So, here goes….sooooo yummy!


You will need:

1-1/2 cups  multi-grain penne pasta, uncooked

1 pkg.  (9 oz.) fresh spinach leaves

1 lb.  boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

1 tsp.  dried basil leaves

1 can  (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained

1 jar  (14 oz.) spaghetti sauce

2 oz.  (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, cubed

1 cup  KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided

2 Tbsp.  KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese


Have you ever noticed that ANYTHING with cream cheese in it is really yummy?!  Seriously, I tell people all the time…I could pull grass out of my yard, stir it in with some cream cheese, add a little garlic powder and a few other spices, serve it as a dip, and I guarantee everyone would rave over it and ask for the recipe.

I especially like this recipe because the fanciest thing in it is the basil leaves.  If a recipe gets any more high class than that, I normally just move on.  I am not impressed with the fancy – and I need my local Food Lion to carry everything.  If I have to schlep all the way over to Harris Teeter and pay twice as much for the milk that I also had to buy, then I am not a happy mommy.

OK…on with the recipe.  It’s really simple!

HEAT oven to 375ºF.

COOK pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, omitting salt and adding spinach to the boiling water for the last minute.

MEANWHILE, cook and stir chicken and basil in large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat 3 min. Stir in tomatoes and spaghetti sauce; bring to boil. Simmer on low heat 3 min. or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally. Stir in Neufchatel.

DRAIN pasta mixture; return to pan. Stir in chicken mixture and 1/2 cup mozzarella; pour into 2-qt. casserole sprayed with cooking spray.

BAKE 20 min. or until heated through; top with remaining cheeses. Bake 3 min. or until mozzarella is melted.

Now, a recipe has to be pretty good to make me use a pan AND a pasta pot AND a baking dish…and this one is worth washing 3 big things by hand because they won’t fit in the dishwasher. (If you are busy/lazy like me, you understand my point.)

Oh…and they even have a little video on making this on the website.  Although, I can’t imagine you really NEED to see a video on this….

Single Mommy tip:  I know Kraft uses all their products in here…and I know sometimes the name brand stuff is better, but I use the Food Lion brand Mozzarella cheese, Parmesian Cheese, and light cream cheese (or whatever that Nurfertle stuff is).  I even use Food Lion brand pasta and diced tomatoes.  I am all about cheap!  Even better, if I can find any of this stuff at ALDI’s, I am all over it.  (Is that place not the BEST!?)

So, definitely try this.  I know it’s summer, and you are probably going to grill, but if it’s a rainy day, or when school starts again….MAKE. THIS.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s