Monday, June 2, 2014

italian chicken and pasta bake

This month we are cooking like Paula Deen and the Deen Brothers at Cook Like a Star.

I have been looking for good tomato-based baked pasta recipe. I am not a huge fan of tomato-based pastas. I don't like the sharpness from the tomatoes that can sometimes overpower everything else in the pasta. Most times, I would add sugar to try to balance the sharpness but I dislike sugar, so that does not really help a lot.
I was looking for kids-friendly pasta dishes on Paula's webpage when I came across this recipe.

Chicken + pasta + loads of cheese.

Well, how wrong can it go right?

So I made the dish for dinner tonight.

And, again, the plates were cleaned out.
Here's how!

I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper.
In a hot Dutch oven (or skillet), I cooked the chicken cubes in some olive oil until they turned white. There is no need to cook the chicken completely since it would be baked later.
The chicken was transferred into a bowl, and set aside.

In the same Dutch oven, I melted some butter and added the onion and garlic.
I continued cooking on relatively low heat for 5 minutes or so until the onions had softened.

I added the flour, and stirred constantly for about 2 minutes.
Then the milk was added.
Along with the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. I added some oregano and basil since I didn't use the flavoured crushed tomatoes. 
This was cooked on relatively low heat for 5-6 minutes. At the end of this, the sauce would have slightly thickened.

I added the chicken, salt and pepper.
Finally, I added mozzarella. And stirred. 
The sauce would be very thick, and would make "plopping" noises. 

It is okay.

I added the pasta - for baked pastas, I usually take 2-3 minutes off the recommended cooking times.
The pasta was dished into individual serving dishes (or you can use a 9x13-inch casserole dish) that had been sprayed with some oil.
Instead of more mozzarella, I sprinkled some Parmesan cheese because I like the taste of Parmesan.
And baked them until the tops turned golden brown.
I served the pasta with some garlic bread.

I liked this so much I am making this for Jadelyn's birthday party soon!

Italian Chicken and Pasta Bake (Serves 8-10)
Adapted from Paula Deen

1/4 cup (56.7g) butter
1 cup or (1 medium) chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup (31.25g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (240ml) milk - I used low-fat milk
2 (14.5-ounce/411.06g) cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano - I used crushed tomatoes + 1 teaspoon dried oregano and 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (15-ounce/425.24g) can tomato sauce
3 cups (about 2 halves) chopped cooked chicken
4 cups (340.19g) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar - I omitted this
1 (16-ounce/500g) package bow tie pasta, cooked according to package directions and kept warm - I used shaped pasta

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176.6°C).
2. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. (I used individual serving bowls.)
3. In a very large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. 
4. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes or until onion is tender. 
5. Add flour, and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. 
6. Stir in milk, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce; cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until slightly thickened. 
7. Stir in chicken, 3 cups cheese, salt, pepper, and sugar. 
8.Stir in pasta. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.
9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

This post is linked to Cook like a Star, Paula Deen and the Deen Brothers organised by me the Domestic Goddess Wannabe, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.

Want to cook or bake like Paula Deen or the Deen Brothers? To join, simply cook or bake any recipe from their websites or cookbooks and link with us at this (Joyce's), this (Zoe's) or this (Diana's), post for the whole of June 2014.

To use this linky tool, please make sure that:
(1) Your post is posted in June 2014.
(2) Please mention Cook like a Star in your post and link back to us at Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe, Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and Joyce from Kitchen Flavours.
For more details, please see this.

I am also submitting this recipe for Cook-Your-Books hosted by Kitchen Flavours.

This post is also linked to the event Little Thumbs Up (June 2014 Event: Butter) organised by Zoe (Bake for Happy Kids) and Mui Mui (My Little Favourite DIY) and hosted by Jozelyn Ng (Spice Up My Kitchen)

Here are my blogging friends that have joined me cooking for this event. Please visit their blogs for more of their excellent cooking!


  1. Hi Diana,

    Unlike you, I like tomato-based pasta. How I resist this pasta bake with lots of cheese. I think this is will be great winner for Jadelyn's birthday party and all sorts of parties :D


  2. i love your nail ... full of love! This pasta looks so good and I am hungry looking at favourite too!!!

    Thanks for the link up at LTU! Looking forward for more post from you ^_^

  3. Hi Diana,
    Your pasta looks utterly delicious! My family love both tomato-based and creamy pasta, pasta lovers they are! Yummy!