I happen to have one very picky eater in the house and I was already prepared for all those questions; “Mom, what is this? What’s it made of? Why does it smell like this?” and so on – you know what I’m talking about, mommies!
But no, he did not ask one single thing – he just gobbled it up in a heartbeat! We’re definitely having this again, too! It’s just too good not to. The tender chicken, smoky bacon and creamy sauce is just too much goodness to not save the recipe for another time. You’ll want it again, so make sure it’s saved or written down.
1/4 cup Kerrygold butter
1/4 cup Gold Medal flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 16 oz penne pasta – cooked al dente and drained
4 cups cooked chicken cubed
4 cups shredded Italian cheese blend 16 ounces
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups McArthur milk
3 tablespoons basil pesto
3/4 cup crispy bacon- finely chopped
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Bertolli olive oil
Make a simple white sauce by melting butter in a pan over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour over melted butter and whisk constantly for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Then add in chicken broth and whisk quickly together. Cook over heat until it’s thick and bubbles up. Set white sauce aside.
Cook penne pasta according to package directions. Drain noodles and then dump them into a large mixing bowl.
Add in white sauce, cooked chicken, cheese, spinach, crushed tomatoes, milk, pesto and 1/2 cup of the bacon. Mix well.
Pour pasta into a 9×13 baking dish.
In a separate bowl mix together parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, remaining bacon and olive oil.
Cover pasta with bread crumb mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Freezer Meal Directions: Before baking cover with foil, label and freeze. Thaw, remove foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
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Quick Tip: Try adding steamed broccoli to the recipe.
Big thanks to Happy Money Saver for this delicious recipe!