Chicken Penne Florentine

I rely on a few standard recipes if I have to serve an entree to a ton of kids.  This is one of them.

It takes a little time to put together, but it can easily be made ahead.  With cottage cheese as its base it is pretty healthy, and it is only 335 calories per 1 cup serving.  This recipe also contains a ton of crimini mushrooms which are known to boost immunity (read more about that here).  You can take the presentation up a notch by serving it in 8 oz. ramekins (which you can also use the next day to grab and go).  I guess I should have done that here.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • cooking spray
  • 4 cups thinly sliced crimini (baby portobello) mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 gloves of garlic
  • 3 packed cups fresh baby spinach (in the box in the produce section)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (16 oz) container 2% cottage cheese (could use 0%)
  • 4 cups hot cooked penne (about 8 ounces uncooked, could use whole wheat)
  • 2 cups shredded roasted skinless, boneless chicken breast (bake 2 breasts covered with salt and pepper in a pan for 30 minutes at 375, then shred or chop it up)
  • 1 cup (not packed) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese (we use Tilamook brand)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and onion.  Saute 4-5 minutes until tender.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Do not let garlic brown.  Add spinach, oregano and black pepper; saute until spinach wilts.
  3. Place cottage cheese in a food processor; process until very smooth.  Combine spinach mixture, cottage cheese, pasta, chicken, 3/4 cup of cheddar, 1/4 cup of Parmesan and milk in a large bowl.  Spoon mixture into a 2-quart (7×12 or 8×8) baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.  (Bake 8 oz ramekins for 15 minutes at same temp.)

8 servings.

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