A make ahead casserole dish with the creamy, cheesy homemade Alfredo sauce we all love. Combined with the rich flavor of the chicken this makes for a delicious dinner that is sure to be enjoyed by the whole family. It is also a great way to incorporate vegetables into the meal and can be easily customized to your preferences. This Make-Ahead Chicken Alfredo Bake is a great dinner recipe to make when having kids at the table. Serve veggies and meat on the side with garlic bread, and you can make most guests happy, including the 15-year-old with discerning taste.
If you have vegetarians joining for dinner, simply omit the chicken from the cooked pasta and serve on the side. If you have vegans at that the table, make this recipe for you and check out my Copycat Stouffer's Vegan Vegetable Lasagna
Nothing fills my heart more than having guests at our dinner table (a family heirloom). So much love has existed and still exists at this table. I hope this Chicken Alfredo Bake makes it to one of your family dinners.
To make this recipe:
You can omit the chicken for a vegetarian version.
If you don't feel like cooking chicken, grab a rotisserie chicken, remove the skin and bones, and add the meat to the warm pasta.
When pasta water has come to boil, add the salt and very slowly add in the pasta. If you can keep the water boiling by not lowering the temperature there is less of a chance the pasta will stick together.
Always save a cup of the salted pasta water. ALWAYS! But don't remove it from the pot until the pasta has cooked to desired doneness. You want as much starch in the water as possible.
Cook your pasta just before al dente. It will continue to cook while it bakes in the oven. To make sure it is the correct one minute before the package cook time, remove a piece of penne from the water, cool and take a bite from the middle. If a thin ring of white (uncooked pasta) in in the middle it is done and you can finish cooking in the sauce in the oven.
To serve this recipe:
Let the pasta bake rest cool prior to serving. This will allow the bake to set and it will be easier to serve.
Pair with a simple green salad, broccolini, and garlic bread for a complete meal.
To store this recipe: place the delicious casserole leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator and up to three months in the freezer.
To reheat: add a 1/2 a tablespoon of water to a piece prior to reheating, whether in the microwave or the oven. for 60 minutes from frozen with a baking pan cover for the first 30 minutes.
Penne Chicken Alfredo is a great dish to make when having kids at the dinner table. Serve veggies , a salad and on the side with garlic bread, and you can make most guests happy. Omit the chicken and serve on the side if you have vegetarian guests.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs chicken breast, diced
1 tablespoon garlic granules
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
4 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound penne pasta (or any kind of pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour from bobs red mill)
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup whole milk or chicken broth
1/2 cup pasta water
1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the diced chicken with olive oil and seasonings. Cook the chicken, in a large skillet or pan, over medium heat until lightly golden brown but not cooked through. Turn off the stove and set aside.
While the chicken is cooking, in a large pot, add 4 quarts of cold water and bring to a boil. Add the salt. Slowly add the pasta so that the water maintains a boil. Cook until just before al dente, about 1 minute minus the package directions. In a large bowl toss with the chicken and set aside.
In the same pan, that you cooked the chicken, make the homemade sauce. To the pan add olive oil and butter, and cook over medium heat to melt butter. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Do not let the garlic burn.
Add in the flour and whisk for two minutes to allow the flour to cook and slowly brown. On medium low heat, slowly add in the cream, constantly whisking, so that the base doesn't clump. Add in the milk and pasta water, and whisk until combined and sauce just begins to simmer. Turn off the heat. Add in the parmesan and red pepper flakes (optional) whisk until combined.
In a greased 9x13 baking dish, add the pasta and chicken, top with sauce, and mix until combined. Top with mozzarella and parmesan. Bake at 375˚ for 30 minutes or until the temperature reaches 165˚. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 - 10 minutes before serving for best results. If making the dish ahead of time just cover it with aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator until ready to bake, but no more than 6 hours.
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