What can be more comforting than eating a warm, cheesy, chicken Alfredo pasta dish, with an oh-so creamy sauce?! Another wonderful thing is that with this dish you are getting a complete meal – carbs, protein, dairy, and vegetables all in one dish. To top it all off, this is a kid approved dinner in our house.
This casserole is all about the creamy cheesy sauce. I love this sauce so much. I came across it by accident to tell you the truth. Have you ever had a craving for something and didn’t feel like going to the store to buy it? So you’re left in your kitchen experimenting and trying to make something good enough to satisfy the craving!
Well on this day it I was making a chicken Alfredo pasta dish and I was all out of the darn sauce! I usually buy whatever is on sale at the grocery stores but my pantry shelf was empty on this very day. I had heard that making Alfredo sauce was pretty simple but had never attempted to make it myself before. I always thought, why go through the trouble when you can just open up a jar?
I guess when you have young kids you are always looking for a shortcut; the faster version of whatever it may be! Today I didn’t have a jar to just open. I was in the kitchen with all my ingredients but the main one – the Alfredo sauce. So I said to myself, how hard can it actually be to make your own sauce?
Well, a typical Alfredo sauce is made with heavy cream, butter and parmesan cheese. So just to complicate things more, I didn’t have any heavy cream! But I always have cream cheese in the fridge. So I figured why not give it a try!
I’m happy to report it was a hit! I will provide the recipe for the sauce below, but if you want a quicker meal and want to just open the jar, I totally support it! LOL. Go ahead and skip down to the recipe for the Cheesy Chicken Alfredo and Spinach Casserole!
Making the Alfredo Sauce
Makes about 2 jars of pasta sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
¼ cup butter
4 garlic cloves mined
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
2 tsp basil
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt and pepper
4 tbsp cream cheese
- Heat and melt butter in a sauce pan. Add the garlic
2. Work in the flour into the butter until there are no clumps
3. Slowly whisk the milk until smooth
4. Add the herbs
Whisk until well combined and thick (if sauce is too thick for your liking you can always add more milk)
Cheesy Chicken Alfredo and Spinach Casserole
2 lbs chicken thigh cut into cubes
2 tbsp canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
2 bunches of fresh spinach washed
Cooked Penne pasta according to packaging
1 jar of Alfredo Pasta sauce or recipe above
Graded Mozzarella Cheese, Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs for topping
Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F
- Cook pasta according to packaging and set aside.
2. Heat oil in pan and add chicken. Cook for 10 minutes and drain any extra grease out.
3. Return chicken to the heat and add the Alfredo sauce and get it to a simmer.
4. Add spinach – little by little until it all fits into the pan.
5. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Note – If sauce is too thick you can add more milk to make it saucier
6. Pour the pasta sauce mixture into your casserole dish and mix in the prepared pasta. Stir until past is well covered by sauce.
Top pasta with Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella cheese and bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned bread crumbs) and bake in oven uncovered until cheese is melted (approx. 20 minutes)
If you are a comfort food lover like I am, try this Curried Butternut Squash Soup for something warm and flavorful! If you are looking for more quick chicken dishes, check out the Moroccan Chicken and the Spanish Rice recipes!