Three Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine

As I have shared often times, this blog is used for a lot of different purposes.  A place to reflect, an opportunity to share, a place for me to archive and document things that are delicious, noteworthy, or just something that is important to me.  A long, long time ago, and by that, I mean about 8 years ago, I was in graduate school and a couple of my friends would come over for dinner on Sunday nights.  We would eat, watch tv, and enjoy one actual cooked meal together each week to start the week.  If things were working out well, we were done with our homework for the week.  If they were working out really well, I would have cleaned the apartment already.
One of the recipes I loved during this process, when I owned one pyrex baking dish, and was so careful, was Three Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine, which I found in a Cooking Light magazine.  I had forgotten about this recipe completely when last week it was emailed to me as the “Dinner Tonight” recipe from www.myrecipes.com.  So that I don’t forget it again, I thought I should post it up here and remind myself that this was another great pasta recipe which went beyond red sauce and cheese to make a casserole which is delicious.

Three Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine
Three Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine
1 teaspoon olive oil
Cooking spray
3 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 cups chopped fresh spinach $
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) carton 2% low-fat cottage cheese
4 cups hot cooked penne (about 8 ounces uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
2 cups shredded roasted skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup, undiluted
Preheat oven to 425°.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add spinach, oregano, and black pepper; sauté 3 minutes or just until spinach wilts.
Place cottage cheese in a food processor; process until very smooth. Combine spinach mixture, cottage cheese, pasta, chicken, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, milk, and soup in a large bowl. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.
Note:
You can cook the pasta mixture in individual eight-ounce ramekins; bake for 15 minutes.

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